How Do I Check the Oil Level on a Yamaha V-Star 1100?by Chris Gilliland
Like virtually every motorcycle on the road today, Yamaha's mighty XVS 1100 V-Star relies on a consistent level of oil to lubricate the inner components of its motor. The oil level diminishes as the miles and time wear on, either being burned away by the motor or, in worst-case scenarios, escaping through leaks in the engine casing. Checking the oil level on your Yamaha V-star 1100 before every ride is critical to prevent engine damage. Luckily, checking your oil is simple.
Lower your V-Star onto its kick stand, shift into neutral and start the motor. Allow the motor to run for a few minutes, warming up the oil to provide an accurate oil level reading. Stop the motor and turn off the ignition switch once the oil is warmed completely.
Position yourself on the left side of the motorcycle. Crouch down slightly so that you can see the "oil sight glass" window on the engine case, just above the front left foot peg. Take note of the upper and lower indicator marks on the oil sight glass window. The upper mark denotes the maximum oil capacity, while the lower mark denotes a nearly empty oil level.
Grasp the left handlebar with your left hand and the motorcycle frame with your right hand. Raise the motorcycle into an upright, vertical position. Observe the oil sight glass window as it fills with oil; hold the motorcycle steady as the oil may take a few seconds to fill.
Take note of the oil level in relation to the upper and lower oil level indicator marks on the sight glass. The oil level should be at or near the middle of both marks. If the oil level is too high, drain a small amount from the motor with a hand pump from the oil filler neck. Likewise, add oil slowly into the oil filler neck to increase the oil level.
Gently lower the motorcycle back onto its kick stand.
- "The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program"; The Professional Career Development Institute; 2000
- "1999 Yamaha XVS 1100 Service Manual"; Yamaha Motor Company; 1999
- If you do not feel confident that you can raise and hold the motorcycle by yourself, enlist the help of a friend or assistant.
- Do not check your oil while the motor is cold. A cold reading will not provide an accurate indication of the oil level in the motor and could lead you to over-fill the oil.
- Avoid over-filling the oil. Over-filled oil will be blown into the air filter, creating a mess that may clog the air filter and starve your motorcycle of air.
An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.