How to Change Oil on Bikes

by Contributing Writer

Driving your two-stroke motorcycle or dirt bike puts considerable wear and tear on the engine. With a two-stroke engine, you add the oil in one compartment and the gasoline in another and the engine siphons the correct amount of each into the engine while it is running. You should change your two-stroke oil every season, but make sure to check it before you use you motorcycle every time so you don't run it out of oil.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change The Oil on a 2001 Buell Blast

Start your Blast and let it idle in place for 3 to 5 minutes to warm the engine oil. Stop the engine and let it cool for another 10 minutes.

Mount the Blast on a rear swingarm stand to support the motorcycle in a vertical position. Unscrew the oil dipstick from the Blast's frame, located between the fuel tank and the handlebars, by hand.

Remove the seat, using the release latch under the left side of the tail fairing. Unscrew the cables from the battery, starting with the black negative cable, followed by the red positive cable, using a Phillips screwdriver. Lift the battery out of the motorcycle's frame.

Unscrew the left foot peg bracket nuts, located within the frame's left seat rail, using a 14 mm flex-head socket and a socket wrench. Pull the foot peg bracket slightly away from the motorcycle and unscrew the oil drain hose-retaining bolt from the inside face of the bracket, using a 1/2-inch socket and a socket wrench.

Place an oil drain pan below the oil drain hose and the crankcase vent hose. Loosen the spring clamps attaching the drain plugs to the ends of both hoses, using pliers. Pull out the drain plugs, by hand, and drain the engine oil into your oil drain pan. Let the oil drain for at least 10 minutes or until the oil flow has reduced to a trickle. Push the drain plugs into the oil drain hose and the crankcase breather hose, then pull the spring clamps into place with pliers.

Move your oil drain pan to the front of the engine and set it below the cylindrical oil filter. Unscrew the oil filter, using a socket wrench and an oil filter socket. Place the oil filter into your drain pan and allow any remaining oil to drain. Wipe the oil filter mounting plate clean with a shop rag after it has drained.

Spread a light coat of 20W-50 motorcycle-specific engine oil around the new oil filter's gasket. Screw the oil filter onto the engine, by hand, until the oil filter gasket is seated against the engine, then tighten the oil filter an additional three-quarters of a turn.

Fill the oil tank with 1.5 quarts of 20W-50 motorcycle-specific engine oil through the filler neck between the handlebars and the fuel tank, using a funnel. Remove the funnel and screw the dipstick into place, by hand.

Move your oil drain pan directly below the engine. Unscrew the transmission oil drain plug from the bottom of the engine crankcase, using a 5/8-inch socket and socket wrench. Drain the transmission oil into your drain pan. Wipe the drain plug with a shop towel, then screw the drain plug into the crankcase, by hand. Tighten the drain plug to 18 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and a 5/8-inch socket.

Remove the clutch inspection cover from the transmission, located on the left side of the engine, using a Torx T-27 screwdriver. Pour up to one quart of 75W-90 transmission oil into the transmission. Stop filling the transmission once the oil level has risen to the bottom of the clutch diaphragm spring, visible through the clutch inspection port. Reinstall the clutch inspection cover, using a Torx T-27 screwdriver.

Reinstall the oil drain hose and crankcase hose onto the left foot peg bracket, using a 1/2-inch socket and a socket wrench. Remount the left foot peg bracket onto the frame's left seat rail, using a 14 mm flex-head socket and a socket wrench. Tighten the foot peg bracket nuts to 35 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and a 14 mm flex-head socket.

Lower the battery into its tray between both seat rails. Attach the red positive cable to the battery, followed by the black negative cable, using a Phillips screwdriver. Lock the seat into place onto the seat rails.

Remove the Blast from the rear swingarm stand and start its engine. Let the motorcycle idle for five minutes to warm the engine oil, then stop the engine. Lift the Blast off of its side stand and into a vertical position, then check the oil level with the dipstick. Pour additional oil into the oil tank, one ounce at a time, if the oil level is below the "Fill" mark imprinted into the dipstick. Lower the Blast onto its side stand, if the oil level is situated between the dipstick's "Fill" and "Full" marks.

Items you will need

  • Rear swingarm stand

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • 14 mm flex-head socket

  • Socket wrench

  • 1/2- and 5/8-inch sockets

  • Pliers

  • Oil filter wrench

  • Oil filter

  • Shop towels

  • Two quarts, 20W-50 motorcycle-specific engine oil

  • Funnel

  • Torque wrench

  • Torx T-27 screwdriver

  • One quart, 75W-90 transmission oil

 How to Change Oil on a Vespa

Place the bike on its kick stand and allow the engine to run for a few minutes for the oil to drain more freely. Locate the oil drain bolt underneath the right hand side of the engine. It has "OLIO" printed on the head.

