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Being a responsible motorcycle owner means maintaining your bike. Not only does proper maintenance keep your motorcycle in tip-top shape, but it helps you avoid any unwanted issues in the future. An oil change is one of the most basic, but essential responsibilities. But how often should you change the oil in your motorcycle?

How often should you change the oil in your motorcycle?

The amount of times, or how often you change the oil in your motorcycle is not one-size-fits-all. In fact, according to Best Beginner Motorcycles, how often the oil needs to be changed in your motorcycle depends heavily on a variety of factors like:

  • Your motorcycle’s make, model, and year
  • The frequency in which you use your motorcycle
  • Which type of oil you use

Different times for different rides

According to Motorcycle Cruiser, the most general rule of thumb to follow for changing the oil in your motorcycle is that it should be done at least once a year. Even for motorcycles ridden minimally, tiny amounts of byproducts find their way into your oil when you ride. The more byproducts that get into your oil, the more corrosion and damage could be done. But as just a general rule, there are many factors that could affect this. So the proper oil-change interval could vary greatly by person and situation.

It may sound strange, but the less you use your bike, the bigger your risk for corrosion becomes. If you only use your motorcycle for shorter trips (less than 30 minutes), it does not have the proper time to heat up, lubricate, clean, and cool. Your motorcycle’s engine should get up to, and remain at, “operating temperature” for 30 minutes or more at least twice each month. For motorcyclists who exclusively ride shorter distances, the oil should be changed every four months, or three times per year.

There are generally three types of oil: mineral, semi-synthetic, and fully synthetic. The kind you use depends on the type of motorcycle you have. Using the proper oil is just as important as changing it at proper intervals. Ensure you always use the right oil for your motorcycle by checking your manual.

Motorcycles that use mineral-based oil should be changed at least every 2,000 miles, or at least twice a year. Semi-synthetic oil should be changed every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. Fully synthetic oil is best changed every 7,000 to 10,000 miles, according to Rips & Rides.

If you use your motorcycle regularly or for long distances, you may need to change your oil more frequently, regardless of the oil type it uses. It is important to check your oil quality and level regularly. If it appears dirty or you notice a performance difference, it’s time for an oil change.

When should a motorcycle filter be changed?

Though there is some debate about the frequency in which you should be changing your oil filter, it only makes sense to change it as often as you are changing your oil. You change the oil in your motorcycle to remove debris and prevent corrosion, so where does that debris end up?

Your filter is the last defense for protecting your engine from combustion by-products, so the cleaner your filter, the better it can do its job. Regardless of how often you change your oil, it’s recommended that the oil filter be swapped roughly every 2,000 to 3,000 to ensure it does its job properly.