Checking oil level

A lot of people ask me the best way to check theyre oil level, and there are two answers to this question depending on the model of Harley you ride.

There are two ways to check your oil, hot or cold.  On any of the Harley models(except V-rod) you always check the oil level on the Jiffy stand(aka kick stand), and yes I said it folks Jiffy stand.  Whether your bike is hot or cold doesn’t matter because on the dipstick there are two readings, one level being the cold level which will be lower than the hot reading.   So, don’t jump to conclusions and start adding oil to the tank or bag.

If the bike has been setting for more than a few weeks and the bike has an oil bag, the dip stick will more than likely lie to you because of gravity, yes gravity.  What happens is, over time the oil will leak past the oil pump into the crank case of the bike.  Since Harleys are dry sump engines, they are not meant to hold or retain the oil in the crank case.  This means  the oil pump supplies the right amount of oil while carrying away the cycled oil back to the oil tank or bag.

This being said, the dipstick will tell you that you don’t have any oil.  So most people panic and add three to four quarts too many.  If you over fill the tank, when the engine is started  oil puke out of the breather because the oil pump simply cannot scavenge all that oil back to the tank, and the crank has a hard time spinning around in all that oil.  So, the best thing to do before adding any oil to a bike that has been setting for more than a few weeks is to start the engine and let it warm up. By warming the engine up on a bike that has been sitting, any oil in the crank case will be returned to the oil bag so it than can be accurately measured with the dipstick.

One more tip for the road is that if you get far away from civilzation on a ride and can’t find any 20w50 synthetic or any 20w50 for that matter to top off if your low, it’s ok to add any weight motor oil synthetic or non because all oils are made from a base stock and wont hurt anything if used in a pinch. Also, it’s important to check the engine oil often as air cooled engines run hot and use a little oil and should be changed every 5,000 miles.

I hope this helps, and if you have any questions at all, always feel free to call the shop and we will be glad to answer any of your questions or concerns.

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