Place an oil drain pan underneath the bolt and use the wrench to loosen it. Do not misplace the washer connected to the bolt as it will be reused.

Remove the oil drain bolt and allow the oil to flow into the oil drain pan.

Reattach the oil drain bolt. Do not forget to reattach the washer as well.

Remove the oil filler bolt with the flat-head screwdriver. The oil filler bolt is situated just behind and slightly below the gear selector box. Use the syringe to inject the new oil into the oil filler hole.

Reattach the oil filler bolt when done. Make sure to properly dispose of the old oil by taking it to any auto parts store or recycling center.

Items you will need

  • 10mm wrench

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • 5/8 quarts of SAE 30 motor oil

  • Syringe

  • Oil drain pan

 How to Change Oil on a Sportster 1200

Start your Sportster 1200 engine and allow it to warm up.

Turn off the engine after it has reached normal operating temperature.

Loosen the retaining screw on the hose clamp holding the oil drain hose to the frame of the bike. This is the only hose on the Sportster with a hose clamp.

Slide the hose clamp out of the way and pull the drain hose off the frame and allow the oil to drain into the oil catch pan.

Remove the oil filter by turning it counterclockwise.

Reconnect the oil drain hose and tighten the hose clamp over it.

Install a new oil filter. Tighten the oil filter hand-tight only. Do not apply excessive torque on the oil filter. It needs to be on just tight enough so that oil does not leak out from around the edges of the filter.

Open the engine oil filler cap on the top of the engine and pour in three quarts of oil.

Clean up any oil that has spilled on the engine during the draining process with a clean rag.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver Oil catch pan 3 quarts of fresh oil New oil filter Rag

 How to Change Oil in an FLHX

Start the motorcycle and let it warm up for five minutes. This will bring the oil to its operating temperature, allowing it to flow easier and drain completely. Stop the motor after five minutes. Place the motorcycle on a stand to support it in an upright position.

Place an oil pan under the drain plug on the left side of the motor. Remove the drain plug using a 5/8" socket and allow the motor oil to drain completely. Wipe the tip of the drain plug with a shop towel to remove any buildup or debris. Remove the o-ring from the drain plug and replace it with a new o-ring. Insert and tighten the drain plug with a 5/8" socket once the oil has finished draining.

Move the oil pan directly under the oil filter on the front of the motor. Use a filter wrench to unscrew the oil filter from the motor. Discard the oil filter. Fill the new oil filter with fresh motor oil and spread a thin coat of oil around the filter's mating surface. Screw the oil filter into place by hand until it is seated against the motor. Tighten the oil filter an additional quarter of a turn to secure it.

Remove the filler cap from the motorcycle's oil tank. Use a funnel to pour in fresh motor oil into the oil tank, adding up to 3 quarts of oil. Remove the funnel and wipe away any spilled oil before replacing the filler cap.

Move the oil pan directly beneath the primary housing on the left side of the motor. Using a Torx-27 driver, remove the drain plug from the primary housing, located directly below the round derby cover. Allow the primary fluid to drain. Wipe the tip of the drain plug with a shop towel and replace the plug's o-ring. Reinsert and tighten the drain plug with a Torx-27 driver.

Remove the derby cover from the primary housing, using a Torx-27 driver to unscrew the six bolts that secure the derby cover. Set the derby cover aside. Pour up to 1 quart of fresh primary fluid into the primary housing. Ideally, the primary fluid should be level with the bottom of the clutch diaphragm spring within the primary housing. Wipe away any spilled fluid with a shop towel and reinstall the derby cover onto the primary housing.

Move the oil pan directly beneath the transmission unit. Remove the transmission drain plug with a 5/8" socket and allow the transmission oil to drain. Wipe the tip of the drain plug with a shop towel and replace its o-ring. Reinsert the drain plug into the transmission and tighten it with a 5/8" socket.

Remove the filler cap from the transmission unit. Use a funnel to pour up to 1 quart of fresh transmission oil into the transmission unit. Remove the funnel and wipe away any spilled oil with a shop towel before replacing the filler cap.

Items you will need

  • Motorcycle stand

  • Socket wrench and sockets

  • Oil pan

  • Shop towels

  • Drain plug o-rings

  • Filter wrench

  • Funnel

  • Motor oil, 3 Quarts

  • Torx drivers

  • Primary fluid, 1 Quart

  • Transmission oil, 1 Quart

 How to Change Oil on a 2 Stroke Motorcycle

Park the bike on a level surface. Put out the kick stand.

Position the oil drain pan under the engine block. Unscrew the drain plug on the base of the engine block. Allow all the two-stroke oil to drain.

