4 Common Motorcycle Oil Change Mistakes to Avoid

Changing the oil on your motorcycle, ATV or any other vehicle is a simple, yet crucial maintenance task for keeping your machine healthy.

Motorcycle oil change

Doing a motorcycle oil change yourself is a great way to save some money, and all it takes is a couple of tools and a little bit of time. However, even if you know the basics (drain the oil, change the filter, refill the oil), a small mistake can make a big difference. Here are four common oil change mistakes to avoid.

1. Forgetting to Clean Around the Dipstick or Fill Plug

When you remove the oil fill plug or dipstick from your motorcycle, ATV or car and insert the funnel, there's a chance that dirt and other contaminants from around the fill opening can seep into the engine. Your oil filter is there to catch the bad stuff, but even a little escaped dirt in the engine can do some damage. Take an extra minute to clean around the opening before you remove the dipstick or oil fill plug.

Motorcycle engine dipstick cleaning

2. Choosing the Wrong Oil 

There are countless motor oil choices you can use in your motorcycle. How do you know which motor oil to choose for your machine? The manufacturer's recommendation is always a good place to start. It's also a good idea to know what the difference is between motor oil types, such as synthetic vs conventional, and what the numbers on the oil's container mean. Check out our 5 Common Oil Service Questions Answered article for more information about choosing the right oil for your machine.  

Motorcycle engine oil

3. Losing the O-ring or Crush Washer

When you loosen the oil drain bolt, there will probably be an O-ring or crush washer around it that creates a tight seal between the plug and the crankcase. Whatever it is, don't lose it! These parts are there for a reason, and they're very easy to misplace or forget to replace. Also, remember that the O-ring or crush washer are there to seal the drain opening, but you shouldn't overtighten the bolt when you replace it. 

oil drain bolt crush washer

4. Overtightening the Oil Filter

Speaking of overtightening, the same goes for the oil filter. An O-ring creates a good seal for an oil filter too, but you don't want to overtighten that either. Rub a little oil on the seal around the filter, then hand-tighten it and give it a little bit of a turn with the oil filter wrench. It's enough to get a strong seal, yet loose enough so that even if the filter is in a tight spot, it'll be easy to remove next time. 

Motorcycle oil filter

Avoiding these common oil change mistakes can make a world of difference. Now that you know a handful of mistakes to avoid, why not see a motorcycle oil change in action?  Watch the video below, in which we cover the basics and feature some of these tips while showing you how to change the oil in a Honda CBR 600

 

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