A dirt bike needs an oil change and other maintenance on a regular basis. In fact, it can save a lot of headaches and a great deal of expense if you take care of a few simple tasks on time. The oil change is definitely one of these tasks. It is a simple but necessary thing to do, and since most dirt bikes don’t have a sensor that tells you when to do it, you have to take initiative and know when to change it.
Typically, a dirt bike needs an oil change every three or five races. This is because the race puts a lot of strain on the engine and stresses the oil since it is revving at a high speed for long periods of time. If you aren’t racing, you should change the oil every few weeks just to be safe.
How to Change
Every bike is slightly different, however the process is the same. You should run the engine for a few minutes just to warm up the bike and loosen the oil. It will also help cycle it through the system. Next you need to find a socket wrench that fits on the oil drain nut. Usually it is 13 or 14 mm, but test a few sockets or consult your owner’s manual. Put a bucket under the drain pan bolt and then remove it. The oil will drain. Put the drain bolt back on, then remove the oil cover and pour the new oil in.
Some people will drain the oil again after filling the bike with new oil. This is to help remove some of the dirty oil that could be left in the machine. It is a good idea, but it does take a little extra time. Be sure to strain the oil or use a whole new batch of clean oil when you refill the bike.
First Oil Change
You should always change the oil in a dirt bike after the first few rides or “break in” of your bike. This is a good idea because new oil is vital to keeping the engine running. It just makes sense to replace the oil after the break in, because this is when you should also get a service check on the bike.
Changing Oil Filters
The other part of the oil change is to remove and replace the oil filters. On most bikes you need to remove the covers first. Then use a pair of pliers to pull the filters off. Just insert the pliers into the filter holes (if there are any) and remove them. It can be tricky so work them off slowly at first. Once removed you should clean out the dirty oil if any still remains, and refill them with a little bit of new oil before putting them back on.
How Much to Use
There should be a gauge to tell you when the oil pan is full. If your bike has a window that shows the oil level use this, as it is the best way to be accurate. If not, using a gauge or dipstick is another option. During an oil change all of the oil is removed, and while riding, some of the oil will be retained inside of the engine. So, to be more accurate, it is a good idea to fill the bike engine with oil, cap the tank and run the bike for a few minutes. Then recheck the oil level and fill again until it is at the right level.
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