Screw the drain plug back in tightly. Unscrew the top oil check dipstick.

Read your motorcycle owners manual to check what type of two-stroke engine oil your bike requires. Purchase the correct type of two-stroke oil for your bike.

Put the funnel in the oil check dipstick hole. Fill the oil compartment with oil until it is up to the correct "Full" level on the dipstick. Screw the dipstick back in the hole.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Funnel

  • Oil drain pan

  • 2 stroke oil

 How to Change the Oil on a Road Glide

Warm the motorcycle up to normal operating temperature. Turn off the engine after it is hot.

Remove the oil filler plug on the right side of the bike.

Place an oil drain pan or other suitable container under the motorcycle. Remove the oil drain plug located at the front left side of the oil pan with a socket wrench. Allow all of the oil to drain.

Remove the oil filter with a filter wrench. Clean the oil filter mount of any old oil or debris.

Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with new, clean oil. Install and hand-tighten the new oil filter onto the filter boss. Do not use an oil filter wrench to tighten the new filter.

Reinstall the oil drain plug.

Add 3.5 quarts of 20w50 motor oil to the motorcycle. Wipe off the oil dipstick and push it completely into the bike's fill spout. Pull the dipstick back out and check to see that the oil is at the "FULL" mark. Add additional oil as necessary. Reinstall the oil filler plug by hand.

Items you will need

  • 4 quarts of 20w50 motor oil

  • New oil filter

  • SAE socket set

  • Filter wrench

  • Oil drain pan

  • Shop rags

 How to Change Oil in an Indian Motorcycle

Set your Indian on its kickstand or center stand so it won't fall over while you are working. Set drain pan beneath the right side of the motorcycle.

Locate the oil drain tube on the right side of the motorcycle. The tube should be connected to a plug welded onto the frame. Use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the clamp that holds the tube onto this frame plug.

Position the drain pan beneath the oil drain tube and remove it from the frame plug. Allow the tube to drain until the bike is completely empty of oil. Replace the tube on the frame plug and tighten the tube clamp.

Remove the oil filler cap and pour in three quarts of 20W-50 V-Twin motorcycle engine oil into the oil bag. Replace the oil filler cap.

Locate the oil filter on the front left of the Indian's engine crankcase. Using an oil filter wrench, remove the oil filter and the old oil filter gasket. Lubricate the threads of the new oil filter with a small amount of engine oil and tighten the new oil filter onto the crank case 1/2 turn past tight.

Let the motorcycle idle for 15 minutes. Check the oil and add any, if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Drain Pan

  • Oil filter wrench

  • Oil filter

  • 20W-50 motorcycle oil

  • Flat head screwdriver

 How to Change Oil in an Ironhead Sportster

Start your ironhead sportster and let it warm up to its normal operating temperature.

Next you want to remove the cap on the oil tank, then remove the drain plug on the bottom of the oil tank and drain it . On ironhead sportsters there is no need to remove the drain plug on the bottom of the engine, they are known to strip and are better left alone.

Now replace the drain plug on the oil tank and fill with a quality 50 weight oil until it reads on the dipstick. Replace the cap and take your ironhead sportster for a ride !

Ironhead sportsters did not come with oil filters but there are plenty of aftermarket inline filters available, i would suggest getting one to ensure no debris get into your oil.

 How to Change Oil in a Triumph Motorcycle

Support the bike in the vertical position. Locate the engine sump at the bottom of the engine case. Position a catch pan below the engine oil drain plug.

Using a ratchet and Allen-driver, remove the drain plug and allow the oil to drain completely from the engine. Remove and discard the drain plug gasket. Install a new gasket, then install the plug in and torque it to 18 foot-pounds, using a foot-pound torque wrench and Allen-driver.

Locate the oil filter and reposition the catch pan. Remove the oil filter using the service tool. Clean the oil filter contact surface on the engine, using a clean shop rag.

Wipe a thin coat of clean engine oil on the new oil filter gasket, using your finger. Spin the filter onto its base and torque it to 7 foot-pounds.

Find the engine oil dipstick on the rear of the right engine case. Unscrew it and remove it from the engine. Wipe the dipstick and thread it all the way in, then back out to check the oil level. Add engine oil through the dipstick hole until the oil level is at the "Max" mark on the dipstick.

Start the engine and allow it to idle for 30 seconds, then shut it off. Check for leaks at the drain plug and oil filter, and recheck the level.

Items you will need

  • Catch pan

  • Ratchet

  • Allen-driver set

  • Drain plug gasket

  • Foot-pound torque wrench

  • Triumph service tool, No. T3880313

  • Shop rag

  • 1.1 gallons 10W40 or 15W50 semi- or full-synthetic oil, meeting specification API SH and JASO MA