sixity how-to repair guides

How To Change Motorcycle Oil

When to Change the Oil in Your Motorcycle

As a general rule you should change your oil every 4,000 miles or six months but…always refer to your owner's manual for the schedule the manufacturer recommends. Oil changes take less than 30 minutes start to finish, require no special tools and are simple to do. This is one maintenance task that is routinely overpriced at the dealer making it an excellent opportunity to do it yourself and keep the dollars in your wallet.


Things You'll Need:

  • The correct replacement oil and oil filter
  • Drip pan
  • Socket set
  • Oil filter wrench (optional)
  • Funnel
  • Paper towels and Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • A bag of kitty litter if things get really messy

Preparation

Before you start the oil change process, run your bike for 5 or 10 minutes to get the oil warm (not hot). Cold oil most likely will not drain completely and you don't want any old oil left in the engine. A quick word about oil spills. Have a bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent and a wet rag handy to clean up any oil that misses the drip pan or lands on the engine (usually from the oil filter). The Dawn does a great job of cutting grease and can save you from having a stained driveway. If you have a big spill because the drip pan was tipped over, sop up what you can with paper towels then cover it in kitty litter. The litter will soak up the oil (even in concrete) and can be swept up for disposal.


How to Change the Oil in a Motorcycle

  1. Remove the oil filler cap to equalize the pressure allowing the oil to flow out more easily.
  2. The oil drain plug will be located at the bottom of the engine. Position the drip pan beneath the plug but remember that the oil will be coming out under pressure and will arc in the direction that the plug is pointing. To remove the plug you want to start with a ratchet or box wrench and end using your fingers.
  3. The oil filter will be located above the plug. These can normally be removed by hand unless there is a bolt in the center securing it. In that case use your ratchet wrench to loosen and remove the filter.
  4. If you have a Harley Davidson be ready to wipe up oil spilled on the bike when you remove the filter.
  5. Let the bike completely drain.
  6. Replace the drain plug and tighten it down with the ratchet wrench.
  7. Put a little of the new oil on your finger and then rub around the O ring in the new filter to ensure a good seal. Screw the new oil filter into place.
  8. It's time to start pouring the replacement oil. Insert the funnel in the filler and begin to pour. When the oil reaches the top of the filler tube, screw the cap back on.
  9. Start the engine for a second or two to circulate the oil through the engine.
  10. On the side of most bikes there will be a circular glass window that will display the oil level. Hold the bike level and read the widow. Odds are it will show that the oil is low because of the oil that now resides in the engine after you put it through 3 or 4 cycles. Add a little more oil and check the window again. Keep doing this until the widow is showing the oil level as full.

All that's left is the cleanup. Most gas stations will accept your used motor oil if you give it to them in a clean (uncontaminated) container. Empty plastic soda bottles work just fine. If you can't find a station that recycles, check the Yellow Pages for the nearest municipal toxic waste disposal facility.


- End of Procedure -


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How To Change Motorcycle Oil

When to Change the Oil in Your Motorcycle

As a general rule you should change your oil every 4,000 miles or six months but…always refer to your owner's manual for the schedule the manufacturer recommends. Oil changes take less than 30 minutes start to finish, require no special tools and are simple to do. This is one maintenance task that is routinely overpriced at the dealer making it an excellent opportunity to do it yourself and keep the dollars in your wallet.


Things You'll Need:

  • The correct replacement oil and oil filter
  • Drip pan
  • Socket set
  • Oil filter wrench (optional)
  • Funnel
  • Paper towels and Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • A bag of kitty litter if things get really messy

Preparation

Before you start the oil change process, run your bike for 5 or 10 minutes to get the oil warm (not hot). Cold oil most likely will not drain completely and you don't want any old oil left in the engine. A quick word about oil spills. Have a bottle of Dawn dishwashing detergent and a wet rag handy to clean up any oil that misses the drip pan or lands on the engine (usually from the oil filter). The Dawn does a great job of cutting grease and can save you from having a stained driveway. If you have a big spill because the drip pan was tipped over, sop up what you can with paper towels then cover it in kitty litter. The litter will soak up the oil (even in concrete) and can be swept up for disposal.


How to Change the Oil in a Motorcycle

  1. Remove the oil filler cap to equalize the pressure allowing the oil to flow out more easily.
  2. The oil drain plug will be located at the bottom of the engine. Position the drip pan beneath the plug but remember that the oil will be coming out under pressure and will arc in the direction that the plug is pointing. To remove the plug you want to start with a ratchet or box wrench and end using your fingers.
  3. The oil filter will be located above the plug. These can normally be removed by hand unless there is a bolt in the center securing it. In that case use your ratchet wrench to loosen and remove the filter.
  4. If you have a Harley Davidson be ready to wipe up oil spilled on the bike when you remove the filter.
  5. Let the bike completely drain.
  6. Replace the drain plug and tighten it down with the ratchet wrench.
  7. Put a little of the new oil on your finger and then rub around the O ring in the new filter to ensure a good seal. Screw the new oil filter into place.
  8. It's time to start pouring the replacement oil. Insert the funnel in the filler and begin to pour. When the oil reaches the top of the filler tube, screw the cap back on.
  9. Start the engine for a second or two to circulate the oil through the engine.
  10. On the side of most bikes there will be a circular glass window that will display the oil level. Hold the bike level and read the widow. Odds are it will show that the oil is low because of the oil that now resides in the engine after you put it through 3 or 4 cycles. Add a little more oil and check the window again. Keep doing this until the widow is showing the oil level as full.

All that's left is the cleanup. Most gas stations will accept your used motor oil if you give it to them in a clean (uncontaminated) container. Empty plastic soda bottles work just fine. If you can't find a station that recycles, check the Yellow Pages for the nearest municipal toxic waste disposal facility.


- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides