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

RiDE (UK) - - Welcome... - Words Bruce Dunn

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.

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