I certainly hope that life is treating you all well. Personally I have had a fine week, full of friends and beer and what is more the wind has stopped blowing and ice has stopped falling from the sky. Now I am basking in sunshine and the thermometer is nudging the 15c mark.
Anyway, enough of that, let’s talk about oil changes because it seems to me that we are such a sad bunch that there is an opinion to be had about even this.
Oil wears out, not so surprising really when you think of the temperature changes it has to go through and all the squeezing and squishing it is expected to do, so oil changes are necessary. The question most often asked though is should you do them yourself?
Seems like a bargain!
Conventional wisdom would have you thinking it is cheaper to buy the oil and do the job yourself to avoid labour charges however there is slightly more to it than that. Firstly, you have to ask yourself are you mechanically minded. If you are the sort who thinks anything with a screw thread has to be tightened up until you rupture something then step away from the bike. However, if you know what a sump plug is and can identify your oil filters location then there is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go because it is a hell of a lot easier than doing it on a car.
Obviously the instructions for each bike are all a bit different, but the basics are the same, starting by making sure you have the correct amount of oil, a new oil filter and the tools necessary to take these things off and out of your bike. Next make sure that the bike is warm, so as to make the oil more viscous…. not hot though, you don’t want to find out how a French fry feels do you?
Empty the oil out of the bike by removing the sump plug and the filter, and put it in a sealed container to go off to be recycled, don’t pour it down the drain or dump it behind the tree in the park, but you are not a dickhead so I don’t really need to tell you that do I?
Now, fit the new filter, if it is an external one remember to grease the O ring seal with a bit of engine oil and also remember not to over tighten it. Hand tight and a touch more is roughly what I do, those threads are fragile. If you have an internal type remember to put all the washers and springs back in the right places, they are there for a reason.
Guess what you do next, yep, put the oil in. Synthetic, semi synthetic or mineral, your manual or the internet should be able to tell you which and how much. How much is important, obviously too little is bad but so is too much as it can mean popped seals, but you do have sight glasses and dipsticks to make sure you are not going wrong.
And that is basically it, simple so do it yourself, or don’t because oil is not cheap and garages can get it in bulk at a better price than you. They also probably get the filters cheaper and they don’t have to think about where to go to get rid of the oil. What’s more is they have all the correct tools for the job; filter wrenches, anti-spill oil pans all that sort of thing and they probably won’t have to be laying on the floor in the dirt to get to the sump bolt. But what about the labour charge? Well if you are the type to consider having someone do your oil change you can probably afford it or you wouldn’t be considering it. Also chances are you will have them do a service on your bike at the same time and it is usually part of the price you pay for that anyway.
So basically, it is up to you, it’s sort of cheaper, maybe, and easier if you do it yourself, but having a garage do it as part of a service makes perfect sense and it is a hell of a lot cleaner…that said I am doing mine tomorrow!
Have fun and stay safe