Learn how to change dirt bike oil and let your bike work its magic
Oil is your bike’s lifeblood. And maintaining it without impurities and blockages keeps your bike going like clockwork. Learning how to change dirt bike oil yourself is a skill every rider should possess. It helps you get a clearer idea of the bike's interior architecture and learn to appreciate how components move more smoothly with new oil. Dirt bikes work their engines, brakes, clutch, gears, and throttle more aggressively, and no other bike type needs more attention to their mechanism than one that takes on a high-octane race track. Do you need more reason to learn oil changing like a pro?
Why is it important to change out the oil in your dirt bike?
As your engine revs up and your tyres skid on the dirt and splash water & mud, your bike’s engine oil and oil filter get dirty. Debris, dirt, and contaminants make oil lose its viscosity, resulting in a thick sludge. It lessens oil’s ability to dissipate heat, leading to engine stress.
The chief function of engine oil is lubricating the engine parts. When oil isn’t free-flowing, it can’t do its lubricating job properly. Engine oil also draws heat from engine parts, and as the oil gets thicker, heat absorption gets reduced, and the engine gets hotter. When the engine tries to keep up with heavier oil by working harder to reach the same speeds, it consumes more fuel as well. All of this leads to poor engine performance and damage.
How often do you need to change oil?
Consult your bike manual. It gives you a good ballpark figure. How much you use your bike also plays a part. Dirt bikes need oil changes regularly because they work much harder than other bikes. A 2-stroke engine would require an oil change after 5-10 hours of riding. A 4-stroke engine typically needs an oil change after 10-15 hours of riding. Racing increases oil change intervals. Sometimes after each race or every 2-3 races, depending on their intensity.
Things you will need
To remove old oil and refill a bike with new oil, you will need the following tools;
- A torque wrench
- An oil pan
- Latex Gloves
- Measuring cup
You will need the manufacturer-recommended oil and oil filter.
What type of oil is needed for your dirt bike?
The 3 types of engine bike oils - mineral, semi-synthetic, and fully synthetic differ from one another. Your bike model and type decide which one to use. Synthetic oil is more popular due to its molecular level that maintains its viscosity longer than conventional oil.
2-stroke engine oils come as injector-safe and pre-mix. Most 2-strokes require pre-mix oils. Consult the manual for the oil to petrol ratio. 4-stroke bikes use oils that have specific weights, such as 10w-40, 20w-50, and so on, that vary with the bike model. These are not mixed with petrol.
How much oil is needed by your bike?
The amount of oil your dirt bike engine needs is usually stamped on the side of the engine case near the oil fill hole. Check the owner’s manual if you do not see it. The average 2-stroke dirt bike will need about 600ml (milliliters is the same as cc). The average 4-stroke bike will need around 1000ml of oil per oil change.
Changing the oil
- Both 2-stroke and 4-stroke bikes need heat before you can drain the oil. So, get the bike running to warm up the oil. Warm oil has less viscosity, which helps it to drain faster and better.
- Before undoing the drain bolt, unscrew the fill plug for oil to flow more freely out of the engine or gear box. Place the oil pan beneath to collect the draining oil.
- Now, you should remove the oil filter. Using the wrench, remove the oil filter cap. Rolling the engine once more will push more oil out. Clean the oil filter cover and the inside compartment before replacing the old filter with a new one. Rub fresh oil around the filter lip to seal it. A reusable filter should be cleaned thoroughly with mild dishwashing liquid and dried well before re-inserting.
- Clean the drain bolt and screw it back in. Add fresh oil, measuring according to manufacturer guidelines. Use the funnel to minimise spillages. Replace the fill cap.
- Those 4-stroke models with two drain bolts for the two compartments carrying engine oil and transmission oil need changing both at the same time. An oil change on a 2-stroke is changing the transmission oil. The engine oil is a "Pre-Mix," an oil and gas mixture. This mixture provides lubrication but is burned away just like normal petrol.
Check the oil of your dirt bike regularly to make sure it’s not past its top-performing quality. Changing oil is a key part of dirt bike maintenance to ensure you are getting optimum engine performance with proper heat transfer, lubrication, and damage prevention. Buy the best petrol-powered dirt bikes and electric dirt bikes in the UK at Mini Bikes Off Road.