Essential skills: oil and filter change
Your engine needs clean, fresh oil to keep it sweet and it’s an easy job to do at home
THE ENGINE OIL and filter on any four-stroke bike will need changing on a regular basis. Usually the service schedule in the workshop manual will dictate when it’s due, typically every 4000-6000 miles, or once a year (depending on the bike).
It’s important to know what type and how much oil is required. This information will be in the workshop manual, or check with your local dealer.
Make sure you put the right amount of oil in because quite often there are two figures quoted. The smaller of the two is for an oil change on its own, while the larger figure is for when you replace the oil and filter together.
There is a wide range of oil available for bikes, the most common being a basic 10w40, and then there’s semisynthetic and full-synthetic to consider. There are varying opinions about what’s best for what, and who produces the best oil but the general rule is stick to what the manufacturer recommends for your bike — then you can’t go wrong.
Don’t be tempted to buy cheap oil that is labelled for use on cars. Car-engine oils are not suitable for bikes because they often contain friction modifiers which can wreck your clutch. Cars have a separate dry clutch, while most bikes use a wet multi-plate clutch. Any compounds that reduce the effectiveness of the clutch could cause it to slip, resulting in expensive damage — and a long walk home.
Always fit official parts for peace of mind. The prices of genuine filters and other service parts have come into line with pattern items over recent years and you’ll potentially find pattern parts are a false economy.