What happens if you put too much oil in a motorcycle engine?

Putting engine oil in motorcycle
Putting engine oil in a motorcycle

Oil plays an important role in maintaining the engine to make it smoother and prolong life. But, the oil can also damage the engine of the motorcycle if not used in the right proportion. You do have encountered the warning in the motorcycle manual to not overfill the engine. In this article, we will look for the reason behind it.

So, What happens if you put too much oil in an engine? Overfilling the oil in the engine can lead to oil leaking, clog in the air filter, the pressure to build upon the crankshaft, potentially busting some seals. You will also see a smoky exhaust and burning smell if you overfilled your motorcycle engine.

Note: Every motorcycle comes with their different oil limit from the manufacturer. So, make sure to check the motorcycle engine oil limit from your service manual. And never exceed the limit.


Overfilling the engine with 30ml to 50ml of extra oil will not cause any harm to the motorcycle. So, you don’t have to worry about the matter.


Now, we will go into some details on what happens if you overfilled your engine with oil.

As you put extra oil (overfilled) the crankshaft of the motorcycle will be submerged by the oil around it.

Overfilled engine oil affects the air intake system or air filter and because of it, the air gets into the air chamber which results in the fusion of air with the engine oil.

As you start your motorcycle, your engine crankshaft starts to rotate. Now because of the rotation of the crankshaft, the mixed form of oil and air becomes foamy or starts to foam.

And, as the oil starts to foam; the overall efficiency of the engine will get reduced. As a result, the lubrication will not be effective among the engine components. Thus, this results in increased friction among the parts of the engine and other problems.

Related Article:- How often should you change the oil in a motorcycle?

How can we know that the engine is overfilled with oil?

There are two conditions where you can know that the engine is overfilled with oil.

The first condition where you didn’t know that you overfilled your engine with oil and you simply drive the motorcycle. And later you saw some of the symptoms of oil overfilling which I have listed below matching your condition.

Another condition where you are refueling the engine and you found the engine is slightly overfilled.

Every motorcycle engine oil is closed with a lid/fuel gauge that contains a dipstick. And most of the motorcycle comes with that dipstick which helps to measure the oil level in the engine. Now, let’s see step by step process to check the motorcycle oil level with the help of a dipstick.

So, How to check the motorcycle oil level with dipstick? 

Step 1: Open the motorcycle engine fuel gauge

Step 2: Pull the dipstick out of the engine

Step 3: You will see the cuts or marks on the dipstick, which signifies the recommended oil level.

Motorcycle dipstick checking the oil level
Motorcycle dipstick checking the oil level

Step 4: If the oil level is up to or in the middle of the mark then you are good to go. But if it is above the mark, then it is a sign of overfilling of a motorcycle engine.

In short, if the dipstick is wet above the recommended sign then you should know that knowingly or unknowingly you have overfilled the engine oil. You must be thinking that now you know that the engine is overfilled, “How to remove the excess oil?” We have covered that for you.

How to remove excess oil from a motorcycle?

There are many methods to remove the excess oil from a motorcycle. But we will discuss two easy and popular methods to remove the motorcycle oil.

First method : Unscrew the drain plug and bleed off some oil

Just unscrew the drain plug for a while and bleed off some oil out of it. But make sure to wear oil-resistant hand gloves to save your hands from oil. Then screw it again properly and check the engine oil level with the help of a dipstick.

Even now if it seems that some more oil needs to be expelled then repeat the process again. And make sure to tighten the screw so that the oil doesn’t come out in running the motorcycle. As it can cause several problems.

Now, if you are looking for some more simple way to drain some oil out from the motorcycle engine. Then, you can use the second method.

Second Method : Use Handpump to pull out excess oil

Using handpump to pull excess oil
Using handpump to pull excess oil

You can use the hand pump or hose as shown in the above picture. Just put the pipe inside the engine and pull out some oil by pressing the hand pump out of it.

It is one of the safest and easiest ways to remove the excess oil out of it. And your hands will also not become dirty by the oil.

So, now you have understood that soaking the engine oil out is not a hideous task as it seems, you can pull out the excess oil easily.

Taking out excess oil using handpump
Taking out excess oil using a handpump

But make sure to not put excess oil in the engine in the first place, read the motorcycle manual carefully and only fill the recommended oil in the engine.

