I was discussing motorcycle oil and filter change intervals the other day. We wondered
among other things why my wife’s Toyota Camry 4-cylinder equipped with a separate
clutch and transmission needed oil and filter changes every 5000 miles while my KL650-A
big single with integrated clutch and transmission only needs an oil and filter change
every 6000 miles. Usable power requires nearly twice the RPM in the motorcycle and the
sheer forces are much greater due to the constant friction between gears and clutch
Only the best synthetic motorcycle oils can withstand this kind of punishment, but even
they have their limits.
I have never understood why Kawasaki recommends oil and filter changes every 6000
miles on the KLR while Suzuki wants the DR oil changed every 3500 miles and filter every
other oil change. Despite the fact the DR has an air/oil cooled engine that is much
cleaner running than the liquid cooled KLR650 with its chain driven rubber dampened
three balancer anti-vibration system.
I change the oil on both the DR and KLR every 3500 miles and the oil filters are replaced
every 7000 miles. By the way, I use only the best motorcycle full synthetic oil and the
highest quality fiber oil filter. Since stainless steel oil filters are approximately 20% less
efficient than fiber units, I don’t use them. It’s all about wear folks! The better your filtering
and lubrication, the longer your engine will last. Use some other cheap car oil along with
an oil filter that will pass 40 microns and I’ll bet you see the inside of your big single power
plant before you should.
On the other hand, Suzuki and Kawasaki would love to sell you the parts needed to
rebuild your engine. Maybe that’s why Kawasaki recommends you change your KLR
engine oil every 6000 miles.