Proper lubrication is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. And here to give us some pointers about Harley-Davidson motorcycles is Lyndon Abel from Rommel Harley-Davidson. Lyndon, welcome back to the show.

LYNDON: Thanks for having me, Pat.

PAT: Alright. We get a lot of questions about, “how do I check my oil?” Seems like a lot of people don’t know, and therefore they don’t do it. Now on a Harley…side stand, or straight up? How do you go about it?

Lyndon: Well, they’re great questions, and any time you have a question like that, you want to start by looking at the motorcycle’s owner’s manual to find out exactly how to do it. In fact, on some motorcycles, you want the vehicle straight up and down. Some you want on the side stand. Check the owner’s manual and make sure.

Pat: Ok, now one thing, and I get this a lot on cars, is, people ask, “should the engine be running?” Well no it shouldn’t…

Lyndon: Never for the motorcycle…the motor oil. Probably there’s some confusion there because of transmission checks in the old days and things like that. But you can actually cause harm to yourself or your motorcycle if you’re checking the motor oil when it’s running.   

Pat: Alright, now, reading the dipstick.

Lyndon: Yea, you’re always going to get a better reading when the oil is at full operating temperature. But you can see on this dipstick they tell you the full hot and full cold so you can get an idea of if the reading is correct when it’s cold. But I wouldn’t recommend adding oil until you’ve brought the oil up to full operating temperature.

Pat: So, get it hot and recheck it.  

Lyndon: Yup

Pat Goss: Now, here we have one…

Lyndon: So this is an analog dipstick that shows you the temperature of the oil. Very simple device. It’s just a thermometer with the reading on the top.

We have a digital model which does the same thing, but it’s got a really neat extra trick: it will also tell you the level of the oil without having to pull the dipstick out of the…oil pan…So, press that button, and it’ll show you the level. Obviously there’s no oil on it, but we can show you an example right here on this bike…and this just makes it so much easier to check. Sometimes the motor is hot, the exhaust is nearby, you’re trying to unscrew that, and oil is dripping off. If you have a device like that, that can allow you to check the oil and make sure it’s where you want it to be, really at every gas stop.

Pat: Right, just like a car, every time you fill it up, check the oil.

Lyndon: That’s ideal.

Pat: And, always use the proper oil.

Lyndon: You want to use the manufacturer recommended oil and make sure that it’s compatible. Don’t just be pouring random quarts of oil in there if you think it needs oil.

Pat: And some yahoo on the internet doesn’t know more than the people who designed the engine. Okay. Lyndon, Thank you. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.