How to Change Engine Oil in your Bike
Modified On Jun 17, 2019 By Naveen Soni
Like human beings, the motorcycles too need their own flow of ‘blood’ for their smooth operation. In their case, the engines which they sport should be fed up with proper amount of oil/lubricant, so that each of the components of the engine performs like a purring tiger, even in their final long runs. But they say, too much of eagerness and overdose spoils even the best of the bests. The engine oil should be changed after a proper interval, in a proper amount and at a proper frequency, so that the engines may utilize each and every drop of the lubricant to its fullest. There are numerous aspects of the engine lubricants of modern generation, which should be kept in mind, so that you may get assured that the money well spent over the it gets utilized to the final bit. Those aspects are covered as follows:-
WHY TO CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL:-
Ok, the engine oil may be the ‘blood’ equivalent for the motorcycles, but unlike blood, they do require periodic replacements, thanks to the dirt and dust clogged in the it and deterioration in withstanding properties, after the numerous cyclic operations. Following are the two reasons why the engine lubricant oil should be changed after a particular interval of time:-
Oil breakdown – Yes, due to the frictional resistance the engine oil bears because of the adjacent engine components which are in motion, the engine oil has the tendency to break down. The frictional resistance, or the heat generated causes a rise in temperature of the engine oil, which when exposed to enough heat, can even cause the engine oil to vaporize.
Oil Contamination – Basically, there are three main media due to which the engine oil of your motorcycle may get contaminated – the dust and other particles which may pass through the air filter, the metal chips or other minute metal powder particles which forms due to metal to metal contact of adjacent engine components in motion and the rise in acidity of the engine caused due to the formation of the by-products in the process of combustion of the fuel. These contaminants may deteriorate the overall life of the engine by getting deposited in the engine and acting as hindrance as well as corrosion agents.
LATEST TRENDS IN ENGINE OIL TECHNOLOGY:-
Everything in this universe is destined to exist and act only for a particular time period, in which it performs its best. The engine oil of your motorcycle is not an exception to this theorem. Yes, after the repetitive cyclic operations of your motorcycle’s engine, they too tend to give out their last breath. But they say, technology, science and time have spared none. Engine lubricants too have evolved a lot from the heydays of your grandfather’s Yezdi to the modern day Harleys. It is in this duration of period, that the evolution of synthetic oils has happened. Nowadays, semi and full synthetic oils, designed in modern day labs, have the tendency to deal with all the hardships and strains the engine oils have to bear. The use of these synthetic oils has led to following advantages:-
Minimal oil breakdown – Unlike the old generation petroleum based engine lubricants, which had the tendency of breaking down even in not-so-extreme conditions, the modern day synthetic oils do perform a lot more better, thanks to their higher flash points in comparison, due to which they can sustain all the high temperature conditions, which reduces the engine breakdown rates to a greater rate. The synthetic oils are even designed to withstand thousands of miles more after showing minimal signs of reduction in protection, as unlike the older and cheaper mineral oils, they are not solely refined. Though it is advisable to notice those signs and change the engine oil.
Dealing with contamination –Before letting the engine oil do all the job of interaction with the engine contaminants, it is essential to improve the methods of the restrictions of such harmful entrants. It is where the need of a better, proper air filer is felt. The air filter should be a standardized one, which snugs well with the fueling system and performs at its best.
Apart from these entrants coming from outside, most of the contaminants are produced inside the engine itself. One of such is the formation of metal chips due to metal to metal contact of engine components. These chips have the tendency to bottom out in the engine oil, causing hindrance to normal engine operation. A synthetic oil, though, avoid such a circumstance by forming a very thin layer of itself between two such components, so that the engine components remain protected even in the start-up conditions.
As far as the by-products formed due to combustion process inside the engine are concerned, the engine oil can do very little to them. What keeps such products under control is the use of much better piston ring seals and an improvised system of fuel filtration, which ensure you the minimum formation of such harmful by-products and their lesser settlement in the engine oil. Synthetic oils, however, do have the characteristics of neutralizing such combustion by-products, which are acidic in nature.
