No matter how well you clean your bike and maintain its exterior, the functionality of your motorcycle depends on the health of the engine.
Do you know what keeps the engine ready to go every morning?
The oil. When your motorcycle oil becomes bad, your motorcycle is at risk of breaking down.
Changing the oil in your motorcycle is one of the most critical things you can do if you want it to last long. We have already discussed how to change your motorcycle oil. So if you need to know how to go about it, you may need to read up on it.
However, one other thing you should know is how often to change your motorcycle oil. It is. It is important to have this information to not keep your oil for longer than necessary in the engine.
Although there is no harm in changing your oil before time, keeping beyond the stipulated time is dangerous. Interestingly, no timetable tells you when to change your oil. It depends on several factors. But the standard has always been that your motorcycle should be due for an oil change after every 3,500 miles.
Other factors that determine the frequency of oil change include the motor present in the motorcycle, the model of the bike and how often it is used. The oil brand is also a huge factor. Some new oil brands may take longer before being replaced due to advanced technology that allows them to stay efficient for longer.
The temperature of your environment also determines the frequency of changing the oil. Apart from the heat of the engine itself, the environment’s temperature can break down the oil faster and make it lose efficiency. So if you ride your motorcycle in a very hot environment, you may need a more frequent oil change.
We assume that you already know the kind and brand of oil that suits your motorcycle engine best.
But first, a breakdown of what the oil does for a motorcycle.
Importance of Motorcycle Oil
Before knowing how to change the oil in motorcycles, it is necessary to know their role and how they play it in the engine. Nothing can affect your motorcycle like your engine, and nothing affects your engine like the oil.
Here is a breakdown of the role of engine oil in a motorcycle.
Lubrication is necessary for an engine, or it would grind to a halt very soon. Wear and tear of engine parts are possible when there is improper lubrication. Depending on the quality of the oil, some additives may be added to ensure that the oil can reduce friction between the moving parts of the engine.
When the engine parts can freely move with minimal friction, the engine can keep functioning. The oil’s viscosity determines how long the oil can prevent friction from happening. When oil loses its viscosity, its ability to keep protecting the engine is greatly diminished.
There’s a reason why the engine needs cooling. That’s because it is always hot. The engine oil cools the engine by reducing friction. For example, engine oils often contain certain additives that allow them to retain their viscosity even when the outside temperature is very high. That way, the oil prevents continuous friction that increases its temperature.
When the oil is poor, it can’t keep the engine from overheating, especially when the temperature increases outside.
Dirt gathers so much in motorcycle engines. Motorcycle engines can easily accumulate dirt. Engine oils cleanse the engine by sucking up dirt from the engine and preventing the dirt from sticking on the engine parts for too long. When an engine becomes dirty itself, its capacity for cleaning the engine will reduce
Protection against corrosion
Corrosion of engine parts occurs when dirt and rust gather on them. Oils, especially synthetic ones, contain additives that prevent the buildup of dirt and rust.
Determining Factors for Oil Change Time
So, what factors determine when the oil should be changed?
The first thing you must be familiar with is your manufacturer’s manual. Different bikes come with different factors. But overall, the major factors that determine the frequency of oil change include:
Mode/manufacturer of the bike
The manufacturer of your bike determines so many things about your motorcycle engine. Some bikes even specify not just the type but the brand of oil required. However, how often you change your oil can also be specified by the manufacturer.
Type of oil used
The type of oil used determines how often it will be changed. As you will see later, three main types of oils exist, and they differ in quality. The better the quality of the oil, the longer the replacement interval.
How often do you ride it
Your motorcycle engine requires more frequent change when you ride it often. The more you use your motorcycle; the more frequent the oil should be changed.
Remember, there’s a rule of thumb on how many miles your oil should use in your engine before being replaced. You will hit the required mileage sooner if you use your motorcycle often!
The weather and climatic conditions
There’s nothing the engine hates more than very extreme weather. When it’s too hot or too cold, the engine oil misbehaves. If you ride your bike in very dirty, dusty terrain, your engine suffers more. If you use your engine on bad terrains, you need to change the engine faster.
So how often do you change motorcycle oil?
Just for your information, there are three broad types of motorcycle oils, and how long you should use them before changing the oil.
Mineral oils should be changed more frequently than the others. It is recommended that after every 2,500 miles, you replace your motorcycle oil if Mineral oils service your engine.
Semi-Synthetic oils are more long-lasting because they are cleaner. If your motorcycle uses it, you should only change it after spending 5,000-6,000 miles.
Fully Synthetic oil
Fully synthetic oils, meanwhile, are the cleanest. They can keep your motorcycle engine oil fresh for as long as 10,000 miles before they require replacement.
However, regardless of the oil you use, you should change your oil if you notice your engine isn’t working as efficiently as it should, especially if you think it is too dirty. Several other factors may affect the oil regardless of its quality.
Sometimes due to climatic conditions or mechanical issues, the oil may begin to run short or dry up. You should change your oil if you notice this. If the oil keeps running short, you may need to see a professional, as it may threaten the life of your engine.
Sometimes, the engine oil may become very dirty before it’s due for service due to how the motorcycle has been used. Whenever you notice your engine is not performing as it ought to, you can proceed to change the oil. You can know how dirty your oil is by using the dipstick for inspection.
Once the level is below the Low mark, you immediately know you need to top up your oil or change it if it is almost due.
Many things may be responsible for your oil getting short in the engine, but if it becomes frequent, it is dangerous, and you may need to see a professional.
How to choose motorcycle oil when changing it
You should know the motorcycle oil that best suits your motorcycle. Except when specified by the manufacturer, it is important to use engine oil that works best with your bike. We noted that synthetic oils are better than semi-synthetic and mineral oils earlier. However, it is not a always that straightforward
Sometimes, the best oil may be bad for your bike. The rule is to always use mineral oils for the older models. The reason is that older engines cannot handle the flow of synthetic oils, and it often leaks in the engine, causing it to run short constantly.
Newer model bikes don’t have such problems. You can use any types of oils, except there is a recommendation from the manufacturer.
However, for the new model bikes, it is recommended that you go for synthetic or Semi-Synthetic oils. They have a lot of additives that make your engine function better and last longer.
Should I change filters as well?
With an idea on how often to change the oil in a motorcycle, the rule for changing filters vary slightly but are so similar that it is advisable to simply change the filters when changing the oils, especially if you use synthetic and Semi-Synthetic oils.
As the name suggests, filters keep the oil clean by sieving the dirt particles and trapping them from the oil. If you do not change your filter regularly, you will shorten the lifespan of the oil, regardless of its quality.
If you, however, only occasionally use your bike, you may not change the filter that frequently as they would have accumulated less dirt. However, those who rely on their motorcycle heavily must change their filters as frequently as they change their oils.
Now you know how often to change your oil. It is important to keep your engine happy.
Sometimes, people grumble about the cost of oils and filters. But if the engines break down due to bad oil, you would have yourself to blame.
Moreover, you’ll spend so much more. Fortunately, the motorcycle engine has a way of letting you know when it is due for an oil change. You don’t have to wait until your beloved bike starts grumbling. Do the needful on time and enjoy your motorcycle every day!
Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.