How to Change Oil in Harley-Davidson Road King


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How To Change Oil In Harley Davidson Road King

Do you own a Harley-Davidson Road King, and you’re looking to find and change the oil but don’t know how to do it? If yes, then you are definitely in the right place.

Changing the oil in Harley-Davidson Road King is simple, as long as you know the right way to do so. It involves removing the oil fill cap, draining the engine oil, removing the transmission oil fill plug, draining the transmission oil, inspecting the drain plugs, and reinstalling the engine and transmission oil drain plugs. After that, you need to be removing the oil filter, installing the new oil filter, draining the primary chain case, removing the derby cover, inspect the derby cover gasket, fill the primary chain case with oil, re-installing the derby cover, fill the engine oil tank, and filling the transmission.

In this article, you will get to know all about motorcycle oil, how often should you change the oil, how to change oil in Harley-Davidson Road King, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Changing the Motorcycle Oil

There is no particular season for motorcycle riding as you can do it all year round, it’s great to know a few things to keep your bike in premium condition. Cleaning the exterior is important for your bike, but cleaning the interior will be just as important. 

Just like surface cleaning prevents any future damage from showing up, regularly checking and changing the oil will ensure that your bike will not only run smoothly, but it’ll also last for years to come. Many Harley-Davidson bikers know how important changing oil is for the maintenance and performance of the bike, but they do not know the right way of doing it. 

What Does Motorcycle Oil Do?

Whether you own a Harley-Davidson bike or a motorcycle from any other brand, you need to know how important it is to regularly perform oil changes.

Motorcycle oil is an important component for engines to run smoothly and last long. It will act as a lubricant for the moving parts of the engine. If your bike is running low or runs out of oil, it can lead to an expensive repair job. Sometimes, you might even require an entirely new engine due to the damage done to the previous oil-lacking engine. To make sure that your engine is running smoothly and lasting long, fresh motor oil will be necessary.

When it comes to oil changes and scheduled maintenance, it isn’t just about keeping your motorcycle in working condition. It is also about your personal safety. Having a properly maintained motorcycle will keep you from getting stranded, causing irreparable damage, or getting injured. Delaying maintenance will never be a good idea, so ensure that you keep records and set reminders for maintenance in the future.

Different motorcycle oils can withstand different temperatures for varying amounts of time before they start deteriorating. This is why it’ll be important to know when to change your oil. If you put off the oil change, the engine will reach higher temperatures and won’t run efficiently. Eventually, it will cause the components to wear out and potentially break. As motorcycle oils cycle through low and high temperatures, they start breaking down and become thinner, which will make them less effective.

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Over time, as the motorcycle oil breaks down, soot, metal particles, and dirt cause the fluid to become abrasive. This ultimately results in sludge. This thick sludge will make it difficult for fluids to lubricate essential parts and protect them from severe damage.

How to Change Oil in Harley-Davidson Road King

There are certain things that you need to gather before you start changing the oil in your Road King. These things include a Harley-Davidson Road King, an owner’s manual, four quarts of quality motor oil, a new oil filter, a bucket or pan to drain the oil into, a funnel, a new crush washer, clean rags, a screwdriver or Allen wrench, oil filter wrench, and an adjustable socket wrench.

Step 1: Take your motorcycle for a ride

The oil must be hot and thinned out before you begin to drain it.

Step 2: Know where to drain the oil

There are three places that you need to drain the oil from – the engine, primary chain case, and transmission. The drain plug on all three of these pans will require a 5/8” socket or 1/4” Allen wrench to remove.

Step 3: Remove the oil fill cap

Next up, you need to remove the oil fill cap. It will allow the old oil to flow out of your Road King faster.

Step 4: Drain the engine oil

Now, drain the engine oil. It’ll be easier to go from the right side of your bike. To do that, you should use your 5/8” socket.

Step 5: Remove the transmission oil fill plug

To remove the transmission oil fill plug, you’ll have to use a 3/8” Allen wrench.

Step 6: Drain the transmission oil

The transmission drain plug will be centered directly above the shock absorbers of your bike. Since both the engine and transmission drain plugs are close to each other, they can be simultaneously drained into the same drain pan.

Step 7: Stand your bike upright

Now that the engine and transmission oil have started draining, you must stand your motorcycle upright until the oil stops running out of the holes. It’ll be important to get as much old oil out of your motorcycle as possible.

Step 8: Thoroughly inspect the drain plugs

There will be magnets embedded at the end of each drain plug. These magnets are responsible for collecting any metal shavings produced from normal wear and tear in the engine and transmission. Moreover, you should inspect the rubber o-rings on the plug. In case they’re worn, they need to be replaced.

Step 9: Re-install the engine and transmission oil drain plugs

Now, you must re-install the engine and transmission oil drain plugs. To do that, you should make use of a torque wrench for tightening the plugs 14 to 21 feet. Otherwise, you should tighten it until the plugs become fully seated and not stripped.

Step 10: Remove the oil filter

Now, you need to place the drain plug under the front end of the engine. While you’re removing the oil filter, you should use the oil filter drain funnel for ensuring that you don’t make an oily mess on the motorcycle or the floor. Alternatively, you can even shove a rag under the oil filter to prevent a mess. Remember to have multiple rags on hand because it can get quite messy.

