How Do You Check A Motorcycle’s Oil Level? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-02-2016, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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How Do You Check A Motorcycle’s Oil Level?

Modern motorcycles are incredibly reliable, but they still require you to check a few things in order to keep them running at full potential. The engine oil is one of those items you should never neglect. After all, you don’t want to run your high-revving, manufactured-to-aerospace-tolerances, and extremely-expensive-to-replace engine without the proper lubricant, do you? Additionally, an engine’s oil can reveal a good bit of information about the condition of its internals to even a novice mechanic armed with a little information.

To actually check an engine’s oil level, take a look at its owner’s manual. Seriously, it’ll outline the specifics that the manufacturer recommends – and they do vary slightly from bike-to-bike. Still, the steps do follow a rough pattern.

Make sure the engine is warmed to operating temperature. After turning it off, allow the oil to drain down from the top end by waiting a few minutes. Bikes with a sight glass require that you hold the bike level – either from the saddle or beside the bike – look at the window conveniently located on the bottom of the engine to make sure the oil level is between the two marks on the case. (Tip: If your bike has both a centerstand and a sight glass, measure it the above way and then compare it to the level shown while on the centerstand. This way you can use that level as reference so can check the oil level when it’s parked on the centerstand in your garage.)

For engines with a dipstick, check your owner’s manual to make certain how the stick is to be inserted for an accurate reading. Usually, you will wipe the stick and insert it into the case until it makes contact with the filler plug’s threads. Be sure the plug is straight and the bike is level or you may get an inaccurate reading.

If you ride your bike regularly, you should check its oil at least weekly. If you ride infrequently, consider checking before every ride. With regular checks, you are more likely to notice symptoms of little problems before they get bigger.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-27-2016, 07:27 PM
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Great thread!

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-28-2016, 12:30 PM
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Just disagree with one thing. Milky oil does not always mean that you have a coolant leak. I haven't seen it on the Voyager, but on my Sabre, sometimes in cooler weather, moisture from the air would condense in the oil when the bike cooled down. Run for a few minutes to get the oil warm to check and it was milky. Run long enough for the moisture to boil off, and the oil was clear. Only happened when the humidity was quite high, but the temps were not more than a few degrees below freezing up to maybe 40°. I was concerned the first time I saw it, but found out that it is not that unusual for Sabres and other bikes.

If it is milky and does not go away or gets worse when the engine has run long enough to get rid of a little moisture, then it is probably coolant.

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