Do you want to save money and learn about your beloved machine at the same time? Change your own oil. It's cheap, fun, and you don't need a lot of tools!
Step 1. Arrange your space
This is one of the most important steps. You don't want to be running around looking for tools, containers, and rags while oil is leaking from your motorcycle and your hands are too slippery to turn a nut! Check the "Things You'll Need" section to get everything ready.
Wait for the engine to be cold, so as not to damage the thread of the engine where the bolt goes, and then it does not become loose, remember that the engine is aluminum and expands easily
Step 2. Place your motorcycle on the side stand, center stand or rear stand if it has one
Position your oil pan roughly under the bolt. Think in advance where the oil is going to come out and watch as it comes out. You will most likely have to rearrange the pan while the old oil dries up. Use the correct tool to remove the bolt. You don't want to sweep it up! If it falls on the tray, just pick it up quickly and don't burn yourself if it's hot!
Step 3. Let the used / dirty oil finish coming out while you remove the filter
Carefully unscrew the filter with a filter wrench or, in a pinch, wrap a leather (or plastic) belt around it like a dog collar. Be careful not to bend or damage the filter, as it may inadvertently let some of the contaminants in it back into the engine. There is going to be some leftover oil inside that can splatter, so make sure you have something underneath to catch it. If it's too tight, you can use a screwdriver to tap it together with a hammer and use it to loosen it.
Step 4. Install a new drain bolt washer
It may cost as much as a dollar, but it is inexpensive insurance. Make sure to remove the old washer. This will help you take care of the thread in your oil reservoir since you need less torque to tighten the drain bolt. If the washer is made of copper, it must be annealed to soften it by heating it red hot and cooling it in water. All copper washers have to be annealed before installing or they will not build pressure. This includes new ones as copper hardens over time.
Step 5. Replace the drain bolt
Make sure it is free of dirt and grime before you put it back on. Remember that they are usually made of cast aluminum, so don't overtighten it! Consult your manual or your local parts store to check the torque specifications for your motorcycle. When using pliers, remember that Nm is not equal to Ft-Lbs. If you don't tighten the bolt to factory spec, just install the bolt, but don't overtighten it!
Step 6. Prepare the filter by filling it with a quart of new oil
Slowly "shake" it and make the entire inside of the filter moistened with oil. So, and this is very important, impregnate the plastic seal with a little oil on your finger. Just wet the entire stamp. This is to make sure it makes good contact with the engine, and makes it much easier to remove it at the next oil change.
Step 7. Clean the filter area on the engine and run a finger with clean oil over the area just so it makes good contact
Adjust the filter carefully. Do not force it! It has to go in smoothly. Once no effort is needed to turn it, it only takes about 3/4 of a turn to the left. You really don't want to over-tighten the filter. And you shouldn't need more than your hand to squeeze it. Do not use any tools unless it is attached to a torque wrench and you are setting it to factory specifications.
Step 8. If you haven't already done so, move the dirty oil to an area where you don't dispose of it
Check your manual for the oil capacity and use the funnel to put about an eighth below the maximum capacity in the fill hole. Stop and check the level. Add or remove oil as necessary to fill it up to a third before Full. You don't want to overfill the oil! This adds pressure to your engine seals and can decrease life. Remember that on motorcycles you have to check the oil levels by leaning it on the central support, not on the side.
Step 9. Clean it up, double check that you've put all the plugs and bolts in, and you're good to go
Most of the auto parts stores that sell you the oil will get the old oil back if you empty it into the new oil containers. It's dirty work, but don't throw it on the floor. It's not going anywhere, it's really bad for the environment, and it's very likely illegal.
Step 10. Lastly, after your first ride, be sure to check the oil level as well as that the filter, drain bolt, and fill gauge are tight
Step 11. Congratulations
- Remember, hot oil flows much better, so it's best if you do a 10 minute spin before removing the drain bolt. This will help “clean” the inside of your engine and will let it come out easily. The oil is going to come out hot and fast, so be careful!
- Thoroughly clean the area around the bolt as well as the bolt itself. This makes it easier to locate a leak after you fill it up with new oil. It also prevents dust from getting into the engine from the oil pan. If you see a leak after filling it, maybe you didn't tighten the drain bolt enough, or maybe you over-tightened it. More importantly, if you leave oil around it, it will attract lots of dust and will make a mess in the area.
- You don't want dust and dirt from your tools and your shop to get into the engine, so clean them before (and after), and keep the area clean! Small particles of sand in the oil can destroy your engine!
- If you have a sports bike, chances are your oil filter is surrounded by the exhaust heads. Burned oil stinks, so try to keep the oil away from the hot exhaust pipes - get some aluminum foil and place it over the headers just below the filter connection!
- Getting rid of oil is always annoying. Put it in a (clean) bottle of detergent or bleach, as they are sturdy and have a good screw cap. Most landfills will accept the oil if you are a resident, and sometimes they only receive it on a certain day. Don't dump it on the ground or in the drain.
- Make sure you don't over-tighten your drain bolt. The oil container is normally made of aluminum and is no match for the steel bolt threads. A swept container for oil can be very annoying. The drain bolt has to be adjusted to the pressure specified in your user manual and no more.
- Overfilling your engine increases oil pressure, straining the seals. Think about this. Racing drivers typically run their cars / bikes on even less oil than manufacturers recommend as they deal with minimal oil to keep weight down. And think about how hard the engines run. Stay on the "not choked" side and fill your tank 1/3 above the empty marker. Just check it out often as you should always!
- Hot oil is hot! Be careful as you can burn yourself.
- Never smoke or use a lighter while changing the oil, charging batteries, or working with any part of the fuel system (tanks, lines, carburetors, injectors, etc.)
- Oil is not that flammable, but the fuel that may have contaminated your oil is. Oil burns, just so you know, but it needs a much stronger heat source than a cigarette or lighter. You may have had a stuck carburetor float anyway and you haven't realized it, and now you have a lot of fuel mixed with the oil in your gearbox. If a float sticks, the excess fuel has to drain down the drain. Sometimes if the line gets pinched, stuck, or stalls overnight, the contents of the entire fuel tank can find its way into the air cleaner and gearbox. It may only stick for a short time, resulting in a small loss of fuel, but any amount of fuel in the gearbox is very, very bad. If this happens, changing your oil indoors can result in a fire / explosion. A quick way to know what you're dealing with in advance is to remove the cap from the fill chute, bring your nose close to the hole, and take a breath. If you smell gasoline, move everything outside to a well-ventilated area. Also, you are going to need to find the source of the fuel leak as quickly as you can. If you have a stuck float, it is going to cause all kinds of problems. Gasoline is also going to contaminate your new oil and that can cause permanent damage to your engine. Diluted oil is bad oil!
Things you are going to need
- Oil filter
- Washer for oil bolt
- Open end wrench (or pliers and sockets for the same)
- Drain tray
- Filter removal tool (an old leather belt is sufficient)
- Cleaning rags
- Aluminum foil
- Torque wrench (recommended)
- Owner's or service manual