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How to Change the Oil on a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

by ContributorUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Basin

  • Siphon

  • Socket wrench

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Oil filter

  • Oil

  • Work rags

How to Change the Oil on a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle. An important part of maintaining your motorcycle is to frequently change the oil. Complete this process every 3,000 miles and enjoy greater security during your rides and prolong the life of your engine.

Remove the filler cap from the oil tank.

Place the catch basin directly below the drain plug on the oil tank.

Hold a siphon between the oil tank and the catch basin. Some newer Harley models may have their own drain hose that you can use.

Use a socket wrench to remove the drain plug from the bottom of the oil tank, while continuing to hold the siphon in place.

Wait until all oil has drained into the basin, then screw the drain plug back into the oil tank.

Remove the seat of your motorcycle. Most Harley-Davidsons' oil filters are located in a cylinder under the seat.

Take the lid off the cylinder's housing and remove the cylinder.

Unlatch the clip that secures the cap on the cylinder using needle-nose pliers and lift out the used oil filter.

Replace the old filter with a new filter before locking the cap back onto the cylinder. Put the cylinder back into its home and replace the lid.

Bolt the seat securely back onto the Harley.

Pour the new oil into your oil tank. Your service manual should designate the proper amount for your specific motorcycle model.

Put the filler cap back onto the oil tank. Fasten it firmly to avoid a spray of oil.


Consult your owner's manual for any information relating to your specific Harley-Davidson motorcycle model. You can recycle used oil at many local gas and service stations.


Let your motorcycle sit for a few hours before changing the oil; it's not a good idea to work near a hot engine.

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