It is definitely no big deal to replace it early, but in this article I am going to share with you some facts about modern motorcycle oil that will positively demonstrate that it is more long-lasting than you imagined and help you save some bucks in that way, and also, hopefully, it will also answer the widely asked query “how frequently should you replace the motorcycle oil?” As you know how crucial the oil is then, it won’t be surprising for you to know that a few riders go overboard with the frequency of their oil change. Here are some crucial points to note about the frequency of your oil change:
Why we replace our oil?
- Breakdown of Oil
Every kind of oil breaks down with the passage of time, even though there are various reasons for the breakdown, the primary reason is the heat that is produced during the combustion activity.
- Contamination of Oil
There are three main reasons for the oil contamination, which are, the impurities that penetrate the air filter, the metal fragments or splinter that are produced as a result of the friction between metal parts within the engine, and the end product of the combustion activity that increases the acidity of the oil, eventually resulting in internal rusting and settlement of deposits in the engine.
All of these may leave you perplexed, but before you run off and replace the oil of your motorcycle in unwarranted dread, first listen to me as to why there is no reason to worry.
Modern Technology Ensures the Safety of the Engines
After reading the above points, it is quite natural for you to think that the oils may find it harder to withstand the debilitating factors, but you will be happy to know that the modern lubes have evolved considerably in terms of technology from the oils of the olden days. The current engine oils (both semi and full) are laboratory designed to such specifications that it can easily deal with the stresses that it has to endure. Here’s how the latest motorcycle oils guarantee the safety of our engines.
- Negligible Oil Breakdown
In contrast to the earlier, inexpensive petroleum-based oils, the modern synthetic oils don’t begin to break down immediately. This is possible due to the higher flash point of these synthetic oils in contrast to the mineral oils of the past, allowing them to endure higher temperatures, which in turn brings down its breakdown rate to a minimum.
Today’s synthetic engine oils can protect your motorcycle’s engine for thousands of miles (also on the track) before its performance or protection traits start to deteriorate. This is accomplished because they are not just purified like the mineral oils, but formulated in laboratories by considering particular specifications so that it is equipped to withstand all types of onslaught within the engine.
- Handling contamination
In reality, the best method to decrease oil contamination is to prevent the nastiest of the pollutants from making its way into the engine, and that’s when the air filter comes into the picture. A superior air filter can filter out most impurities from entering into the engine.
The air filter can definitely deal with the external contaminants, but as we saw in the earlier sections, the two major types of impurities are produced from within the engine. So how do we stop these contaminants from damaging the oil? The answer is we need not, but the oil can deal with it.
Small metal particles enter the oil as a result of the friction between the metal parts that happen when the engine runs. This friction was a much common occurrence with petroleum based mineral oils of yesteryear when the engines came to a start. Older oils quickly settled at the bottom of the engine chamber after it stops, which implied that such oils provided minimal protection to engines while being fired up again.
But synthetic oils of today are quite different and superior! They are designed in such a way that it places a thin layer of oil over the engine parts to safeguard them during start-ups. Moreover, this thin layer can stay on the engine parts for days or weeks at a stretch, which along with their superior lubrication traits imply that your engine will theoretically experience no friction between the metal parts within it if used on a regular basis.
The by-product of the engine combustion is the last impurity that needs to be taken care of. Your engine oil is already so overworked at dealing with impurities that for efficiently keeping these dirty impurities at bay, the engine oil desperately needs some help from the piston ring seals and the filtration system. Nicely tight piston ring seals and an efficient filtration system along with the oil can keep the entry of the combustion by-products to the minimum, so there are an absolutely negligible amount of impurities that the oil needs to take care of.
The synthetic oils undertake twin roles to aid this condition. Firstly, they promote tighter ring seals (thanks to their design), and secondly they have the ability to defuse the acidity in the combustion by-products and prevent them from damaging the engine. With the synergetic functioning of the ring seals and the oil, the entry of these nasty by-products can be restricted to the lowest.
The crucial part – Filters
Although the air filter, oil ring seals, and engine oil together do a great job at maintaining the levels of contaminant to the least, there will definitely be some level of the contaminant of some kind that has to be taken care of. Although the additives in the oil are efficient enough in keeping the debris suspended and stop them from coming into contact with the engine parts, they still have to be taken out, and that’s why the filtration system is vital.
The oil filter will hold on to the excess contaminants after they stream through it, diffusing them forever and stopping them from getting into the oil stream again, and returning near the engine.
Selecting the best filter – The topic of oil gradation is so vast and it can take several more pages to elaborate it, but all I can say is that the engine manufacturer of your bike will only recommend an oil filter that can efficiently deal with the suspended debris. So my recommendation of the best filter would be OEM filters, which offers a superior filtration system that can keep your engine safe from the nasty impurities.
So how frequently should I replace the oil?
Simply put, just refer to your motorcycle’s manual. The engine oil and filtration systems of today are explicitly designed and created to give the best protection and lubrication for your engine. The manufacturer should have definitely considered the three crucial factors such as suspended debris, break down of oil due to engine friction, and combustion activity before specifying the filter, so you can be sure that your engine will stay well-protected until the period mentioned in the manual.
Here I am assuming that you are using the best oil filter and oil. The more expensive the oil, the better will be its quality. Akin to expensive tires offering superior quality, superior engine oils will definitely ensure that your engine is well lubricated and protected. So always go for the best oils and oil filters on the market.
Can I replace the oil early?
Yes, of course, you can. I am not here to endorse early replacement of engine oil just by listing out the benefits of modern oil and oil filters in contrast to the primitive ones and that these extravagant laboratories produced oils are capable of protecting your engines.
However, in comparison to other motorcycle spare parts, oil filters and oil aren’t that pricey, so if you feel you will have peace of mind by changing it early, it’s absolutely fine to do that! Nevertheless, as the real condition of the oil can only be revealed through a test, it is definitely not a bad thing to go for an early replacement as a safety measure.
Moreover, if your engine is highly tuned, early engine oil replacement is highly recommended due to its excessive running speeds and the consequent heat generation.
I have purposely kept this article shorter by providing the least technical information than I could, else it would have gotten forty or more pages long to explain every minute characteristic in great detail. However, I think I have provided sufficient information to demonstrate that today’s engine oils offer a much superior protection to your engine and early replacements are not really required.
Hence, if you are still thinking how frequently you should replace your engine oil, I would recommend you go by the schedule indicated in your motorcycle’s manual, but it is also absolutely safe if you want to give yourself some leeway. Just ensure that you replace the oil at the specified intervals, as that’s all that actually counts.