How Often Do I Need To Change Motorcycle Engine Oil?

Changing engine oil is essential to maintaining the life of your beloved motorcycle. If you don’t consistently check the oil level and change the oil when it gets old or dirty, the lifespan of the motor is severely shortened. 

Let’s get started. 

How Often You Need To Change Motorcycle Oil

Most riders will ask the question, “How often do I need to change the motorcycle engine oil?” at least once. The answer depends on the make/model of your bike (we’ll be discussed a Yamaha YZF-R6), the type of oil you used, and how often you ride. 

If you used a mineral-based engine oil (the simplest, cheapest kind), then you should change the engine every 2,000 miles if you’re riding frequently. If you don’t ride regularly, you can change your oil at least twice a year. 

When using a semi-synthetic engine oil, change the oil once every 5,000-6,000 miles. 

Lastly, if you use a fully-synthetic engine oil, change the oil after 7,000-10,000 miles. 

Semi- and fully-synthetic motor oils are more expensive than mineral-based engine oil, but the plus side is that they last much longer. The only time when you might have to change before the recommended mileage, regardless of the motor oil type, is if you are riding your bike every single day or you commute a great distance frequently. 

Yamaha YZF-R6 Oil Change Instructions

You can find the following information in the owner’s manual of your Yamaha YZF-R6. If you don’t have this specific Yamaha model, it’s recommended you find the specific instructions for your make and model, as the steps could be different. 

  • Checking the engine oil level: 
  • Put the motorcycle on a level surface and hold it in an upright position, as straight as possible. Slight tilts could result in a false read. 
  • Start the engine. Let the oil warm up for several minutes. 
  • Turn the motorcycle off again. 
  • Wait for the oil to settle. This may take a few minutes. 
  • Remove the engine oil dipstick. Wipe it clean with a cloth then insert the stick back into the fuel reservoir. Take a moment to look at the maximum and minimum oil level lines before testing if you’re not familiar with it. Don’t screw the stick in. Remove it again to get your reading. 
  • If the engine oil level is at or below the minimum level, remove the engine filler cap and add a sufficient amount of oil to get the level to the recommended spot. 
  • Insert then tighten the engine oil dipstick. Afterwards, install and tighten the oil filler cap. 

During this stage of your oil check, you might find that you need to change the oil completely. 

How To Tell If You Need An Oil Change

The normal color of oil is transparent, brownish, maybe even slightly black. When oil is “clean,” it works best for protecting and keeping the engine clean. 

Now, “dirty” oil is when the water consistency is lost. It feels slightly gritty when rubbed between your fingers. The color will be darker, if not completely black, and it will have lost it’s transparency. 

You might also notice that the engine is making bizarre noises when the oil is dirty. All these signs point to needing an oil change. 

How to change engine oil on a Yamaha YZF-R6

  • Put the motorcycle on a level surface. 
  • Removing the cowling. 
  • Start the engine for several minutes. Once warmed, turn the bike off. 
  • Place an oil pan under the engine to collect used oil. 
  • Remove the engine oil filler cap, the engine oil drain bolt, and lastly the gasket to drain the oil from the crankcase. 
  • Once the oil is drained completely, replace the gasket and bolt, fill the tank to the recommended level, and then replace the engine oil filler cap. 

When To Change The Oil Filter

Change the filter every time you change the oil or once every 2,000 to 3,000 miles if you’re using synthetic motor oil. You don’t want to ride around with a dirty, old oil filter because it traps any dirt, dust, debris, metal, and sludge that would otherwise harm your engine. 

Not a frequent rider? Again, change your oil at least twice a year and pair that with a filter change. 


To wrap everything up, frequent riders will need to change their oil more often than those who ride once in a while. The quality of the motor oil changes the mileage for oil changes, and synthetic oils will have the longest life. Make sure to check the oil level and consistency often so you can protect the engine and preserve the life of your ride. 

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