How often should I change the oil in a motorcycle? Detail Guide

Man putting engine oil in a motorcycle engine
Man putting engine oil in a motorcycle engine (Image courtesy:

Engine oil plays the most important role in keeping your motorcycle engine healthy and its performance maintained. Thus, it becomes important to keep your engine oil changed in a certain period of time to keep your motorcycle engine clean, and in perfect working.

So, How often should you change the oil in a motorcycle? Motorcycles that use mineral oil should be changed at every 3,000 miles or at least twice a year. While Semi-synthetic oil should be changed every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. And Fully synthetic oils are premium quality oil, thus they last longer and should be changed every 7,000 to 10,000 miles.

The time required to change the engine oil depends totally on the types and standards of engine oil.

We’ll now go deeper to understand the type of engine oils and see their durability to serve the engine its purpose.

Types of Engine Oil

Motorcycle Engine oil
Motorcycle Engine oil (Image courtesy:

It is important to understand the type of engine oil you are using to know the exact time interval you will have to change it.

Mineral Oil/ Conventional oil

Mineral oil is the most basic engine oil type and is commonly recommended for smaller capacity (low CC) motorcycles. It is found naturally and goes through a refining process. It doesn’t have any additives, it is just a refined form of petroleum and serves the purpose in smaller CC engines. Its viscosity is thicker and is suitable for older motorcycles as well as new motorcycles. Most manufacture will recommend using mineral oil for the first time as it improves the life of the engine and provides better protection.

Also, mineral oils are available in a wide range of qualities, even though it is an affordable option for most of us than the other two oil types.

Mineral oil is best suited for low CC motorcycle engines and places where the temperature is static. It means an environment where the temperature doesn’t go too extreme or too low. 

Thus, if you are living in a static temperature country and have a low CC motorcycle (under 200cc) go with mineral oil.

It is a very Affordable engine oilIt’s doesn’t provide protection for a longer time
It serves its purpose in low CC engines motorcycleIt needs to be changed frequently at a certain distance or time
Table containing pros and cons of mineral oil

Semi-Synthetic / Synthetic blend Oil

This engine oil is a mixture of both synthetic and mineral oil. The manufacturer has made semi-synthetic oil by choosing the little amount of synthetic oil (explained in the next section) and other portions of mineral oil.

Semi-synthetic engine oil is made to provide the best performance and protection by choosing the best oil from both worlds while keeping the price affordable.

It is wallet-friendly engine oil and still providing some of the features of fully synthetic oil and better protection than mineral/conventional oil.

If you have motorcycles above 250cc which have a high-reviving engine and provides a good amount of horsepower and torque. Then you should use semi-synthetic engine oil to retain its performance and durability.

Otherwise, for low CC motorcycles, you can rely on mineral oil, which will provide the best protection to it.

It provides better protection at a lower temperature.It is a less-refined version of synthetic oil.
Semi-synthetic oil is Good for motorcycles above 250cc.
It also comes at an affordable price.
Higher performance than conventional oil.
Table containing pros and cons of semi-synthetic engine oil

Synthetic Engine Oil

Fully synthetic oil is considered to be the best quality engine oil in this category. Synthetic oil is also mineral oil, but it goes through an extensive process that includes refining, distillation, and purification. After that each molecule to tailored and made to meet the requirement of a modern high-revving performance engine. 

Fully synthetic engine oil includes the least impurity than other engine oil. Because of going through the extensive process, it can provide performance in any temperature extreme (cold and hot).

The fully synthetic engine oil is highly recommended for performance-based high CC motorcycles. It helps the motorcycle to maintain performance while providing world-class protection in every temperature extreme.

Apart from this, the American Automobile Association (AAA) found out that engines with synthetic oils perform 47% better than mineral oil in a standardized test.

You need not worry about changing synthetic oil too frequently like conventional or semi-synthetic engine oil. Synthetic engine oil degrades at a very slower rate than the other two engine oil (mineral and semi-synthetic oil). Thus providing the best performance for a longer time.

