How Often do Motorcycles Need an Oil Change?

How Often do Motorcycles Need an Oil Change?

Written by Pierce Bryant
March 20, 2023

How often should you change your motorcycle oil has been one of the most popular questions for any motorcycle owner. While there is no single straightforward answer to this question due to the many different motorcycles and types of oil, there is one thing that we can be certain of. This is that replacing the oil in your motorcycle is one of the most important factors when maintaining your bike. Not doing so can lead to many drastic issues, such as transmission and engine damage.

The frequency of oil changes that you may have depend on your motorcycle’s make, model, and year, along with the type of oil that you use and how often you use your motorcycle. If this has your head for a spin already, you can just play it safe and change it at least once a year or so, but if you really want to know the exact time, we’ll help you figure it out.

First, let’s discuss the different types of motorcycle oil. There is mineral, synthetic, and semi-synthetic. Mineral oil, which is made from refined crude oil, is the least expensive option, however it does require more frequent replacement. It should be replaced about every 2,000 to 3,000 miles or a minimum of twice a year. Synthetic oil, which is created for the best engine lubrication, is the most expensive option, however, it only needs to be changed every 7,000 to 10,000 miles, or once a year. If you happen to not be a fan of mineral oil, but synthetic oil is a bit too expensive, there is always the option of semi-synthetic oil, which is a mixture between five and thirty percent synthetic and mineral. The semi synthetic oil should be replaced once a year as well, or every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

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However, it is always a good idea to check your motorcycle’s user manual which should tell you which type of oil is recommended by your motorcycle manufacturer. Along with this, you manual may even give you an idea of when it should be changed and the viscosity grade of the oil that is needed. 

Now if you have a motorcycle as a toy and just tend to take it out for joy rides you may be thinking, “Great! I barely need to change my motorcycle oil because I hardly ever put any miles on it”, but you could not be more wrong. Actually, if you are not using your bike as frequently or riding it for a long period of time, such as a thirty minute minimum, then you will actually have to replace your motorcycle oil much more often. This is due to your engine not being able to properly burn off moisture and move the oil around, which can have negative effects for your engine long-term. If you cannot ride your bike for a half an hour minimum at least once a week, especially in colder climates, you should change your oil once at least two to three times a year.  

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Another good rule of thumb to see whether or not you should change your oil is to just simply look at it. You may be able to tell if you are due for an oil change by glancing at your oil and taking into account whether or not it is dirty or if your oil level is low. 

The oil in your motorcycle is extremely important for your bike and for keeping it well maintained. The oil not only lubricates the engine, but also protects it from moisture and corrosion. The oil is also generally used as a coolant for your bike, unless it is stated otherwise. Due to all of this, making sure that you use the correct and best oil for your bike and change it frequently enough for your bikes needs will ensure that your motorcycle will stay in optimal condition for a long period of time. 

Rhino USA storeFAQ's

Can you use car oil on a motorcycle?

Motorcycles require a dedicated motorcycle oil, due to the fact that car oils contain anti-friction additives which can cause a motorcycle clutch slip up. We highly recommend never using a general car oil in your motorcycle. When buying oil for your motorcycle, the label and container will include the words "motorcycle oil" on the front.