What Is The Best Oil For A Harley Davidson? [All Models]

As you cannot do without your favorite drink, so your bike cannot do without engine oil. However, picking the right oil might be tricky due to the different engine specs. We've asked experts, and they gave us much-needed answers.

Several oils are suitable for a Harley Davidson, but the number one oil is the AMSOIL Full Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 20W-50. A more affordable oil is the Castrol 06116 Power1 V-Twin 4T 20W-50. If the first isn't available, you can settle for the second best oil, the Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 Twin Synthetic Motorcycle oil.

Are you wondering why there seems to be more than one motorcycle oil? Well, continue reading to see why there are several oils and why they are suitable for all Harley Davidson motorcycle models.

motorcycle Harley-Davidson Popular in the world With a beautiful and powerful appearance, What Is The Best Oil For A Harley Davidson? [All Models]

The Best Oil For All Harley Davidson Models

For a long while, Harley Davidson has always made Twin-Cam engines which have now morphed into V-Twin-Cam engines. Even though these engines have evolved, the manufacturers strongly recommend the AMSOIL full synthetic 20W-50 oil. 

If you cannot find the recommended oil, you can go to the next best one. Harley Davidson manufacturers advise using the Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin synthetic motorcycle motor oil. These two options are perfect because they are full-synthetic oils that lubricate the engine properly.

But this doesn't mean that there are no other oils you can use on your Harley. However, don't pour just any oil engine into your bike.

Wide range of car and motorbike engine oils are in auto parts store

Other oils you could consider are: 

  • Castrol 06116 POWER1 V-TYwin 4T 20W-50
  • Harley-Davidson SYN3 Full Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
  • Motul 7100 4T Synthetic Ester Motor Oil 20W-50

These options are budget friendly and still give your engine the lubrication it needs without compromising its performance.

Check out the Amsoil V-Twin motorcycle oil on Amazon.

Why Is It Important To Use The Right Oil For Your Bike?

Using the right oil is a requirement for the smooth running of your bike. The correct oil for your motorcycle must have anti-wear properties, which help increase the engine's durability. 

Read the service manual to get the correct specification of the oils you need. Here, the specifics are detailed in-depth, unlike in the owner's manual.

What Is The Right Viscosity For A Motorcycle Engine Oil?

Liquid stream of motorcycle motor oil flows from the neck of the bottle

Engine oil viscosity is also the oil weight. Harley Davidsons have air-cooled twin engines that require the oil to shear correctly at all temperatures. The ideal oil weight is 20-50, which can shear to a thinner weight even in cold temperatures. Oil can go through narrow passages, so it's important to consider this.

Harley Davidson engine oil is thicker than car oil which is 5W-20. These bikes need a higher viscosity oil as they get very hot. Any thin oil burns out immediately, leaving the metal components of your engine bear. It also applies to the primary and gear oils, which must create a protective film in the bike parts for a smoother ride.

Should Motorcycle Oil Always Be Fully Synthetic?

Although there are other oils, Harley Davidson recommends using full synthetic engine oil. Full synthetic oils perform better than mineral and semi-synthetic oils because they don't burn out fast and leave the metal engine parts clanking. 

Over the past twenty years, manufacturers have entirely switched to fully synthetic oil engines. Synthetic oils are ideal for the latest air-cooled Harley engines because they are highly resistant to oxidation and thermal degradation.

Harley Davidson engines are subjected to high temperatures, which can cause wear scars and residue formation when you use mineral or semi-synthetic oils.

Find out more: How Hot Does A Motorcycle Engine Get?

Can You Use Synthetic Oils In Older Harley Davidson Models?

refueling and pouring from bottle to change lubricant oil at maintenance repair service station

Yes, you can! Older bikes primarily using mineral engine oils will adapt quickly to synthetic oils. You can also do the switch for primary chain cases and transmissions. Ensure the seals are intact for the synthetic oil to increase its performance. Using synthetic oil is a welcome upgrade for your older bike and is cost-efficient.

Can You Use Car Oil In A Harley Davidson?