Synthetic oil is more environmentally friendly because of fewer impurities than mineral oil. Resulting in less engine emission.It is more expensive than both mineral and semi-synthetic engine oil.
This offers better protection because of the higher viscosity index.
It is more resistant to oxidation and chemical degradation of the engine.
Synthetic oil doesn’t require frequent oil changes like mineral oil.
It provides high performance and better protection.
Gives optimized fuel consumption
Table containing pros and cons of full synthetic engine oil

Which Oil is good for your motorcycle?

It is recommended to stick with the engine oil recommended by your motorcycle manufacturer or your service manual.

Because all oil types are not suited for all engine types. Thus, you should read your automotive recommendation or check your manual for a better choice.

It will be a good choice to stick with your recommended engine oil by your automotive or manual recommendation.

Or, you can use our formula for your motorcycle engine.

If you ride a low CC motorcycle, scooter, mopeds, etc which are less than 250cc. You should go with mineral-based engine oil. As it will provide better performance at an affordable price.

If you own a motorcycle more than 250cc but less than 600cc. Then you should go with semi-synthetic engine oil (if you don’t ride in extreme conditions). Semi-synthetic engine oil will do its job. But, if you ride in extreme conditions and for long hours then you should burn some more money and go with fully synthetic engine oil.

Finally, if you ride a high displacement motorcycle more than a 600cc performance motorcycle. Then, you should go with fully synthetic engine oil. It is made to provide durability and better performance without changing the engine oil frequently.

The service manual will give you the exact intervals when you are supposed to change the oil.

How frequently should the engine oil of a motorcycle be changed?

It depends on certain factors which we will discuss here in detail. So, that you can better judge yourself, the frequency, and the need for an oil change.

To know the exact time to change the engine oil, you need to consider one question first:-

How much do you ride your motorcycle every day?

If you ride your motorcycle 20km per day, which is a month result in 600km. It is less of a damaging factor to the compared factor if you ride 300 or 400km per day.

If your ride consists of normal commuting like the first example then your engine oil should be changed as the manufacturer’s recommendation of 3000km.

But, if you belong to the latter one, then from my point of view you should change the engine oil prior to the recommended one. Because riding long-distance per day puts more stress on the engine than a short ride.

So, the oil will degrade faster depending on the type of oil used. So, if the manufacturer’s recommendation was changing oil at every 3000 km then you should change your oil at 2000km. It will retain the engine’s protection and durability and have a long life even with extreme rides.

Thus, you should consider replacing the motorcycle engine, not by its book or manufacturer recommendation. You should replace the motorcycle engine oil by its usage not by its book recommendation.

You should use the recommended grade of engine oil for your motorcycle. Changing the oil in the right interval will not give you a smoother and enjoyable ride but also prolong the life of the engine.


Is it necessary to change motorcycle oil every year?

You must change the motorcycle engine oil every year regardless of the oil you use. Because over time the oil accumulates impurities as you ride for a long time. So, if you don’t change the oil every year you will see the digression of performance and less-efficiency of fuel. Thus, it is recommended to change the motorcycle engine oil twice a year.

How many miles can you go over without changing your oil?

Depending upon the type of engine oil you are using. If you are using mineral oil then you can go 2,000 miles without changing your oil. While Semi-synthetic oil should be changed every 5,000 to 6,000 miles. Fully synthetic oils are premium quality oil, thus they last longer and you can go 7,000 to 10,000 miles without changing your oil.

Is it Ok to change oil once a year?

If you don’t use your motorcycle for long rides and just do normal commuting. Then, it is Ok to change the oil once a year. But, it will certainly reduce the performance of the engine. Therefore, it is recommended to change the engine oil at least twice a year for better performance and durability.

What happens if you don’t change your motorcycle oil?

Your motorcycle engine will run less efficiently and becomes too hot in less time. The engine parts may start corrosion, and you can feel the change in exhaust smoke and sound. And, if you don’t change your engine oil for a long time, you may have to replace the engine completely. Protection Status