How to change your motorcycle oil in easy steps!

How to change your motorcycle oil in easy steps!

There are many kinds of riders in the world. From the ones that enjoy a Sunday ride from time to time, to those that like to build their bike from scratch and bleed engine oil.

No rider is more or less than the next, the love for the two wheels moves us all alike, however, and for those that like to get their hands dirty and greasy, this article is for you!

Seasoned mechanics, can do this task with their eyes closed, but for those that want to adventure themselves in taking care of their own bikes, a step by step “how to” is in order, and this how-to, will give you the basics of a motorcycle oil change.

Even before the first step on the bike takes place, you will have to make sure you have everything from tools to spare parts with you.

We know this may seem obvious, but from a quick poll around the office, and we all have our stories of having to leave a task midway because something was missing. It is part of the learning process, but still, always good if we can avoid it.

At this point you may be thinking: “That is all well and nice, but I don’t have a garage, I can’t do that!”

That is not necessarily true. If you are thoughtful and careful, you can perform many of your bike’s basic maintenance tasks on the street.

For a smoother oil change, we advise a brief 5 or 10-minute ride. That will allow the engine oil to warm up, allowing it to drain faster. Don’t overdo it though, or the engine and parts will become way to warm for you to work on them.

Having a clean engine bay is also a great plus! Although none of the two previous steps is 100% mandatory, they will guarantee a smoother workflow with less chance of contamination of the new oil.

At this point, if you have a center or rear wheel stand, that's where you should put your bike. However, the side stand will also work fine for the majority of the cases. You can even put a little something below the side stand to make the bike more upright. If you use this last tip, don’t forget the bike will be less stable and more prone to tip over!

As you are a thoughtful biker, collecting the used oil is paramount, so this is the time where you will put an oil pan, bottle or any other container under your drain plug. Although you can re-use that container for further oil changes, it is not advisable to use it for anything else, including other oils.

For the large majority of motorcycles, the oil drain is situated at a low point of the engine, as the fill hole on a higher part or directly on the frame, as the XT600/XT660 for instance. Making sure you open the fill cap and the drain cap will allow for a faster oil drain.

Although a 10-minute ride shouldn’t make the oil extremely warm, neither is there a need for you to actually touch it, a bit of care is never wrong. If you want to use protective glasses to make sure no spill or splatter can hit your eyes, you are far from being in the wrong.

While the oil drain, you can use that time to prepare the new parts. Remove them out of their boxes and lube the new oil filter and respective o-rings with a bit of fresh oil.

Although it is possible to use different oils than the manufacturer advisable, considering this is a basic how-to, we would not advise you to wander off from manual specifications.

Time to remove the old filer. As some are screw on and some are pop on, don’t force it until you know which one yours is. Manuals may many times skip this piece of information, so tread lightly or do a bit of research beforehand.

Also, keep in mind that some oil filter retains a high quantity of oil in them, so when removing it from the bike, be careful not to spill oil all over the place or yourself.

After cleaning the area properly and installing the new filter, time to tighten stuff back. Some filters have a torque of their own, some don’t, however, all oil drain caps do. If you need on a squeeze to do an oil change without access to a torque wrench, under tighten instead of over tightening! Do a run, check for leaks, and if needed tighten a bit more. With over tightening you may encounter serious problems up ahead!

At this point, you are basically done. Fill up the oil as per manual recommendation, and if you want, you can always run the bike a couple of minutes before checking the level on the dipstick or the eyeglass. Don’t run the bike without closing the fill cap!

After this, clean everything up, recycle the used oil, and you are ready for many miles of joy knowing you are riding your own handy work!

Check out our infographic on this subject.

How to change your motorcycle oil in easy steps!

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