Basic Rules for Changing the Oil in a Motorcycle Engine

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A timely oil change is the key to the long and trouble-free operation of your motorcycle during the entire service life given to it by the manufacturer. 

Basic Rules for Changing the Oil in a Motorcycle Engine
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The question arises of what you need to know about this process, how it proceeds, and how to perform it yourself without being an experienced motorcycle mechanic—we will talk about all this in our article.

Some Basics to Remember When Changing the Oil

Let's start by learning several great and essential rules that will keep your motorcycle out of the salvage auction.

  • The frequency of changing the oil depends on the motorcycle's class and its operation features. Read the instructions for the specific model you have. In addition, it's highly desirable to change the oil after a long period of idleness.

  • Don't mix motor oils from several manufacturers. The composition and consistency can be noticeably different, which clearly won't benefit the health of the engine.

  • The quality of lubrication of engine elements doesn't improve with routine oil topping up. In this way, you only increase the amount of lubricant.

If you don't remember which oil was used during the previous change, it'll be necessary to flush the engine system. Flushing is also required when switching from engine oil to a different lubricant. At the same time, flushing isn't mandatory when replacing semi-synthetic oil with synthetic oil from the same manufacturer.

What You Need in the Oil Change Process

Every procedure for changing the oil in a motorcycle engine implies having an appropriate set of tools, consumables, and knowledge. You have to buy new oil, preferably from the list recommended by the equipment manufacturer, washing additives, a new oil filter, as well as a special remover for this filter, or an alternative tool.

A Sequence of Actions When Changing Oil in a Motorcycle Engine

Firstly, unscrew the cover for filling the flush, which is usually located on the right side of the engine. Then carefully read the instructions on the container with the washing, pour the liquid into the appropriate tank, and screw the lid on.

In the matter of washing the engine, it's necessary to clarify one nuance right away. There are two options for washing. The first involves removing the used lubricant and pouring in the washing liquid. After that, it's necessary to start the engine for a certain amount of time, usually 5–10 minutes, is how it's indicated on the package. The second method is more economical: it's enough to pour the washing for 10–15 minutes into a tank with used oil.

If necessary, remove the plastic covers, find the drain bolt, which is located in the lower part of the crankcase, and unscrew it counterclockwise using the appropriate tool.

When the drain bolt is unscrewed almost completely, place a container to collect the draining oil. When using the first flushing option, drain the technical fluid, pour the flushing, start the engine, and drain the flushing along with the remnants of the work. The oil can drain for quite a long time, but you can speed up this process by tilting the motorcycle in different directions.

After the drain is finished, we start removing the oil filter. If it's internal, first unscrew the protective cover, and then remove the filter using a special puller. As for the external type filter, it's unscrewed counterclockwise with the help of a puller or a large screwdriver. To do this, it's necessary to pierce the filter from the opposite side of the engine. The filter can be located either inside the crankcase or in its immediate vicinity in a special “pocket” of the engine.

After removing the filter, wait until the remaining oil drains from the hole that has formed. Next, take a new filter, lightly moisten the seal with fresh oil, pour 50-100 ml inside, and carefully screw it into place. Then we pour oil into the engine to the required level, screw the neck on, and start the engine. The replacement process is complete.

How Often Should a Motorcycle's Oil Be Changed?

As mentioned earlier, a lot depends on the characteristics of motorcycle operation, oil characteristics, and other factors. For example, in racing models, the engine oil is changed before each new competition, and this is quite normal because the motorcycle is operated very intensively.

As for simple road motorcycles, most mechanics agree that when using semi-synthetic oil, it should be changed every 5,000–6,000 km of mileage, and synthetic oil should be changed every 7,000 km on average. It's mandatory to change the oil after buying an old motorcycle, even if the existing oil looks completely fresh. And since there is usually no information about which oil was used by the previous owner, the replacement should be preceded by a thorough washing. In addition, washing must be done once every few years, and in the case of using the same oil all the time, every day.

Don't forget that even the highest-quality motor oil loses up to half of its lubricating properties after about a year, even if the motorcycle hasn't been used all this time.

Final Pieces of Advice

When servicing your motorcycle about oil changes, remember an important rule: any extremes in this matter are equally harmful. For example, an insufficient amount of oil will sooner or later cause the engine to seize and its accelerated wear and an excess of oil can provoke the extrusion of oil seals. We advise you to fill the oil up to a mark slightly below the maximum level. The amount of oil can be monitored through a special window or with a dipstick, depending on the model of the motorcycle.
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