How much oil should I put in the bike?

I'm ready to change my own oil but I'm confused about how much to put in, Kawasaki's website says one thing my owners manual says another.

You're not alone here. The problem is there are actually different amounts depending whether you're changing the filter (something you should always do) or whether you've drained old oil from the drain plug at the bottom of the crankcase or from the oil screen on the left side of the crankcase. So, what to do.

This is going to be a little time consuming but it's a one time only chore. It requires borrowing a measuring cup, probably from the kitchen so a peace offering might be in order when you're finished too.

The process:

  • Drain your oil the way you'll always be draining it. The oil screen is really best as it is the lowest point in the sump and you actually get more old dirty oil out than if you use the drain plug.
  • Replace your filter
  • Pour in 3 quarts of fresh oil. All 1500/1600 engines take a bit over 3 quarts so just go ahead and dump.
  • Gentlemen (and ladies) start your engines. Let them idle about 30 seconds just to be sure the oil filter has been filled, check to be sure you don't have an oil pressure light showing (you won't but it's always good to watch)
  • Let the bike sit at least 5 minutes after shutting the engine off. During this time level the bike whatever way you choose to do it. With most you can place a 2x4 under the kickstand and get pretty close. Obviously you don't want the bike falling over to the right but you really need the bike level with both tires on the ground at this point so do what's necessary including enlisting help from a friend or family member.
  • Pour fresh oil into your measuring cup, at least half a quart. Now, slowly pour this oil into the crankcase, stopping every few ounces to let the oil drain to the crankcase. Keep watching the sight glass and checking to be sure the bike is still level. Fill slowly until the oil level is just a hair below the 'full' mark on your sight glass.
  • Do the math. You put in 3 quarts plus a very specific amount from the measuring cup.  Write the total down someplace where you can find it the next time you change oil. I keep my figures posted on the inside of the garage cabinet where oil and filters are kept.

Next oil change you'll be able to add your three quarts plus whatever you measured this time and it'll be spot on the full mark and you won't even have to bother leveling or measuring. Now, that was easy!

Last Updated: Friday, July 19 2019 @ 02:33 PM PDT