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Motorcycle Care 101: How Often Should You Change Your Oil & Oil Filter?

Should you change your motorcycle oil as often as possible? Can you stretch it several more kilometres without damaging anything?

How often should you change your oil filter? Can you change both the oil and oil filter by yourself, or do you need to hire an expert? 

Motorcycle maintenance is highly critical to not only ensure a long life for your engine, but also for your bike to perform at a high-level consistency at all times. One of the most critical components of your bike engine is the oil filter. It’s important to know what oil you should use and when you should change it.

The questions above may seem simple, but this issue is more complicated than you’d initially think. This post is geared towards shedding some light into the matter and helping you understand everything about changing both your oil and oil filter. 

What Is the Function of Your Motorcycle Engine Oil?

First things first: it’s imperative you understand that motorcycle engines have numerous moving parts, all made of metal. These parts continuously come in contact with each other and without proper lubrication, they wear down from friction.

In turn, this reduces performance for your bike; the small bits of metal contaminate your engine, and before you know it, you need constant repairs. 

Engine oil is vital in that it lubricates all these metal parts so that once they come in contact, they don’t damage each other. Additionally, if at some point there are metal bits in the engine, the oil captures them, and it gets easier to remove them. 

Why Do You Need to Change Your Engine Oil?

Oil is not only extremely durable, but highly resistant to damages as well. The reason why it needs to be changed regularly is it degrades with time. The hydrocarbons found in the oil start breaking down into other chemicals that could be harmful to the engine. 

Oil degrades from all the heat generated from the bike. Prolonged riding sessions could also make it vaporise and break down further. Besides, there are multiple other things that contaminate the oil, reducing its effectiveness. 

Some of these things include the metal shavings or bits, the debris that goes through the air filter, and combustion by-products. 

Degraded oil does not perform to an optimum level compared to clean oil, and the contaminants cause acidity, which in turn damages the engine components. This makes an oil change essential to the life of your engine. 

When Should You Change Engine Oil?

The manufacturer service manual is the first thing you should look at. The manufacturer includes recommendations when it comes to the type of oil you should use and how frequently you should change it. 

If you stick to these recommendations, you have a higher chance of keeping your motorcycle in better condition. However, as a rule of thumb, for most bikes and even vehicles, the standard recommendation is after approximately 4,800 km. Most modern oils can last longer than this, so it may depend on the engine oil you use on your bike. 

What Type of Oil Are You Using?

The type of oil you use on your bike is essential in knowing when to change it. For instance, synthetic oils have a better advantage. While they may cost more, they have a higher tolerance for heat, contaminants, and most other factors that lead to oil degradation.

Most manufacturers recommend using synthetic oil for 5,000 km. Sometimes, even more. 

Minimal Oil Breakdown

Most petroleum-based engine oils start breaking down almost immediately. Petroleum oils have a higher flashpoint compared to synthetic oils. With higher flashpoints, synthetic oils can withstand higher temperatures and can last longer than 5,000 km before they start to break down. 

How to Deal With Contamination

One of the most significant methods of delaying oil contamination is prevention. You need to stop debris from getting to the engine by using a high-quality engine air filter. Metal particle contamination is lower with synthetic oils because they’re designed to leave a thin oil film over the engine components for added protection. 

When it comes to the by-products, petroleum oil doesn’t do much for your engine. However, synthetic oil, whether semi or full, is designed to neutralise the combustion by-products, preventing them from damaging your motorcycle engine. Besides the oil, you also need tighter piston ring seals and a good filtration system.

How Often Should You Change Your Oil Filter?

Even with synthetic oils, a great air filter, and tight piston rings, some contaminants will definitely make it to the engine oil. The oil filter plays an integral part when it comes to neutralising these contaminants and keeping them from re-entering the oil flow. When it comes to changing the filter, you should consider the manual recommendation and the oil you choose to use. 

Does It Make a Difference If You Change the Oil Early?

Not entirely. What you need to understand is that like most things, you’ll get what you pay for.

If you use high-quality products, then you’ll have high-quality protection and changing the oil early will not be necessary. Stick to high-quality oils and filters for prolonged use that assures safety for your engine and essentially, your motorcycle. 

That said, oil filters are not a huge expense, and if you can manage to change them early, there would be nothing wrong with it. It’s always good to be cautious, primarily if you use the motorcycle regularly. 

What It All Comes Down To

So, how often should you change your oil filter? In the grand scheme of things, it all comes down to the type of oil, the type of motorcycle, the quality of filters you use, and how often you ride. However, 5,000 km is a good standard for changing motorcycle engine oil. 

Have we managed to answer your burning questions? Would you like to know more about maintaining your motorcycle or would you like to shop for high-quality motorcycle products? Feel free to check out our website and contact us if you have any questions. 

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