Engine oil and what does it do?
The main purpose of engine oil is to lubricate all moving parts and keeps them running smoothly and reduces friction that results in better performance, power and reduces fuel consumption. Engine oil loses its viscosity and degrades over time as it also traps dirt and helps in cooling internal engine parts.
Today’s liquid cooled engines still require engine oil to cool parts such as the crankshaft, valves, cams and around the pistons where the coolant that’s flowing through the cavities can’t reach. What breaks oil is heat. This is when it loses viscosity which doesnt let it do what it’s supposed to do as a function, this is why engine oil needs to be changed regularly.
So why do we need the right thickness or viscosity of oil in an engine? An internal combustion engine is a four stroke engine that has powerful combustions at high compressions that move the piston up and down many times. The movement of the pistons move other parts in the engine and to reduce the wear of these harsh movements requires a thin film of oil between surfaces that will keep these parts from not touching each other and damaging the surfaces. When two surfaces don’t move over each other smoothly there is an excess of heat produced that will degrade the viscosity of oil eventually leading to parts and or engine seizures and failures.
I see an oil filter, what’s that for?
The internals of an engine that are constantly in motion due to which smaller particles of metal can be seen. These parts are moved away from critical parts by engine oil and the purpose of the oil filter is to catch it from circulating and causing damage. If you did not have an oil filter all the contaminants and tiny metal shavings would be seen at the bottom of the oil pan and to clean that would be to change engine oil every 1000-2000kms.
When you see oil filters in modern motorcycles they have become smaller and so has the capacity of it holding all these contaminants. If you don’t change your oil and oil filter regularly an oil filter would be clogged and can reduce the flow of oil and let go of its filtering capacity.
When do I change my oil and oil filter?
We get this question asked a lot and our simple answer is to refer to your motorcycle specific owner’s manual. The frequency of oil change can be dependent on the way you ride and the conditions also. Driving in areas with a lot of dust, heat, traffic or the strain on the engine in mountainous regions would need you to follow an accelerated scheduled maintenance.
A step by step instruction on how to change engine oil
- Run the engine until it is up to operating temperature. Shut it off.
- Keep the bike upright on a main stand
- Place a drain pan underneath the engine.
- On engines with an engine bash plate, remove it now.
- Undo the oil drain plug & drain washer and allow the oil to drain.
- Wipe the plug and plug hole clean, then reinstall and tighten to specification.
- On engines with an oil filter canister, remove it now with a filter wrench or by hand and drain remaining oil.
- Fill the new filter with clean oil, and wipe some on the gasket.
- Install new filter and tighten it by hand or to torque specs as per manual
- Open the oil cap and fill the engine with fresh oil.
- Start the engine for a few minutes then shut it off.
- Wait a few minutes, then check the oil level on your engine side glass. Top off as needed.
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