How to Do an Oil Change on a Harley Lowrider

by Kyle McBrideUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Catch pan

  • Allen wrench set

  • Torque wrench

  • Allen driver set

  • Clean shop rag

  • Oil filter wrench

  • New oil filter

  • New oil

Harley-Davidson Lowriders use a built-in oil pan instead of the traditional remote-mount type oil reservoir. The pan is cast into the bottom of the engine case, and the oil is held in with a special bolt with an o-ring seal. Engine temperatures vary widely in air-cooled engines, leading to oil breakdown. Proper maintenance intervals are important to protect the engine and prevent undue engine wear.

Remove the oil tank filler plug by hand. Position the catch pan under the drain plug, which is located at the bottom of the engine cases.

Remove the oil tank drain with an Allen wrench. Inspect the drain plug O-ring for damage or wear. Allow the oil to drain fully.

Install the drain plug. Torque the plug to factory specifications for your year and model. Move the catch pan up and under the oil filter located in front of the engine. Clean up any residual oil around the drain plug with a shop rag.

Remove the oil filter with the oil filter wrench. Wipe the faceplate on the oil filter mount to remove any old oil and road grime and to ensure the old gasket did not remain stuck to the faceplate.

Lubricate the gasket on the new filter with some new oil. Spin the filter on, then tighten it hand tight. Wipe up any residual oil.

Add the appropriate amount of new oil for your year and model to the engine through the fill hole. Stick the oil tank with the plug/dipstick to check the oil level. Test run the bike, and watch the drain plug and filter for leaks.


Always use Harley-Davidson factory-authorized motor oil and filters. Check your service manual for the proper weight and amount of oil.


Inspect the drain plug magnet for metal salt or shavings. Excessive shavings indicate a serious problem in the motor that must be addressed before a catastrophic failure takes place.

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