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Engine Oil

How often should I change the engine oil in my Harley-Davidson?

For the very oldest of our motorcycle treasures - with loss lubrication - this question hardly ever arises. They want to be topped up as required. For Harleys with a closed oil circuit, which are operated with monograde oil, the engine oil is changed according to the season. Thicker oil for the summer, thinner oil for the winter. The later Harley-Davidson motorcycles run on 20W50. This is changed according to the manual specs or once a year, whichever applies first. The 20W50 is not only available as a mineral engine oil, but also as a fully synthetic full-synthetic oil.

Our PanAm oils are carefully matched to their intended use and are of the highest quality.

Does a Harley-Davidson need special engine oil?

In principle, yes. The recommendation for the older models is monograde oil anyway, i.e. SAE 50 or SAE 60. And even for the later models, which run on SAE 20W50, it is better to use an engine oil that is tailored to the large individual engine displacements and is designed for higher temperatures. The JASO-MA2 specification, on the other hand, is not necessarily required. This is because Harley-Davidson's classic V-twins traditionally have separate oil tanks for the engine and clutch/transmission.

How much oil does the Harley need?

If you have a manual, it will tell you how much engine oil is required and what type of oil to fill in, or we will be happy to answer your question in our Tech Tips or, of course, live using the contact details below. Whether and how much you need to top up in the time until the next oil change depends on your driving style and your engine.

Air-cooled engines like your Harley consume oil in any case, that's the way it is. However, if you warm up the engine carefully before you tear open the throttle, the Harley will need less. It will definitely need more if you've been beating it for hours on the highway. So it's definitely worth checking the oil tank after 500 and 1000 km on the highway, even if you've noticed that the Harley hardly seems to need any oil on the country roads of your after-work trips. And unfortunately, our good old Flatheads, Knuckles, Pans, Shovels and Ironhead Sportsters need more oil than Evos or Twin Cams. This is certainly not due to the rumored lousy quality of our old treasures, no, an air-cooled engine with cast iron cylinders and/or heads simply has a higher oil consumption. This is due to the poorer heat dissipation of cast iron.

The "engines with cast iron content" also need oil for better internal cooling. And this is exactly where quality oils such as our PanAm oil prove their worth, regardless of whether they are 50 single-grade or 20W50 fully synthetic. Pouring inferior and cheap oil into the cast iron engine because it will "only be burnt anyway" does you no favors in the end.

Have any questions?

Our service team will be glad to help out: Mondays - Thursdays 08:00-17:00 CET, Fridays 08:00-16:00 CET, Phone: +49 / 931 250 61 16, eMail: service@wwag.com