Depending on the dirt bike you’re riding, the interval between oil changes can range from 4 to 6 hours all the way up to 20 hours or more. This interval depends on your bike, the conditions you’re riding in, and the age of your dirt bike.
Determining how often you should change the oil on your dirt bike can typically be found in the owner’s manual. The maintenance manual will also include this helpful information.
How Often Should You Change the Oil On Your Dirt Bike?
The type of rider you are is probably the most significant role with how strict you need to be with the maintenance schedule. If you’re riding hard in rough conditions you’ll need to change the transmission and engine oil as often as recommended.
Riders that take it easy on well-groomed trails and light gravel roads can extend the time between these intervals. However, it’s still a good idea to follow the recommendations in the maintenance schedule to avoid any issues.
There’s even cases of riders changing their dirt bike oil after every ride. While this isn’t a bad idea, it’s not necessary at all.
Keep in mind that the more often you change your oil, the less you need to change your filter. Follow the maintenance schedule for filter changes, but feel free to change anytime between this interval.
How to Inspect Oil and Add Oil
Knowing how to check the oil on a dirt bike is something all riders need to learn. This is a basic part of dirt bike maintenance and it’s important that you perform it on your own.
After checking and adding oil a few times, it will become something you’re comfortable with. Once you get the experience it should only take a few minutes to go through the whole process.
Here’s how to inspect and add oil on a dirt bike:
- Start your dirt bike and let it idle for 3-5 minutes
- Turn the back off and let it sit for 3-5 minutes
- Using the kickstand or dirt back stand, ensure the bike is standing upright and level with the ground
- Remove the oil fill cap. This is also the dipstick. Wipe the dipstick clean using a paper towel or microfiber cloth
- Reinsert the dipstick without screwing it in. Let it sit for a few moments. Remove the dipstick and check the oil level
– If the oil is at or above the upper level, it’s not necessary to add oil
– If the oil is at or below the lower level, add additional oil
- Screw in the oil fill cap and check that it’s properly installed.
At this point you’re almost finished with the oil change. Repeat steps 1 through 6 one more time and you’re done.
Inspect the O-ring and check that it’s not damaged, cracked, or broken. Replace the O-ring if necessary.
At this point you should have a better idea how to change the oil on a dirt bike. Going through the steps, you can see that it’s a simple process.
It might take you some time the first time you do it. Eventually, you’ll be comfortable enough with dirt bike oil changes that it will only take you 15 to 30 minutes.
It’s important that you learn to regularly inspect your oil. This makes it easy for you to check oil levels and ensure that you’re not burning oil or running low.
How to Change the Oil on a Dirt Bike
Along with inspecting and adding oil, you’ll also have to regularly perform dirt bike oil changes. This is where you change the oil and, if required, install a new oil filter.
Don’t forget to follow the maintenance schedule for your dirt bike to stay on top of oil change intervals. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Start your dirt bike and let it idle for 3-5 minutes
- Turn off the bike and stand it up so it’s level using a center stand or dirt bike stand
- Remove the oil fill cap
- Place an oil drain pan under the drain hole below the engine
- Remove the oil drain bolt and sealing washer
- Hold the kill switch in the off position. Kick the bike over a few times to completely drain the oil
- Apply some oil to the drain bolt threads and sealing washer then reinstall them
- Remove the oil filter engine guard and remove the oil filter cover
- Remove the oil filter itself along with the O-ring and spring
- Apply grease to the end of the spring, on the filter side, and put the spring in the new filter
- Place the spring against the engine and, with the Rubber seal facing out, install the new filter. There should be a side that’s marked “out side”
- Add a touch of oil to the O-ring and install the oil filter cover and engine guard using a torque wrench
- Add the appropriate amount of oil to the crankcase. This information can be found in your owner’s manual or maintenance manual. Make sure you’re using the proper type of oil
- Install the oil fill cap
- Check the oil level by following steps 1-6 in the above section
- Pro tip – Properly dispose of your oil using a suitable container. Never empty the engine oil onto the ground or dispose of it in an irresponsible manner.
What Oil Does a 4-Stroke Need?
When choosing which oil to use there are a few things to consider. The most important factors are the API classification and the viscosity.
Viscosity – This is the thickness of the engine oil required for proper lubrication depending on the weather. SAE 10W-30 is best suited for colder weather. SAE 10W-40 is best suited for warmer weather.
API Classification – Look for a classification of SG or higher, except for oils labelled as “energy conserving” or “resource conserving” on the label. The 4-stroke engine oils rated equal in performance to SJ are the oils recommended for most dirt bikes.
The “S” rating may seem complicated. Once you get the idea of how the rating works, it becomes a simple rating method for finding the right oil.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to stick with name-brand, dirt bike oils.
What Oil Does a 2-Stroke Need?
As always, refer to the owner’s manual or maintenance manual for your dirt bike. This will give you the best idea of the oil that your 2-stroke needs.
If you’re having trouble finding the right type, look online at forums and YouTube videos. People online will also be able to let you know what kind of oil you should be using for your 2-stroke.
What Happens to a Dirt Bike Engine Without Oil?
Running your dirt bike engine without oil is a terrible idea. It’ll run for a little while but then quickly destroy itself.
Oil is what’s used to lubricate all of the metal components in the engine. Without proper lubrication, these metal components rub against each other at high speeds and with growing temperatures.
This causes an immense amount of premature wear and heat. Eventually, the engine was seized and it’s likely for it to become permanently damaged.
This would definitely lead to an expensive repair. Many of the important engine components will need to be replaced. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay on top of inspecting the engine oil and replacing it regularly.
Take a look at this short video showing what happens to an engine without oil:
Is It Important to Keep Up With Dirt Bike Oil Changes?
Yes, it’s incredibly important to regularly change the engine oil and oil filter on your dirt bike. Always follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual or maintenance manual for the best oil change intervals.
Engine oil breaks down and wears out over time. It slowly loses its effectiveness at properly lubricating the engine components.
It’s not worth taking the risk of using old, dirty oil for longer than you need to. Changing the oil regularly will extend the life span of your dirt bike and help it to perform better.
Don’t forget to regularly clean the air filter as well. This helps to get rid of dirt, unwanted deposits, and keeps the bike running in prime shape.
Although it may seem like an expensive and difficult part of maintenance at first, it’s essential for enjoying a quality riding experience. Taking the time for oil changes definitely beats rebuilding the motor or paying for other expensive maintenance fixes.