HOW CRITICAL IS THE USAGE OF FILTERS?
No matter how much your engine oil tries to keep the level of contaminants formed inside the engine to a drop down low level, such efficient performance of the lubricant is of no use, if the contaminants in the outside environment enter the engine. The primary job of air filters is to keep such harmful minute debris away from the engine, by restricting their passage through them. But unwantedly, some amounts of debris tend to enter in the fuel system causing bondages to the proper fuel flow and circulation. Though the additives present in the engine lubricant perform their task of keeping these debris suspended and avoiding their contact with the components of the engine, the primary objective should be to keep the fuel free from such exterior contaminants as 100% as possible. Thus, the oil filter in the filtration system of your motorcycle should be able to grasp the contaminants left-over, when the engine oil flows through it. This ultimately results in neutralization of the contaminants within the oil filter and thus, preventing them to re-circulate within the engine.
No matter how tempting the other filters may be on financial and performance aspects, the filter used should be in compliance with the grade of the engine lubricant used or the size and dimensions of the filter standardized by the manufacturer. The usage of recommended OEM filters ensures you the best filtration system suitable for your motorcycles, keeping your engine away from the exterior contaminants.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE MOTORCYCLE OIL BE CHANGED?
Too much of something is never better, sometimes even worse than having nothing. Changing your engine oil is a better perception, but changing it more frequently is nothing but wastage of money. The engine oil should be changed according to the time interval mentioned in the service manual. The modern day engine lubricants are efficient enough to keep the engine components in a protected and lubricated condition, even for a much longer time than expected. A lot of study, research and experiments go under the formation of engine lubricants by the manufacturer. Thus, it’s a safe bet to rely on the time interval mentioned for the change of engine oil by the manufacturer. The time interval mentioned is the most possible time for which the engine oil performs in rock solid conditions, after which its ‘best’ performance may deteriorate. So, it’s advisable to change the engine lubricant once the time interval mentioned is hit. Though this happens in the condition when you are using the best of the high quality and recommended engine lubricant and oil filters. If you compromise in either one of them, the engine may no longer be protected, lubricated and a better performer as you’d expect. So, it’s better to buy both the oil as well as filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ENGINE OIL IS CHANGED EARLIER?
Arriving late to a destination may prove useless, but arriving before time may not, as in most of the circumstances. Likewise, if you wish to change the engine lubricant before the indicated time period, it will not have any adverse effects as expected in those happening when you change it after the time period mentioned in the service manual. As compared to other engine components and parts, the engine lubricant is not that expensive affair, so there is nothing wrong with changing them earlier as mentioned. The development of engine oil has come along since last 50-60 years, and because of this, the engine lubricants are now proficient enough to sustain the minute differences coming along with the procedure of changing them. But before changing the engine lubricant, it is essential to test it to ensure whether the engine oil is in a true state of performing properly in different modes and stages of engine usage. The earlier change of engine oil may even prove beneficial, if your motorcycle’s engine is in a highly tuned state, as the higher temperatures and running speeds your engine is prone to can match up with the performance of the engine lubricant.
