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How to carry out an oil change on dirt bikes for better performance and upkeep

Like our bodies need liquid for hydration, dirt bikes need oil changes frequently to get them working in top condition. These bikes sweat out hours in mud, sand, and dirt. The oils provide much needed lubrication for components to move, rotate, and slide. It also ensures the components are not subjected to premature wear and tear. As oil ages, it breaks down due to contaminants and oxidisation and performs poorly. Learning how to change dirt bike oil is one of the steps to maintaining your bike’s performance.

How often do you need to change the oil of your dirt bike?

Your bike manual is your trustiest guide to decide oil change intervals for your bike model. However, the major deciding factor is the frequency of use. A 2-stroke engine typically requires oil changes every 5-10 hours. A 4-stroke engine can hold out for 10-15 hours of riding until the next oil change. Racing pushes your bike to the limit, and sometimes, oil changes are required per race or every 2-3 races. However, if you are only tackling trail riding or tough terrain during the weekend, the intervals will be longer.

How much oil do you need?

The amount of oil required by each engine differs according to the model of the bike. Take care not to overfill. Look for the oil capacity stamp or mark on the side of the engine case near the oil fill hole. Consult the manual as well to determine recommended capacity. A dipstick or a measuring cup is helpful in checking to see if the oil level is correctly filled. Some bikes have a ‘sight glass’ to show oil level. The average 2-stroke dirt bike needs about 600ml. The average 4-stroke needs about 1000ml of oil.

What type of oil is best suited for your bike?

The 3 types of engine oil generally available for dirt bikes are mineral, semi-synthetic, and fully synthetic. The type of bike and the model decide the necessary oil type. Make sure you are using the right oil by consulting the manual. Additionally, there are two main types of 2-stroke oil: injector-safe and pre-mix. Most 2-strokes require pre-mix oils. The manual mentions the oil to petrol ratio your bike needs. 4-stroke bikes use oils similar to those used by regular cars. They have specific weights, such as 10w-40, 20w-50, and so on, depending on the model of the bike. They are not mixed with petrol.

Can you change the oil by yourself?

Yes, it is a basic competency for an adult dirt bike rider. It is cost-effective, and you get to keep a watchful eye on the engine's condition.

What do you need to change oil?

You will need recommended oil, an oil filter, oil pan, funnel, wrenches, latex gloves, and rags.

Changing the oil

  • Run the engine to warm the oil. Warm engine oil flows better and drains better.
  • Place the oil pan underneath and remove the oil filter cap. Unscrew the drain bolt and let the oil pour out. Tilting the bike side to side helps get all the dreg out.
  • Remove the oil filter cover to take the filter out. Clean around the filter cover and inside the compartment the filter sits in. Replace with a new filter. Rubbing fresh oil around the filter lip helps seal it better. If you are using a reusable metal oil filter, it needs to be washed and dried thoroughly before putting it back in.
  • Clean the drain bolt and screw it back on. Using a torque wrench prevents you from over-tightening the bolts. Add fresh oil, making sure to measure according to manufacturer recommendation. Use a funnel to avoid spillage.
  • On a 2-stroke, it is technically a transmission oil change, which is a pre-mix of oil and petrol. Some 4-stroke models have two oil compartments, thus two drain bolts - one for engine oil and the other for transmission oil. You need to change them both at the same time.

Cleaning your air filter and changing other bike oils, such as gear oil and air filter oil, is also necessary to maintain maximum performance.

Learning to change the oil in your dirt bike makes you a rider in control of their machine. It helps you get to know your bike better and understand its components and faulty signs. Buy the newest, high-quality dirt bikes from Mini Bikes Off Road for the high-octane experience you dream of.

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