Changing your bike’s oil is the most important thing you can do for the long-term health of the engine, and it’s a straightforward job which is easily done in less than an hour.
The oil has to do a tough job so use a good quality motorcycle oil – not one designed for car engines – and make sure the viscosity range is correct. Note that most multigrade oils are available as mineral, synthetic or a semi-synthetic blend; the most expensive isn’t necessarily the right choice – check what’s recommended for your model.
Engine oil picks up carbon from the combustion process and will darken in use. It’s important to wear disposable gloves to protect your skin and also because it’s a messy job no matter how careful you are.
Look in your Haynes Manual to see where components are located and what parts and oil you’ll need. The oil drain plug will be at a low point on the engine, set in the sump or crankcase – very occasionally there are two. There’s no standard location for the filter, the spin-on type filter is easy to spot, but your bike may have a different type filter and possibly some kind of strainer or mesh for catching any large particles.
Apart from the oil itself you’ll need a new filter and a new washer for the drain plug. Most dealers keep service items in stock but just in case get them in advance. The other things you’ll need are an adaptor to fit the spin-on filter, a socket to fit the drain plug and a torque wrench. If you have to buy tools for this job they’ll prove to be a sound investment because you’ll use them again if you keep the bike. You can probably find something at home to use as a drain bowl – make sure it can easily hold 5 litres.
Consider how you’re going to dispose of the old oil. This needs to be done responsibly so make sure you’ve got a container in which to take it to the recycling centre. They’ll usually take the old filter, too.