Technically, you could. If the car oil is the required density, it will work. However, a car and a bike have different engines, and using car oil could potentially risk your bike's performance in the long run. If the oil doesn't perform as expected, metal and metal contact will damage the engine.

Can You Use The Same Oil In All Parts Of Your Harley Davidson? 

No, you cannot! The gearbox, primary drive, and engine have different needs. The viscosity of the oil needed to lubricate the gearbox is not what the engine requires. Moreover, thicker oil could make it difficult for your clutch to function correctly.

Gearbox oil is thicker than the primary fluid, which helps the clutch separate smoothly. Therefore the so-called universal oils offered might put your bike at risk. Manufacturers and seasoned riders advise newbies to stick to the selected oils for each part for a smoother ride. 

To understand the consistencies to expect, look at the following video with an oil change demonstration—

Tips For Oil Change In A Harley Davidson

Oil change requirements for  Harley Davison are few, but they are precise. Here is what you must know

  • The oil has to have an optimal temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit, which you can obtain by riding for at least 30 minutes but not starting your bike in the garage.
  • Pick thick oil to quieten your engine but not too much to avoid it congealing in sub-zero temperatures. However, different motorcycle models have different engine noise levels.
  • Ensure that you check the level of the oils in your bike if you use it a lot. You will avoid engine seizure which happens with low oil levels.
  • If you notice that your bike is shaking excessively at high speeds, it has run out of oil, and metal parts are in contact. Therefore an oil change is due.

Watch this video that highlights these tips—

Substitute Oils For Harley Davidson

If you cannot lay your hands on the recommended motorcycle engine oils, there are substitute ones that have the same qualities. It helps to understand that your bike has a powerful V-Twin engine and needs oil that properly combusts. The oil should maintain the lifespan of your bike.

The list below points out the substitute oils you can use for your Harley Davidson. Some of them are synthetic, while others are mineral—

  • Bel-Ray V-Twin Primary Chain Case Lubricant
  • Maxima Racing Oils V-Twin Mineral Engine Oil
  • Red Line V-Twin Primary Engine Oil

These oils are more affordable but still perform well. 

How Often Should You Do An Oil Change?

To see whether or not you need an oil change, you should evaluate how often you ride your bike and the kind of oil you use. Generally, you can change semi-synthetic oils between 5,000 to 6,000 miles, but you could stretch it to 8,000 miles. Fully synthetic oils are favored because they last 7,000 to 10,000 miles.

You should change the oil every four months to get the best results, especially if you go on rough terrains and work the bike's engine to the maximum.

Should You Change All The Three Oils At The Same Time In A Harley?

Keeping oil fresh in your Harley is crucial. Therefore, most expert riders simultaneously change the oil in all three bike parts. Ensure that you consult the owner's manual for exact numbers.

Does It Matter What Oil Filter You Use In A Harley Davidson?

used motorcycle oil filter

Yes, it does. An engine must have a good oil filter to function correctly, and Harley Davidsons are no exception. Good oil is optimized by a good quality oil filter.

See this oil filter on Amazon.

Reusable filters are better than disposable ones. Moreover, they have magnets that catch metallic particles, ensuring your engine oil stays fresh longer.

Harley Davidsons need reusable filters which can withstand high temperatures, are durable, and are corrosion resistant. Other benefits you will get from reusable filters are saving money and being eco-friendly.

In Closing

motorcycle Harley-Davidson Popular in the world With a beautiful and powerful appearance

The best oils for your Harley Davidson are the most known brand names available. Amsoil, Mobil 1, and Castrol, among others. They must be fully synthetic with a viscosity of 20W-50. Such engine oils are ideal and can be used in older Harley models. 

Get more information from this post.

Can You Run E85 In A Harley Davidson?

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One comment

  1. Great insights! Choosing the right oil for a Harley is crucial, and your breakdown of top picks like AMSOIL, Mobil 1, and Castrol makes it easier for riders. The emphasis on viscosity, synthetic quality, and specific needs for different bike parts is valuable. Keep those wheels rolling smoothly!

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