When To Change Oil In A Motorcycle? Frequency Of Oil Change

Oil gauge in a motorcycle

Motorcycle oil is essential for the lubrication and cooling of the engine oil.

If the oil level or the quality decreases, the oil needs to be changed in the bike.

When to change the oil in a motorcycle? The frequency of oil change depends on the type of oil used in the motorcycle. Mineral oil should be changed every 2000 miles. For semi-synthetic oil, the frequency of oil change is every 5000 miles. And synthetic oil should be changed every 8000 miles.

How Frequently You Should Change Oil In Motorcycle

The frequency of oil change depends on the make of the motorcycle, the type of oil you use, how old the motorcycle is, what condition the motorcycle and engine is in, how you use your motorcycle – for short rides, long rides etc.

The major parameter, however, is the type of oil you are using in the motorcycle.

The three main types of engine oil are – mineral oil, semi-synthetic oil, and synthetic oil.

Mineral oils are sourced from petroleum processing by refining crude oil. Fully synthetic oils are processed out of pure polymers. Semi-synthetic oils are produced as a mixture of mineral oil and synthetic oil.

As a general rule of thumb, here are the recommended frequency of oil change for the distance travelled based on the type of oil you are using.

Type of OilFrequency of Oil Change
Mineral Oil2000 miles
Semi-Synthetic Oil5000 miles
Synthetic Oil8000 miles

However, if you ride the motorcycle for long distances frequently, you may have to change the engine oil much more frequently. You want to ensure the quality of oil remains top notch for the smooth functioning of oil in the motorcycle.

How To Check Engine Oil Level In Motorcycle?

To check the engine oil level in the motorcycle, park the bike on a flat surface.

Next, remove the oil gauge from the motorcycle. If the oil gauge is fixed too tight, you can remove it with the help of pliers. Once you remove the gauge, clean the gauge since the oil level reflected will not be clear as it will show at full levels. This is because the oil flows under pressure inside the motorcycle and the flow will make the entire gauge wet.

Now, the oil gauge will be marked with two levels. The top mark is for ‘full’ and the bottom mark is for ‘low’.

Ideally, the oil level should be between the top and bottom marks, i.e., falling between the full and low oil levels.

Clean the oil gauge first since it would have been completely wet due to the pressurized oil flow in the system. Once you have cleaned the gauge, place back the oil gauge but do not screw it. Just place the gauge back and allow it to get wet by the engine oil at the current level.

Now, remove the oil gauge. You can check the engine level now by checking the wet mark on the gauge. If the wet mark of the oil is between the ‘full’ and ‘low’ marks, then the engine oil is at right level.

If the oil wet mark on the gauge is below the ‘low’ mark, then the engine has low oil level. It is time to change or top up the oil.

On the other hand, if the oil wet mark goes above the ‘full’ mark, then it is also a concern. There is too much engine oil in the bike. You need to allow the engine to breathe. If there is too much oil, it is like you have drank too much water and cant breathe. You need to remove some oil.

How To Check Engine Oil Quality In Motorcycle?

To check the engine oil quality of a motorcycle, look into the color, smell and stickiness of the engine oil.

The oil should be brown or lighter in color, should not have burnt smell, and should not be sticky in condition for it to be of good quality and in working condition.

If the oil color is brown or lighter, the engine oil is in good condition. If it is darker or black, then the engine oil is in poor condition. On the other hand, if the oil color is uneven and has green or white tinges, then the coolant has been mixed with the oil.

For the smell, if the oil has a burnt smell, then the oil is not right for the motorcycle. And if there is no burnt smell coming from the engine oil, then the oil is working fine.

Now, if you feel the oil is sticky and a small line of oil is forming between your thumb and the forefinger, then the oil has lost its desired viscosity and lubricating properties.

Only if the engine oil is alright in all the three quality aspects – color, smell, and stickiness, then you can safely conclude that the engine oil is in good working condition.

Why You Should Frequently Change The Oil In Motorcycle

If you don’t change the oil frequently in your motorcycle, the engine will start overheating due to lack of sufficient lubrication and cooling.

Carbon deposits will start to form on the surfaces of the engine components. Also, there will be lots of wear and tear.

All these combined, will damage the engine components.

Here are some of the major damages caused because of low engine oil levels in the motorcycle.

  • Burnt Clutch Plates: Wet clutches need engine oil to operate smoothly. If there is insufficient oil in the system, the excessive friction and the heat generated because of it, will burn the clutch plates.
  • Damaged Piston rings: Low oil levels will result in overheating of the engine components. Excessive heating of piston rings will damage them easily.
  • Piston wear and damaged Cylinder lining: If there isn’t sufficient lubrication, the dry movement of piston along the walls of cylinder will harm both the piston as well as the cylinder. The cylinder lining can get damaged and the piston will face wear and tear.
  • Impaired engine valves: With insufficient oil levels in the engine, the engine valves can get impaired fast. The replacement can be a costly affair as well for the motorcycle owner.
  • Other Damages include hard shifting of gears, increased engine and motorcycle vibrations, and decreased mileage of the bike.