How to Change Harley-Davidson Oil
The ideal way to make sure your motorcycle is protected from wear and deposits is to use the best motorcycle oil available and maintain it regularly according to recommendations. Operating under extreme conditions in the summer can lead to breakdown of oils. Performing a Harley-Davidson oil change includes the following. We’re using a 2014 Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy Lo with a 103-ci engine for this example.
Here’s What You Need to Change Oil on a Harley-Davidson
- Oil-drain pan
- 5/8-inch socket
- 5-inch extension
- Torque wrench
- Filter wrench
- Oil filter
- Motorcycle oil (20W-50, in this case)
Tip: We recommend starting and letting your engine run for a while before completing this process. This will allow the oil to heat up so it flows smoothly when the time comes to drain.
The oil reservoir is located underneath the seat on Softail models, so look below/a bit behind the seat and under the frame to locate the oil drain plug.
Use the 5/8” socket and ratchet to remove the drain plug. As soon as it’s loosened, use your hand to finish removing the plug to avoid it falling in the oil pan, and take the oil reservoir cap off to increase the flow of oil.
Make sure the motorcycle is vertical. Put your bike in a vertical position to fully drain the oil. If you’re on a lift, this will work well. However, if you’re using a kickstand, be sure to straighten the bike to an upright position to make sure the oil has all been removed.
The next step is to take the oil filter out. Use rags or the oil pan under the filter to catch drips. In order to loosen the filter, use the ratchet, filter wrench and 5/8” extension. As soon as you’re done removing the loosened filter by hand, promptly place it into your oil pan. Use shop towels to clean any remaining oil that could have spilled from the loosened filter.
Next, you will put a thin film of oil on the gasket in the new filter. Be careful not to add too much—you just want enough to make sure the filter will seal when you put it back on.
Thread the filter onto the engine until the gasket has been installed tightly. Once the gasket is firmly in place, complete another ½ to ¾ of a full turn to secure it.
Clean the drain plug of leftover debris, install the new O-ring and thread it back in the engine. Fasten it firmly and then use a torque wrench to finish installing it. Your torque wrench setting should be 14–21 foot-pounds of torque.
Add The Motorcycle Oil
Finally, after your extensive preparation, it’s time to add the oil. For this example, the Softail requires three quarts of oil, but begin with just 2.5 quarts—it’s important to not overfill the reservoir.
The next step is to take your bike for a ride to bring the engine up to operating temperature. Check the level of the oil and top it off when it becomes necessary. Be sure to check your oil level while the oil is hot and your bike is on the kickstand.
Once you’ve topped it off, check it again with the dipstick.
That is the process of a Harley-Davidson oil change. Please consult your owner’s manual for viscosity or oil capacity information. You can also reference the official AMSOIL Product Guide.