How to Change the Oil in Your Motorcycle

Thinking about a DIY oil change for your bike? Well, it’s a great way to save money while learning more about the machine you love so much. And, once you get it down, you’ll never have to worry about paying a mechanic to change your bike’s oil again.

Stuff You’ll Need to Change the Oil in Your Bike

  • New oil
  • New oil filter
  • Torque wrench
  • Ratchet or socket wrench
  • Drain plug washer
  • Drain pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Funnel
  • Old rags
  • Filter wrench or old leather belt (to remove old filter)
  • Your bike’s service manual

Change Your Motorcycle Oil in 10 Easy Steps

    1. Prepare your work area. Get all your tools and stuff together and place them in your work area.
    2. Put your bike on the stand or make-shift stand. Place the drain pan beneath the bolt. Watch the oil as it drains out later to ensure the pan catches it. Remove the bolt, being careful not to strip it.
    3. Drain the dirty, used oil as you remove the old oil filter. Use a filter wrench to unscrew the filter. If you don’t have one, wrap a rubber or leather belt around the filter, similar to a dog choker. This will give you leverage to pull the filter off. Be careful, though. You don’t want to damage or dent the filter and risk some of its contaminants going back into your bike’s engine. Also, be sure to have something underneath the bike to catch any of the leftover oil that may splash out.
    4. Install a new drain plug washer. (Usually, you can get them for less than a dollar.) Take off the old drain plug washer. If your new one is copper, you’ll have to anneal it so it will be soft. This is done by heating it until it’s cherry red, then simply cooling it down in water. All copper drain plug washers have to be annealed be they’re re-installed, or they won’t compress, whether they’re used or new.
    5. Replace the drain bolt. Clean it really well to remove any grime and dirt. Then, replace it, being very careful not to over-tighten the drain bold. If you need your bike’s torque specs, open up your bike’s service manual. Don’t have access to the specs? Just go ahead and make it snug. But, once again, do not over-tighten it.
    6. Prep your oil filter. This is done by filling with fresh, new oil to about one-quarter full. Swish the oil around, carefully and slowly, in order to get the filter material completely wet with fresh oil. Put a dab of clean motorcycle oil on your finger, and use it to wet the entire rubber seal (very important step). This will make it much simpler to remove it when it’s time for the next DIY oil change. It also ensures that the engines makes good contact with the rubber seal.
    7. Clean the filter area. Remove the grime from the engine. Put a little new, clean oil on your finger, and wipe it around the filter area in order to get good contact. Screw the new oil filter on carefully, being sure not to force it. Be very careful not to over-tighten your new oil filter when installing it. And, only use your hand when screwing it on, unless you’re using a torque wrench to get it to factory specs.
    8. Move the dirty oil out of your work area. Make sure to put it somewhere you won’t knock it over or bump it and spill it all over the place. Not sure about the right oil capacity? Open that service manual again. Use your funnel to pour the fresh oil in, filling it to only about one-half a quart below full capacity. Stop and check the oil’s level. Remove or add oil as necessary. Always remember that too much oil puts unnecessary pressure on your bike oil’s rubber seals. This can lessen the life of your engine. Also, to get an accurate read on the oil level, the bike must be standing straight up.Motor Oil Poring
    9. Make sure you’ve replaced all the bolts and caps. Pour the old oil into a safe container so it can be disposed of properly. You can also pour it into the new oil containers. Many auto parts stores and places that sell oil will take it back when in these containers. This is a very safe way to dispose of the oil, which should never be poured out on the ground. It never evaporates. It’s horrible on the environment. And, it’s illegal.
    10. Take your first ride after the new oil change. Then, check the oil level, drain bolt, oil filter and the tightness of the fill cap again. Now, clean up the oil and smears off the bike, shine it up, and you’re good to go!
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