Changing your oil, maintaining, and servicing your own bike.

Changing the oil in your bike can be intimidating, scary, and unnerving the first time you do it, but it can also save you cash for an extra couple tanks of gas.  Changing your oil is also just basic maintenance.  If you want to keep your motorbike going and take good care of your stuff, changing the oil is one of those things that must be done.

Changing your oil may sound simple enough, but even the so called “Experts” can botch it.  Different bikes take different processes, always consult your service manual for your make, model, and year.

So what are the benefits?

What is the difference between standard Dino oil and Synthetic?

The first step is Look in your owners or shop manual for the amount and type of oil your engine holds and take note.  Also purchase a new oil filter. Whenever changing oil it is always a good idea to change the oil filter as well.

Suzuki SV650 Kawasaki EX650
Filters K&N KN-138
K&N KN-303
Oil 3qts of 10w-40 2qts 10w-40 oil
Crush Washer M12
Drain Plug Size 14mm wrench or socket 17mm wrench or socket
Drain Plug Torque 22 ft lbs?? 22 ft lbs
Filter Torque 13 ft lbs?? 13 ft lbs
Oil Change Pages 2003 plus Suzuki SV650 Oil change procedure from the Service manual2003 plus Suzuki SV650 Oil change procedure from the Service manual Kawasaki ninja 650r ex650 Oil change procedure from the Service manualKawasaki ninja 650r ex650 Oil change procedure from the Service manual

After the supplies are back home and your ready to start. Get the engine warmed up. It’s best to drain the oil when the engine is good and warm, this makes the oil drain at faster rate. WARNING: Hot oil WILL burn you.  Take extra care not to get burned.

Next place a container to catch the oil under the oil drain plug of your engine. Make sure the container is big enough to hold all the oil.

I personally like to remove the oil filter before the drain plug, and while the filter is off, I will remove the drain plug. MAKE SURE YOU ARE TURNING IT THE CORRECT DIRECTION TO REMOVE IT. Since going in the wrong direction will over tighten it and can damage the plug and the more likely the soft aluminum case it is threaded into.

Look at the oil drain plug, once you have it out. Some of them have small magnets in them to catch any steel metal particles from the engine.  Some very fine shavings are normal,  but larger pieces tell you that something is seriously wrong.

When you reinstall the oil drain plug, look up the tightening torque in the shop manual and use a torque wrench. If you can’t find a torque for the oil filter drain bolt? Measure the bolt size and use Standard Bolt Torques.  Although some of these torques will change, due to the fact your tightening these into soft aluminum and will possibly have a reduced torque.  Its always best to double check the service manual.

Using the right torque on both the oil drain bolt and the oil filter bolt can be a lot more important than you may think. On some bikes, there simply is not enough metal around the hole to allow the use of a thread repair kit if the threads need to be repaired.

Dip your finger in some fresh oil and lubricate the rubber ring on the oil filter. Then thread it on until the rubber ring contacts the oil filter base on the engine, and then NO MORE than 3/4 turn more. Check your shop manual for the correct specifications.

Always use a torque wrench to tighten the drain bolts. The torque can be as low as 11 Ft. Lbs. to as high as 23 Ft. Lbs. of torque. Check your shop manual.

Replace the oil with the required type and amount. The tricky part is making sure you have enough oil, but not overfilling it. This process will take a while the first few times.

My process

  • I place an oil drain pan of the proper size under the oil plug and filter.
  • I loosen the oil drain plug, I don’t take it all the way out.
  • I then pull the oil filter off and place it in the drain pan
  • I then finish pulling the drain plug
  • I look over a few things while the oil is draining (I look for loose bolts, cables or hoses that may be getting worn through from vibration, cable adjustments, and other fluid levels)
  • I screw the filter on first and tighten it properly.
  • I then replace the drain bolt to the proper torque.
  • The correct amount and type of oil is then added to the engine.


Riding motorcycles and wrenching since my preteen years, I have moved from motocross to street bikes. Being a teen back in those days it was tough to get me off of the bike. Now days even though I am very busy being a dad I still have my weekends and go to the track to race and on occasion will do a track day or two.

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