How Often To Change Oil in Motorcycle? An Overview

Fill oil to the engine after driving motorcycle

Many riders often stay confused about the right timing of changing their motorcycle oil. But at the same time, they know that replacing the motorcycle oil is one of the most essential maintenance tasks that they can perform on their motorcycle.

How often to change the oil in a motorcycle for smooth-sailing performance?

Most manufacturers recommend changing oil every 8,000 miles or 12 months (whichever comes first) as an absolute maximum. However the exact length and frequency depend on the type of oil you use. For mineral-based oils, 2,000-3000 miles, for semi-synthetic oils 5,000 to 6,000 miles, and for synthetic oils 7000 to 10,000 miles.

If you want to maintain your bike for a longer time, choose the oil filter carefully. There are semi-synthetic motor oil, fully synthetic motor oil, mineral-based motor oil, and more. Change the motorcycle engine oil and use fresh oil as much as possible. Mineral oil is different from synthetic oils. Also, it is essential to maintain the oil level and keep a check for oil leaks. Your oil change interval determines the health of the bike engine.

The motorcycle oil is responsible for several functions of the motorcycle and therefore, if it is not changed at certain intervals, the consequence can be pretty damaging for the bike’s engine and transmission.

In this guide, we are providing you with a detailed answer on why motorcycle oil matters, what are the different types of motorcycle oils available in the market, when is the right time to change your motorcycle oil, how do you choose the best motorcycle oil for your bike, and what are the advantages of changing your motorcycle’s engine oil.

Why Motorcycle Oil Matters?

motorcycle oil meter

Motorcycle oil is one of the most essential components of your motorcycle. Regular change intervals are necessary to ensure that your engine and transmission keep their level of optimum performance

Motorcycle oil protects the engine against wear and tear and also helps to get rid of dirt, dust, and other harmful particles. All these elements can cause extensive damage to the delicate engine parts if not removed on a timely basis.

Engine oil also lubricates the different moving parts of the engine and protects it from the corrosion that could take place due to moisture. Most motorcycles use engine oil as an ‘engine coolant’ until and unless the bike is specifically designed as ‘liquid cooled’.

With time, the lubricant and protective nature of the engine oil erode as moisture and other elements accumulate to cause serious corrosion and damage. This is the reason why you should change your engine oil at regular intervals to maintain the engine’s optimum level of performance.

What are the Different Types of Engine Oils?

There are three different types of engine oils available for motorcycles –

  1. Mineral-based
  2. Fully Synthetic
  3. Semi-synthetic

1. Mineral-based engine oil

Mineral-based engine oil is made up of natural base stocks and additives. It is the most affordable oil type and is perfect for riders who do not ride their motorcycles on a regular basis.

These oils are basically petroleum products made from refining crude oil. As a result, they contain some contaminants, and therefore, they break down quicker and require more frequent maintenance than the two other types of oils.

2. Fully Synthetic engine oil

Fully synthetic engine oil, as the name suggests, is completely man-made. It is more expensive than the mineral-based oil but lasts longer and offers better performance than the other two types of oils.

These oils are chemically produced as modified petroleum products rather than being derived from natural crude oil.

3. Semi-synthetic engine oil

Semi-synthetic engine oil is a mix of synthetic and mineral-based oils. It is less expensive than fully synthetic oil but does not offer as good performance as the latter one.

As a hybrid between fully synthetic and mineral-based oil, these oils offer the protection of fully-synthetic oils at an affordable price of mineral-based oils.

When Should You Change Your Motorcycle Oil?

motorcycle oil

The frequency at which you should change your motorcycle oil depends on how often you ride your bike, the type of engine oil you are using, and how severe your riding conditions are.

If you are unsure about anything, then you always have the bike’s user manual to fall back to. The manual will contain all the information regarding the type of oil you should use and also about the recommended interval needed to change the oil.

However, we are listing below the general thumb rule:

If you ride your bike on a regular basis, then you should change the engine oil every 6 months or at least 8,000 miles.

If you ride your bike occasionally or if it is used for short distances only, then the oil in the engine should be changed at least once a year.

If you are using mineral-based oils, then the recommended interval is between 2,000 and 3,000 miles. But in the case of mineral-based oils, experts and experienced riders recommend you to change your engine oil at least twice a year.

Fully synthetic oils should be replaced at least once a year or after every 7,000 to 10,000 miles. In the case of semi-synthetic oils, the recommended interval is 5,000 to 6,000 miles or at least once a year.

Now, if you use your bike quite less, then you need to change motorcycle oil in the engine at more regular intervals because when a bike idles, the engine accumulates more and more moisture. If you do not even ride your bike for at least 30 minutes regularly, we recommend you change your oil at an interval of 4 months in a year.

How Do You Choose the Best Motorcycle Oil?

When it comes to choosing the best motorcycle oil for your bike, it is important that you consider a few factors –

  • The climate in which you live
  • The type of motorcycle you have
  • The kind of riding you do

The engine oil’s compatibility with your bike

You also need to make sure that the oil is certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API), which is a nonprofit trade association of the oil and natural gas industry.

API certifies different types of engine oils after rigorous laboratory and field tests to ensure that they meet the latest quality standards.

However, to negate any confusion or doubt refer to your motorcycle’s manual for it has all the information regarding the type of oil you should use and also the interval in which you should change your oil.

What are the Advantages of Changing Your Motorcycle’s Engine Oil?

There are several advantages of changing your motorcycle’s engine oil regularly –

  • It protects your engine from wear and tear
  • It prevents corrosion and rusting of the engine parts
  • It maintains the optimum level of performance of your motorcycle
  • It helps in the smooth functioning of your engine
  • It keeps your bike’s parts lubricated and cooled
  • It also prevents the accumulation of dirt, dust, and other harmful particles in your engine

In short, motorcycle oil change on a regular basis helps you maintain your bike in optimum condition while ensuring that it delivers good performance. It is definitely an investment worth making!


The bottom line is how often you should change your motorcycle oil depends on how much you use it. However, the only time when you should consider changing your engine oil immediately is when there is water leakage in the engine case or if it smells like burnt plastic.

If these symptoms are visible after some time then it means that your bike’s engine has already started to corrode and rusting of its parts has begun. This can cause serious damage to the internal engine components of the bike if they aren’t taken care of quickly.

Otherwise, follow the recommended intervals suggested in this guide to keep the performance of your bike at its optimum level.

Happy Riding!

About The Author

daniel and sarah on motorcycle

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