Thinking about purchasing a new car? Use our new Car Loan Calculator to estimate your monthly car payment!

How to Check the Oil on Harley Davidson Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Harley Davidson car require regular maintenance just like any vehicle. To ensure your motorcycle runs properly, always perform regular maintenance and fluid level checks. Harley Davidson car fluid helps with shifting gears and being able to find neutral. If you are low on Harley Davidson car oil, you may have trouble shifting or finding neutral on your bike. Check your Harley Davidson car oil as often as you tune up your Harley Davidson car. A good rule of thumb is to check it every three months. If the oil smells burnt, go ahead and change it. Changing the Harley Davidson car oil is recommended at least every six months.

Under The Hood:

 How to Check the Oil on a Harley Road Glide

Park the Harley Road Glide on flat, level ground. Allow the engine to run so that the oil inside the crankcase warms up. The engine should run for about 10 minutes.

Twist the oil cap counterclockwise and pull it off the engine. Wipe the oil off the dipstick connected to the inside of the cap using the paper towel.

Insert the dipstick into the engine and pull it back out. Look at the dipstick: If the oil level is below the hole at the top of the dipstick, add oil until the oil level is at that hole. If the oil level is at the top hole, no oil is needed.

Items you will need

  • Paper towel

 How to Check Oil in a Harley Primary

Locate the derby cover on your Harley. This is a plate usually made of chrome that covers the end of the clutch. Use a Torx driver to remove the derby cover bolts on the left side of the Harley. After removing the bolts, set them aside along with the derby cover for later re-installation.

Push the Harley into an upright position and hold it in place with a motorcycle stand. If you do not have a motorcycle stand, have a friend help hold the bike in an upright position.

Look into the primary cover. The primary fluid should be level with the lower edge of the clutch spring. You might have to use a flashlight to see the fluid level.

Fill the primary fluid if the level is low.

Replace the derby cover with its bolts.

Items you will need

  • Torx driver set

  • Flashlight (Optional)

  • Motorcycle stand

  • Primary fluid

 How to Check the Oil on a Harley

Checking the Oil on a Harley

Drive your Harley motorcycle onto a level piece of ground.

Allow the engine to cool and the oil to settle out of the piston chamber into the oil pan. This will take 20 to 40 minutes.

Pull out the oil dipstick on the right side of the engine. If you are sitting on the seat, the oil dipstick is located by your right ankle.

Wipe the oil off of the dipstick with the paper towel. Replace the dipstick into the oil dipstick hole completely and then pull it back out. Make sure the oil level is between the add oil and the full line.

Items you will need

  • paper towel

 How to Check the Oil on a 2009 Harley Road King

Find the Road King's oil pan dipstick. For a 2009 Road King, the dipstick is on the right hand side of the bike, spaced about two to three inches under the front part of the seat and about three to four inches above the exhaust pipe. The oil pan for the Road King is on the bottom of the bike, and the dipstick is positioned so that its tip hits the bottom of the pan, indicating to you exactly how much oil is in the bike.

Pull the dipstick from the bike in one fluid motion. Do not splatter the tip of the dipstick against any part of your Road King or body because this will change your ability to read the oil level.

Hold the dipstick against a white cloth or paper towel to check elements of the oil such as its coloration, level and viscosity.

Check the oil's coloration. Brand new oil is amber in color and transparent. Old oil is black and opaque. Ideally, your engine should be filled with oil that is closer in color to new oil than old oil.

Check the oil's level in the engine. Your Road King's dipstick will have a series of notches on its tip that will indicate if your engine is full or low on oil. More oil is needed if the oil on the dipstick stops at a low notch.

Check the oil's viscosity. Newer oil is more likely to bead on the tip of the dipstick, while older oil will simply coat the tip.

Items you will need

  • White cloth or paper towel

 How to Check Oil in a Harley Davidson Fatboy

Place the motorcycle on a vertical stand or sit on the motorcycle and tilt it upright. Start the motor and let it to warm up for a few minutes to reach operating temperature. This will allow the oil to heat up and expand slightly. Hold the bike fully vertical to pull oil from the engine's sump for an accurate reading.

Stop the motor and remove the oil tank dipstick. Clean the dipstick and re-insert it completely into the oil tank filler neck. Remove the dipstick again and check the oil level marked on the stick. Add oil as needed and replace the dipstick securely. The oil level should be almost even with the bottom edge of the filler neck.

Remove the dipstick on the transmission, clean and reinsert it completely. Remove the dipstick again and check the transmission oil level. Add oil as needed and replace the dipstick securely.

Remove the T-40 bolts that secure the round derby cover to the primary cover and remove the derby cover. Look into the primary through the derby cover port to check the primary fluid level. The primary fluid should be level with the clutch basket. Add primary fluid as needed and replace the derby cover.

Items you will need

  • Clean rags or towels

  • Torx-40 socket

  • Socket wrench

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

More Articles