Like all other motors, dirt bikes need constant servicing to maintain the engine and for an overall excellent performance.
Servicing also ensures the safety of the rider as the bike is in perfect working condition when serviced.
A dirt bike servicing involves the inspection of the throttle, exhaust, battery, tire, coolant, brake and clutch fluids, wheel bearing, brake pads, and valves.
Extensive servicing involves throttle body and carburetor adjustment and changing of engine oil, spark plug, and air and oil filters.
This article discusses the frequency of changing the oil based on three aspects;
- Under what circumstances is oil changed
- Importance of changing the oil regularly
- Implications of not changing the oil frequently.
How Often Should You Change Your Engine Oil?
The standard rate at which engine oil should be changed is after every 3500 miles, but the frequency varies depending on three factors;
- Type of engine oil
- Type of engine
- Consistency of use
There are three types of engine oil, and each oil has the average limit to the frequency of its replacement;
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Mineral-based oil – a lubricant that is made from crude oil. It has properties that enable lubrication even during hot climatic conditions.
This engine oil should be changed at least every 2000 miles, but if you barely use your bike, it should be twice a year.
Semi-synthetic engine oil – comprises of blended oils and at least 30% of synthetic oil.
When using this type of oil, you should consider replacing it after reaching an average of between 5000- 6000 miles depending on the frequency of use.
Fully synthetic engine oil – synthetic oil goes through a purification process to remove impurities hence refined.
They because fewer frictions compared to other oils and last longer. For this type of engine oil, you can change the oil after reaching a minimum of 7000 miles and a maximum of 10,000 miles.
However, if the use of your bike is on a day-to-day basis, you should consider changing the engine oil more frequently in spite of the type of engine oil you are using.
The primary purpose of engine oil is to lubricate the engine. When the engine is worked more regularly, the engine oil is overworked.
It degenerates, thereby losing its efficiency sooner than engine oils of in the motors of riders who barely use their bikes.
The type of rider or riding method can also be a determinant of the frequency of engine oil change.
For instance, a rough rider who drives at very high speeds the only brake at the corners needs to change the engine oil more frequently.
This is because such riding causes overheating of the engine.
Therefore’ the engine oil is worked up and tends to lose its effectiveness more rapidly.
Most dirt bikes manufacturers recommend an engine oil change every 15 hours of continuous riding, but it is necessary to inspect the engine level at least every 2- 3 hrs.
There are two types of engines on dirt bikes; two-stroke and four-stroke engines.
Two-stroke engines: in these types of motors, it is necessary to change the oil after every 5 hours of riding.
Four-stroke engines: these require an engine oil change every 10 hours of riding.
When is it necessary to change your engine oil?
When the mileage limits are reached, every bike and type of engine oil has a mileage limit for changing the engine oil.
It is essential to consult your dirt bike owner’s manual to confirm at what mileage you should change your bike’s engine oil.
Inspect to See If the Oil is Dirty
Contaminated engine oil is dark and gritty.
If there is a color change, from light brown to black and can feel some particles in the oil, it means that the oil is dirty and needs to be changed.
When the engine makes louder noises of rubbing metal, it is evident that there is friction in the engine, and the engine oil has lost its effectiveness and needs to be changed immediately.
Sometimes the motor could be running low on engine oil, causing friction, and the oil needs to be refilled.
There are sensors in modern bikes to detect problems in the engine.
Once you see a flashing light on the dashboard, it is necessary to inspect your engine for oil levels and purity.
Decreasing Oil Levels
Sometimes you may decide to top up the oil once it’s below the minimum oil level but notice that it keeps falling over short periods.
This happens due to the presence of old oil, which has lost its viscosity, making lubrication difficult, leading to a high oil consumption rate.
You should, therefore, consider changing your engine oil.
Why Is It Necessary to Change Your Dirt Bike’s Engine Oil Regularly?
- Fresh engine oil acts as a cleaning tool to remove build-up dirt.
- Improve engine performance
- Prevent friction in the engine due to overheating.
- To prevent oil sludge, which causes the engine oil to be inefficient.
- To replace the burnt-out oil
- To help identify issues in the engine such as oil leakages.
- Improve bike efficiency by reducing fuel consumption.
- To avoid unnecessary damages to the engine, such as wearing out.
- Reduce exhaust emissions.
Do I Need to Change the Oil Filter as Often as Engine Oil?
An oil filter traps dirt particles in the oil. Over time, the dirt accumulates in the oil filter and reduces efficiency and can no longer trap dirt, thereby contaminating the oil.
Failing to change the oil filter when changing the engine oil automatically contaminates the fresh oil with accumulated sludge and earth as is passes through the air filter.
It is therefore advisable to change the oil filter together with the engine oil.
Changing your bike’s engine oil regularly is an essential aspect of maintaining the engine and enhancing your bike’s performance.
It is important to note that changing engine oil is not the same as refilling it.
Changing refers to removing old engine oil and pouring in fresh engine oil while refilling means topping up to the small amount of remaining oil.