by Elden Carl
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Oil and/or Filter changes
Since I began riding motorcycles in the summer of 1955 there have probably been
hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) worth of perfectly good oil filters thrown away at
oil change time. How can that be you ask? Simple, because many people believe that if
you change the oil you should also change the filter.
I once knew a guy before we entered the wonderful age of motorcycle specific oils who
understood that polymer packages in car oils weren't durable enough to withstand the
sheer forces created by the integrated transmissions and clutches of modern
motorcycles. Like many of us in those days he changed his oil every 1,500 miles before
the viscosity could degrade excessively thereby compromising its ability to properly
lubricate the engine. So far so good.
For some unknown reason this same individual (and probably thousands of others)
changed his oil filter every time he changed his oil which is tantamount to throwing away
four perfectly good filters every 7,500 miles.
Here at Top Gun and MMP we use only the best motorcycle specific synthetic lubricants
in our "big singles" which we change every 3,500 to 4,000 miles. The oil filters on the
other hand are changed at 7,500 mile intervals (according to factory specs). By the way,
we employ only the best air filters which we keep properly cleaned and oiled thereby
precluding the need to shorten the oil change intervals on bikes used extensively on dirt
roads (mostly in Baja).
Since most oil filter replacements occur between oil changes we let our DR650SEs and
KLR650As stand overnight so the oil can drain from the oil filter chamber into the sump.
Finally, I'd like to offer two other important suggestions. First: If you must use over the
counter car or truck oils such as Rotella you'd best change them more often. Why? Due
to EPA mandates, they have "weaker" polymer packages and approximately 75% less
phosphorus and zinc (the slippery stuff) than the best motorcycle specific oils. Second:
Avoid the use of washable "stainless steel" oil filters. They don't filter as well as factory or
aftermarket replacement filters.
If you want your motorcycle engine to live a long happy life - protect it with top quality
motorcycle specific oil and superior oil/air filters.