7 Easy steps to change your motorcycle’s engine oil

It’s actually a pretty simple procedure
by Leandre Grecia | Sep 22, 2020
PHOTO: christels (from Pexels)

Changing the engine oil in a motorcycle may seem a bit complicated at first, but it’s actually a pretty simple process. It’s one of the easiest, in fact, and only requires basic tools and know-how to execute.

And as simple as it is, it actually goes a long way in keeping your bike in good running condition. Plus, there’s also the fact that you can even save a lot of time and money in the long run when you opt to change your bike’s engine oil on your own. That’s also one of the reasons why a lot of motorcycle owners choose to go down the DIY route when it comes to basic motorcycle maintenance like this.

Now, we’re going to list the process down step by step for those who plan to give it a shot. But before we get into it, we’re going to briefly mention the materials you’d need to get started.

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First, you need to get your replacement oil and oil filter. For the specs of both, you can refer to your bike’s manual. For this, you should stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Next, get some tools. A regular wrench will do, but you can also make use of a torque wrench and a strap wrench—more on these two later.

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You’re also going to need a drain pan, a funnel, some rags, and a pair of gloves. Oh, and if your bike doesn’t have a center stand, you’ll also need a rear wheel stand. If you don’t have one, you just need anything that can keep your motorcycle upright and secure.

Once you’ve gathered all these, then it’s time to begin.

1) Warm up and cool down your bike’s engine.

You won’t be able to drain the oil cold. That said, you also don’t want to work with hot, scalding oil. To get the oil up to just the right temperature, you can start up the bike to warm the engine up then turn it off and wait for about 10 minutes to cool it back down. After that, you’re all set to start draining the oil.

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2) Remove the drain plug and let the engine oil drip into the pan.

The drain plug can be found at the bottom of your motorcycle’s engine. Wipe the area surrounding it clean, then set the drip pan underneath the bike. Afterwards, remove the plug using a wrench and let the engine run dry. Be careful doing so, though, because the oil will instantly drip out of the engine the moment you release the drain plug. Once all of the oil comes out, it’s time to remove the oil filter.

3) Remove the oil filter and drain the rest of the oil.

The engine’s oil filter is commonly located somewhere above the drain plug. For the most part, the oil filter can easily be removed by hand. If it’s too tight to do so, you can use a wrench to loosen up the nut on the end of the filter, if there is one. If not, you can use a strap wrench to remove the entire thing.

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After you’ve pulled it out, some of the remaining oil may still drip out, so make sure your pan is still underneath the motorcycle. Drain the rest of the oil stuck in the filter so you can put it aside. Use a clean cloth to wipe the engine surface then proceed to setting in the new filter.

4) Install the new oil filter.

Once you have your replacement filter ready, apply a tiny bit of the oil you just drained onto its O-ring—the part that will come in contact with the engine—and set it in place. You only need to tighten it by hand. Take note that you shouldn’t overtighten your filter to avoid any future complications. That’s also one reason why the nut on the oil filter should only be used for loosening, not tightening.

To know how tight the filter should be installed, just spin it in until you feel the O-ring touch the surface of the engine, then turn it another half of a turn.

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5) Put the drain plug back in.

Now that the new oil filter’s in place, you can put back the drain plug. Be sure to check the washer first, and if it’s already worn out, it’ll be best if you replace it. If not, you can leave it as is.

Similar to the filter, the drain plug shouldn’t be overtightened as well to avoid any damages. You can use the torque wrench that we mentioned earlier just to be sure—the appropriate torque is usually between 18-22Nm. If you don’t have one, a regular wrench will do, just remember not to overdo it.

6) Pour in the new engine oil.

With both the oil filter and the drain plug secured, you can finally pour in the new engine oil. As we mentioned earlier, refer to the owner’s manual to identify exactly what type of engine oil you should use and how much. Use a funnel to prevent spillage. Now, you’re good to go.

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7) Fire up the engine, then check for leaks.

Fire up the engine and let the bike idle for a few minutes. Then, turn it off and check the oil level—it should be just the right amount as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. Check for any leaks as well. If all seems to be in order, then congrats—you’re just about done.

As with most things in this simple guide, you can refer to the manual to know when you should change your motorcycle’s engine oil. Lastly, do take note that an oil change in a motorcycle is only part of the whole tune-up procedure. If you want to read more about that, then click here.

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PHOTO: christels (from Pexels)
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