HOW TO CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL OF YOUR MOTORCYCLE?:-
Now as we have come along all the basic knowledge and science hidden behind changing the engine oil, it’s important to know how to change it. As it is now well known, changing the engine lubricant is one of the most efficient and easiest ways to enhance the overall performance of your motorcycle. Normally, for an all new machine, it is advisable to change the engine oil once the odometer hits the 5000 km mark or your bike has covered up almost 6 months on the road. Unlike fuel injected bikes, carbureted ones are more prone to engine oil change, as most possibly, the fuel may directly contaminate the engine lubricant. Following are the ten basic steps to be followed while changing the engine lubricant of your motorcycle:-
1.Having all the essential tools and equipment –
Before giving it a shot, you must have the following important tools required for various tasks –
- A screwdriver/allen wrench
- A suitable crush washer for the drain plug
- An oil filter wrench
- Pair of needle nose pliers
- Clean and dry cloth pieces
- New oil filter (if required)
- A new bottle of suitable engine oil
- A sizeable funnel
- Adjustable socket wrench
2.Remove the body panels blocking the engine –
Nowadays, many motorcycles come with engine guards and protective cowls and fairing work, which do the job of protecting the engine from crashes and damages on impact. For properly changing the engine oil, such body panels are required to be removed, as they may be acting as a blockage. Such body panels can be unscrewed with the appropriate screwdriver which comes along in your bike’s toolkit. But be sure to keep all the essential nuts and bolts back to their proper places, once the fairing/cowl needs to be fitted back to its original position.
3.Unscrew the oil filler cap –
Once you remove the bodywork blocking your way, the next step is the open up the oil filler cap, which is the first step before draining out your engine oil. This cap is usually a black plastic piece with a raised part for doing the twisting actions through your thumb. Unscrewing this cap allows the engine oil to drain out quickly. However, if this oil filler cap is too hard to unscrew, the appropriate needle-nose pliers can be taken under use.
4.Remove the oil drain plug –
After uncapping the oil filler cap, the engine oil has the tendency to freely fall down. For avoiding such a spillage of oil, place an oil pan or collector beneath the motorcycle’s engine. For removing the drain plug present on the oil pan’s underside, you can use a socket wrench. Just be careful while carrying out this job, as the engine oil may be hot enough to burn your hands on spilling out. Also, if you wish to dispose off the used oil, be sure to do it at properly isolated waste disposal place, as it is harmful to dump out the engine oil in an open environment.
5.Remove and replace the crush washer –
Basically, the crush washer is a disc shaped component made up of copper or aluminium, which has the tendency to deform its shape under the application of high pressure, which helps in sealing the oil drain plug. After every oil change, it is desirable to change and replace the crush washer with a new unit, after separating from the drain plug.
6.Clean the oil drain plug –
In order to pull the metal pieces shed by the moving engine components towards itself, the tip of the oil drain plug is basically magnetic in nature. Such smaller metal particles have the tendency to stick on the drain plug’s outer edge, so to remove them, the oil drain plug needs to be cleaned too, by a clean piece of cloth. The larger metal pieces, though, can be detected in the engine breakdown conditions.
7.Remove the oil filter –
When you observe that the engine lubricant oil is draining out in the oil pan, meanwhile, you can unscrew the oil filter with the help of the removal tools. When you pull out the oil filter off, ensure that the rubber band/seal on the tip of the oil filter, which is known as O-ring, comes out along with the filter.
8.Remove and clean the plastic mesh filter –
The smaller metal contaminants may be wiped out by the cloth pieces, but in case of larger contaminants, you need to unscrew the plastic mesh filter which is present in the side of the case of engine. All you need to do then is – first, clean the plastic mesh filter totally, using a clean piece of cloth, and then, blow away the minute particles with the help of compressed air.
9.Place the new oil filter:-
To keep the oil filter in its place properly, each new oil filter has an O-ring attached on top of it. For its proper functioning, be ensured that the O-ring is tightly fitted on the filter and then, spread a very thin layer of engine lubricant oil, so that the filter may not be out of place. Then, with the help of your hands, fit this new oil filter back into the engine case carefully, to avoid any damage to the O-ring.
10.Change the motorcycle oil –
It may take several minutes for the older engine oil to completely drain out, but once it is done, clean the drain hole and mesh filter hole, using a clean piece of cloth. After this, the oil drain plug as well as the mesh filter, are required to be screwed back in their original position. After checking all the openings closed, fill the engine oil through the oil filler hole, using a funnel. Be sure to fill the engine oil as per the recommended amount and standards given in the owner’s manual. After filling the engine oil, close the oil filler cap back, start your motorcycle and keep the engine running at idle for around 1-2 minutes.