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Riding a motorcycle can become part of your lifestyle pretty quickly, but to keep this lifestyle intact, maintaining the bike is important.
Regular oil changes are an important part of your motorcycle’s maintenance.
Motorcycle Oil Change Cost
There are two main options for changing for your motorcycle, the first approach is to do it yourself and getting your hands a bit dirty. The second method is to use the help of your local dealership or motorcycle mechanic.
The cost of your oil change will vary depending on which method you go with.
The approximate cost of your DIY motorcycle oil change can be $60 to $75 for the engine oil and filter, and $120-150 for the complete oil change (all three holes including the oil filter).
Dealers may charge $100 to $220 for an engine oil and filter change and $180 to $300 for a complete oil and filter change
Normally, the term oil change is understood as engine oil and filter change. However, depending on the bike, the oil/lubricant in the transmission and primary also needs to be periodically changed. It is a good idea to check if they need to be changed as well.
DIY Oil Change
If you are a new motorcycle rider, an oil change is the simplest DIY task to start with. But be ready to get your hands dirty.
Step 1. Go through your owner’s manual and understand the location of the drain plug for engine oil, transmission oil, primary oil, and oil filter and tools required for doing the oil change.
Take note of the quantity and type of the recommended oil for your bike, and the recommended oil change schedule.
You will need an oil filter wrench, torque wrench, oil pan to collect used oil, and rags to protect the floor from spilling oil.
A motorcycle lift will help you to get to the drain plug easily, or you can use a wooden block to lift your motorcycle
Step 2. Check and decide whether you want to change only engine oil and filter or oil in all three holes (engine, transmission, and primary).
You can get a kit for only engine oil change or a kit for changing all three oils.
You can purchase the kit directly from a dealer or order its equivalent online. These kits normally includes the oil filter (if not, you’ll need to buy it separately). The article “BEST OIL FOR HARLEY DAVIDSON MOTORCYCLES” can guide you to order your requirement on Amazon.
Step 3. Warm up your motorcycle by taking a short ride. Warm oil drains quickly and completely.
Place your motorcycle on a lift or a wooden block. Place the used oil collection tray and cotton rag below the engine.
Step 4. Remove the engine oil fill cap, remove the drain plug (mind the direction of unscrewing is counterclockwise), and drain the oil completely.
Check the condition of the drain plug is good, clean the drain plug, replace the washer and assemble it back (tighten to the recommended torque).
Step 5. Use the oil filter wrench and take out the oil filter.
Place a rag below it to take care of any dripping oil.
Take out the new oil filter, apply oil onto it, fill some engine oil into it, and assemble the oil filter. Use your hand to tighten it, and do not use the wrench.
Step 6. Fill the quantity of the oil as recommended in your owner’s manual.
Use the funnel supplied in the kit or purchase a standard funnel and modify it as needed.
Step 7. Replace the oil filler cap and tighten it to the recommended torque.
Step 8. Collect the used oil in an oil container and deposit it at an authorized disposal center.
Do not throw the used oil into the gutter or dirt. Doing so is a crime and a hazardous thing to do.
If you are changing the transmission and primary oil also (like on a Harley Davidson), repeat the above steps once again. For primary, you have to remove the front cover.
Let the motorcycle idle for a short time.
Turn the engine off, check the level of the oil using dipstick and oil sight glass and add more oil if necessary.
The approximate cost of your DIY oil change can be 60 to 75 USD for engine oil and filter, and 120 -150 USD for the complete oil change (all three holes including the oil filter). However, the exact cost can vary depending on your Harley model and the brand of oil you select. You should be able to complete your DIY oil change within 2 to 3 hours or less.
Motorcycle Dealership/Service Center Oil Changes
The second method is to get your oil changed done from any dealership or authorized service center. They may charge 100 to 120 USD for engine oil and filter change and 180 to 300 USD for the complete oil and filter change (engine oil, engine oil filter, transmission oil, and primary oil).
You can contact more than one authorized service center to get the best deal.
How Often Should You Change a Motorcycle’s Oil
The first and correct method is to go through your owner’s manual and check the recommended schedule for the oil change (engine, transmission, and primary).
Normally, the recommended schedule for the first engine oil and filter change can be after the completion of 1000 miles, and subsequently after every 5000 miles.
The recommended schedule for the first oil change for the transmission and primary is after the completion of 1000 miles and subsequently, the schedules are different.
It is smart if you maintain a chart for the three oils and save it on your smartphone or somewhere handy.
Many motorcycle owners do not always ride their motorcycles regularly.
The quality of the oil may deteriorate due to reasons like your motorcycle being parked and left unused for a long period, you are a regular off-road rider, extreme hot or cold temperatures in your area, and similar reasons.
Under such circumstances, it is advisable to inspect the oil for quality and quantity periodically, and if warranted, change the oil even before the recommended schedule in the owner’s manual.
If your motorcycle is parked for a longer period, it is wise to check and change the oil before using it. You can use the oil sight glass and the dipstick to do this.
Importance of Regular Oil Changes
The oil in your motorcycle lubricates the parts and helps with the smooth running of the engine.
Fresh oil has certain qualities required to lubricate the motorcycle parts, but over time due to the continuous use (the oil becomes hot when the motorcycle runs and cools down when it is parked) the oil loses its quality, becomes dirty, and loses volume.
If you do not change the oil in time, the old oil can damage your motorcycle engine and the repair/replacement cost can be very high.
Always use the grade of the oil/lubricant as recommended in your owner’s manual.
How Much Oil Do You Need for an Oil Change?
You can find the recommended quantity of oil in your owner’s manual.
For many bikes, the required amount of oil can range from 2.5 to 3.4 liters.
Oil is an important part of your motorcycle and it makes your rides on the road smooth and trouble-free.