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How to Change Oil on Motorcycle: Don’t Pay for an Oil Change!

If you don’t change your oil regularly, your bike could start to make sounds that would make even the most hardcore metalhead cringe. And trust us; your motorcycle will thank you for it with a smoother ride and longer lifespan.

Just make sure to steer clear of using any old automotive, diesel, marine, or small engine oil – your bike needs that JASO MA/MA2-certified motorcycle-specific oil to keep it purring like a kitten.

So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to change the oil on your motorcycle.

How to Change Oil on Motorcycle

Changing the oil of your motorcycle is an essential maintenance task. It’s like giving your bike a refreshing spa treatment, except you’ll need some basic supplies and a little elbow grease instead of cucumber slices. And don’t worry; it’s a straightforward process that even the most novice rider can handle.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • High-quality oil
  • A wheel lift or motorcycle lift stand
  • Oil filter and filter wrench
  • Drain pan and funnel or pour spout
  • A drain plug gasket
  • A socket and box wrench set
  • A torque wrench
  • Clean rags and nitrile gloves

The Steps to Follow

Are you ready to give your motorcycle the ultimate spa day? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of changing the oil on your motorcycle, so you can give your two-wheeled beauty the pampering it deserves.

Step 1: Warm up the Engine

Before you get started, make sure your engine is warm. It’s easier to change your oil when your engine is a little warm, so plan to get started after the engine has been running.

motorcycle oil change
Image credit: Phong Nguyen / Pexels

But don’t go overboard and let your bike sit idling for 30 minutes – you don’t want to risk damaging your ride, especially if it’s an air-cooled bike.

Step 2: Clean up the Bike and Work Area

Get your bike up on a stand and wipe down the engine area around the oil filter and drain plug with a rag. This will help you see any leaks or potential issues more clearly.

how to change oil on motorcycle
Image credit: Ivan Oboleninov / Pexels

Also, the work area should be clean and free of dirt.

Step 3: Drain Old Oil

Next, place a drain pan under the drain plug and unscrew the plug by hand. Wait until all the oil has drained into the pan.

motorcycle oil change
Image credit: Snafu

Pro tip: Hold your arm steady, so you don’t spill oil all over yourself.

Step 4: Remove the Old Filter and Install a New One

Once the oil flow has stopped, it’s time to remove the old filter. Use a strap or oil filter wrench to loosen the filter until you can unscrew it by hand. Pour the oil in the filter into the drain pan.

Before installing the new filter, apply a little oil from the drain pan to the O-ring on your new filter. This will help the filter slip smoothly into place and ensure a good seal. Also, add a little oil directly into the filter, so your engine doesn’t run dry when you start it.

oil filter change
Image credit: Petrb / Wikimedia Commons

Install the filter by hand, turning it until you feel some resistance. Then, turn the filter about a half turn more. Be careful not to over-tighten it, or you could damage the seal.

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Step 5: Replace the Sealing Washer

Inspect the sealing washer on your drain plug. If it isn’t damaged, you can probably reuse it. Just flip it over and put it back on the drain plug.

motorcycle oil changing
Image credit: Val Apollonio / Pexels

If your bike uses an O-ring instead of a washer, get an O-ring kit from your dealer before you start the process.

Step 6: Install the Drain Plug

Put the drain plug back into place by hand, then tighten it with a wrench. Be sure to tighten it properly – over-tightening the drain plug can strip the threads on your engine and create a costly mistake.

oil changing motorcycle
Image credit: Snafu

The safest way to tighten your drain plug is with a torque wrench using 14 to 16 foot pounds of torque or whatever is specified in your service manual.

Step 7: Add Oil

Now it’s time to add the new oil. Your owner’s manual will tell you what kind of oil and how much to use. Pour it in slowly and carefully, being sure not to overfill.

motorcycle oil change
Image credit: Snafu

Step 8: Check Your Work

Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes. Check the oil levels and visually inspect the oil filter and drain plug for any leaks. Take the used oil and oil filter to an auto parts store to recycle them.

Voila! You’ve successfully changed the oil on your motorcycle. Pat yourself on the back.

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If you prefer visual content, watch the video to see how to change oil on motorcycle.


By following these simple steps, you can successfully change the oil on your motorcycle like a pro. Regularly changing the oil and filter is essential to keep your engine running smoothly and prolong its lifespan. Always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions and use only high-quality oil. And don’t forget to properly dispose of your used oil and filter at a recycling center or auto parts store.

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