The symptoms of Overfilled engine oil in motorcycles

In this section, we’ll talk about the symptoms of the overfilled engine oil in motorcycles that will help us to take instant action. Although, as I already said that we should not overfill the engine oil knowingly or unknowingly because if instant action has not been taken then it may lead to damaging the engine.

Oil leakage (from oil seal)

The first symptom of the overfilled engine is the oil leakage from the oil seal. If you see the oil dropping out of your engine while riding or stationary then it is a sign of oil leakage. And finally, the symptom of overfilled engine oil has led to oil leakage.

It’s a simple and most obvious sign of overfilled engine oil because the oil seal is not able to hold the oil anymore. It happens because extra oil in the engine build up the pressure inside that leads the oil seal to bursts.

Engine overheating

If you noticed your engine temperature is simultaneously rising after filling the oil then it may be the cause of overfilling the engine oil. If you filled the engine with more than the required oil then it may not be able to perform the usual task easily.

Engine overheating can happen due to several reasons like riding for long hours, riding in the sun, less oil, etc. If you are doing long rides or extensive riding then it’s normal to overheat the engine.

But if the engine is overheating after the filling of oil as you ride. Then this can be the reason for engine overheating because of the overfilled oil.

The burning of engine oil (Smell of burning)

If you noticed a smell of burning oil or blue smoke or excessive smoke from the exhaust then it is a sign of overfilled engine oil. You will also smell the burning of oil from the exhaust because the extra oil will find its way to get out. So, it will also leak past the piston rings resulting in smoke.

So, above we talked about three of the main symptom of overfilled engine oil in brief. Now I have discussed the consequences of having excess oil in motorcycles.

Consequences of excess engine oil in motorcycle

Now because for some reason, you didn’t know that your engine is overfilled with oil. Here are the consequences which you will have to encounter because of the excess engine oil in the motorcycle.

Engine damage or failure

When engine oil becomes foamy then the efficiency of the oil decrease which reduces the lubrication properties. Because of this the friction among the engine parts increases and thus the wear and tear of the engine parts also increases. This will ultimately result in engine parts failure of total engine damage.

Damaged oil seal

If the engine is overfilled with oil then you will see a leakage in the oil seal. The oil seals get broken because of the pressure build-up in the engine due to overfilling of oil. The overfilled engine oil can break the seal because there is no room remaining to breathe. This will result in a damaged oil seal and most of the oil will come out of the engine because of the broken seal or gasket.

Clogged catalytic converter

The catalytic converter is used for emission control in the motorcycle. its main work is to convert harmful pollutants such as hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide into harmless gas which comes out of the exhaust to reduce pollution.

It is the most expensive component of the motorcycle engine and it can be damaged because of the excessive engine oil. And, if it gets damaged then your exhaust system may not work properly. 

Sediments & Debris Build-up

The motorcycle engine builds up carbon which is a by-product of fuel burning. The right amount of oil in the engine will prevent and reduce the sediments to build up.

But the overfilled engine with oil becomes inefficient and ineffective to prevent carbon or sediments build-ups. Thus, you need to take immense care of the engine which is the heart of the motorcycle.

So, the oil isn’t able to clean the engine properly which results in the formation and accumulation of sediments and debris.

Tips to keep in mind

Keep the engine oil to its required level and never turn on the motorcycle or ride your motorcycle until you have checked the level of the engine oil.

If it is normal then you can ride and it will not cause any harm. But, if you didn’t check the engine oil level and ride your motorcycle. If you ride your motorcycle with the overfilled engine oil, you will find your motorcycle showing the symptoms of overfilled oil that we have discussed above.

So make a habit to check the oil after filling the engine and if you find oil to be overfilled use the above methods to pull out the excessive oil from the engine.


Keep one thing in mind that the oil should not drop below the minimum level and above the maximum level. Because both are not good for the health and performance of an engine. Thus make sure to fill the oil in the right proportion.

And, if you accidentally filled the engine with maximum oil then simply drain it and then again check the level. It should be somewhere between the maximum and minimum which is a preferred choice. Or you can take a reference from your service manual and get the exact number or value for your motorcycle engine.


Is it Ok to slightly overfill the engine oil?

It is perfectly fine to overfill the engine with 50ml -100ml of extra oil and will not cause any harm to the motorcycle. So, there is no need to worry if you slightly overfilled the engine oil in the motorcycle. 

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