Changing motor oil in a motorcycle is an essential maintenance item to keep an engine running smoothly and with longevity. An air-cooled V-Twin with an external oil sump is a very common engine on most Harley-Davidson models. Unlike most models with external oil tanks, some touring models have oil sumps built right into the engine block and can follow a similar procedure to change the oil.
Oil is viscous and that viscosity will break down over time. This breakdown in viscosity means that the lubrication is no longer doing its job to limit the friction between engine parts. When this happens, engine oil becomes thin and carries dirt particles. This is why engine oil must be changed from time to time.
Mineral or synthetic oil?
Engine oil comes in two forms: it can be mineral or synthetic. Synthetic oil tends to be more expensive, but does last longer. Refer to the manufacturer’s engine manual to determine what type of oil works best for your vehicle.
Most air-cooled engines use heavier weight oil. A common oil weight for Harley-Davidson V-twins is 20-50 weight. Straight weight oils do not shear to the thinner weight in colder temperatures and therefore may cause issues when operating a motorcycle in colder temperatures. Thicker oil cannot pass through oil passages because it is too thick.
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Changing your oil: step-by-step
Here are a few steps to change the oil in a Harley V-Twin motorcycle:
It’s that easy! Use this teach tip to change the engine oil on a Harley V-Twin motorcycle yourself and save a lot of money at the shop. Remember to always purchase good quality oil and filters so your motorcycle will operate smoothly for years to come!
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