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Step 11: Install the new oil filter

When you’re installing a new oil filter, you should lube the new oil filter gasket using a bit of motor oil. After that, screw the filter on until the oil gasket makes contact with the oil filter housing. Then, turn it 3/4 or a full turn. This should always be done manually. Avoid using a wrench to tighten an oil filter.

Step 12: Drain the primary chain case

This will essentially be the last phase of the oil change. Look for the drain plug at the bottom side of the chain case. After that, place the drain pan under the plug. You’ll have to use a T-30 for turning the plug out. 

Step 13: Remove the derby cover

When the chain case is draining, you should remove the derby cover. Make use of a T-27 to remove the five bolts on the derby cover.

Step 14: Inspect the derby cover gasket

Person Inspecting The Derby Cover Gasket In Harley-Davidson Road King Bike

Now, inspect the derby cover gasket. Unless it isn’t in good shape, you shouldn’t bother replacing it.

Step 15: Fill up the primary chain case with oil

Use a primary chain case funnel to fill the primary chain case with oil. Fill it until the oil reaches the bottom of the clutch hub. It should take one quart or 950 ml. 

Step 16: Re-install the derby cover

Re-install the derby cover. When you’re doing this, you should ensure that you are using a torque wrench. These bolts could be easy to over-tighten and strip the threads. When you’re torquing, ensure that you are tightening in a star pattern.

Step 17: Fill up the engine oil tank

The engine oil capacity will be 3 quarts or 2,800 ml. Most likely, there would still be some oil left over in the sump. Fill it with 2 quarts or 1900 ml and then check the dipstick. After that, add oil until the oil level reaches between the low and high indicators on the tip stick. Lastly, replace the fill cap.

Step 18: Fill in the transmission

Now, you need to fill in the transmission. The transmission will hold 24 ounces or 680 gm.

Step 19: Take your bike out for a ride

Lastly, you need to take your Harley-Davidson Road King out for a ride. Once it is at an operating temperature, you should check for any potential leaks.

How Often Should You Change the Oil

This is something that many new riders and semi-experienced riders have a difficult time figuring out. Many times, performing regular maintenance tends to get overshadowed by wanting to hop on your bike and cruise around. When the oil is changed, it is more than a thousand miles past due. With that said, how often should you change the motorcycle oil will differ depending on a few factors.

Model and year

Each brand uses its own engines and these could determine what sort of oil should you be using. Even if you’ve got two of the same brand of motorcycle, they could have different engines and builds. This can lead to requiring different types of oils.

How often do you ride your bike

A significant factor in when you need to change the oil is how often you ride. If you’re a casual biker who only rides 1,000 miles or fewer, you will have to change the oil less often than someone who regularly has long-distance trips.

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Type of oil you’re using

Different types of oil will also dictate when an oil change is required. Depending on the model/year/make of the bike, there could be three different options for the types of motorcycle oil to add. Although there might be general guidelines for changing your bike’s oil, ensure that you’re checking your motorcycle’s service manual for specific directions.

For bikes that require mineral-based motor oil, these engines can typically run 2,000 to 3,000 miles before you have to change the oil. Motorcycles that require semi-synthetic motor oil could last between 5,000 to 8,000 miles before requiring an oil change. Lastly, motorcycle engines that are running on fully synthetic motor oil would be able to last around 7,000 to 10,000 miles before having to change the oil.

Status of current oil

Another way of telling if you need to change the oil would be by viewing the quality of the oil. It can be done easily by removing the oil dipstick or looking through the oil sight window. These two methods will help you tell if the oil is dirty or if the oil level is low.

Do You Need to Change the Oil Filter too?

Many bikers wonder if changing the oil filter is really worth it each time they change the oil. As a basic rule of thumb, it’ll be a good idea to perform this during maintenance service. While it might seem like a small and needless task, the oil filter would be an important aspect of ensuring that the motorcycle is running properly.

These small components will help you make sure that the oil remains clean by trapping debris, dirt, sludge, and other particles from entering various mechanisms of your motorcycle. If these items don’t get caught by the filter, multiple areas of the engine will become dirt more often, which could potentially harm your bike.


How often should you change the oil in your Road King?

If you’ve got a new bike, you will have to get the motorcycle oil changed for the first time after crossing 1,000 miles. The next one should be after 2,500 miles. Then, you should either schedule an oil change or perform an oil change yourself once every 2,500 miles.

Where is the oil drain plug on your bike?

You should look directly below the seat and under the frame to find the oil drain plug. Make use of a ratchet and a 5/8” socket for removing the drain plug. Once it is loose, finish removing the plug manually so that you can avoid dropping it into the oil pan.

Which three oils do you change on a Harley-Davidson bike?

To perform a full oil change, you will need to complete oil changes in the engine, transmission, and primary oil drain. Once you have refilled the engine oil, transmission oil, and primary oil, your bike will perform smoothly.

What is considered to be high mileage for a Road King?

For small sports bikes, 20,000 to 30,000 miles is considered to be on the high side. For larger motorcycles 50,000 miles and up is considered to be high motorcycle mileage. Bikes like Road King can deliver 75,000 to 100,000 miles with ease if you properly maintain them.

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