Checking motorcycle oil regularly is essential. Follow these simple guidelines to check the level and condition of your engine oil using the dipstick.
Checking motorcycle oil with a dipstick
As with checking oil through an inspection window, start by parking your bike on level ground, on a centerstand or paddock stand and waiting for the engine to cool and for all oil to drain back into the sump.
You will find the dipstick low down on one side of the engine. Unscrew it counter-clockwise by hand, and wipe it on a rag or paper towel. Then place it back into the dipstick hole until it is resting on the thread - you don't want to screw it back in at this stage.
Then carefully withdraw the dipstick again to check the level. You should see a lower and a higher mark on the dipstick, sometimes with a cross-hatched area in between.
The oil level should be somewhere between these two marks. However, if it is below the lower line or above the higher line, you need to either top off or drain off some oil.
Assuming that the level looks OK, you should also take this opportunity to assess the condition of the oil. It should be green or yellow, glossy and semi-transparent.
However, if the oil is black or dark brown, the oil has been burnt and broken down, which means you need an immediate engine oil change. You should also check for the presence of any thick sludge.
In extreme cases, you may even see particles of metal in the oil, which can indicate engine wear, or the oil may have a milky quality, which can indicate that coolant is getting into the oil. In either of these last two cases, you should consult with a mechanic as soon as possible to determine if your engine has a serious problem.
Before replacing the dipstick, it's a good idea to smear a small amount of oil onto the seal, and to take care to avoid cross-threading the screw when you replace it. So if you encounter any resistance when screwing the dipstick back in, always back it off and try again until you're sure the threads are properly aligned.
It's very important to check the level and quality of motorcycle engine oil on a regular basis. The good news is that this is an easy task, whether your motorcycle has an oil inspection window or a dipstick. There are just a few easy rules that you need to follow.
Most modern bikes have a glass inspection window to let you see the level and the condition of your motorcycle engine oil without getting your hands dirty. You may have to get close to the ground to use this properly, but oil checks like these are easy to get right by following a few simple rules.
Most bikes burn off a little engine oil, and it's important to check the level and condition of motorcycle engine oil regularly. It's also essential to maintain the right level of engine oil by topping off with the correct grade of motorcycle oil whenever your inspection window or dipstick check says your oil level is low.
Pretty much the best thing you can do for your bike is to change its engine oil regularly, especially as your gears will generally share the same oil supply. The good news is that it's pretty easy to change you motorcycle engine oil, with just a few simple tools and few easy rules, as we explain here.
How often to check motorcycle engine oil? Our answer will always be to check it as often as possible. That's because even the best motorcycle oil won't protect your engine if the level gets too low, and even if your bike doesn't usually burn much oil, a few hot days and hard rides can burn off more oil than you might expect.
Motorcycle brake fluid, or motorcycle brake oil as it's also known, is a highly engineered fluid that has the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and look after the entire brake system. It's vital to check the level of your brake fluid regularly, and to follow our simple guide to topping off whenever necessary.
While many motorcycles have one sump that lubricates the engine and transmission, some classics have a 'pre-unit' construction that means they need separate gear oil. The good news is that it's fairly easy to do this job at home by following our simple, step-by-step guide to changing motorcycle transmission oil.