What Oil Does Harley-Davidson Recommend: Use The Best Option For Premium Performance


White Star Rides is your trusted Harley-Davidson companion, offering expert guidance and information to enhance your riding experience.

What Oil Does Harley Davidson Recommend

Did you know the type of oil you use can make or break the performance of your Harley-Davidson bike? Many people underestimate the pivotal role that oil plays in their bikes.

Harley-Davidson recommends that you should use oil that carries a weight of 20W-50. It’ll be able to handle temperatures ranging up to 100° F. It is recommended that you can go for any brand of oil as long as it is less than 60. Make sure that you’re keeping your preferred option under the threshold.

In this article, you’ll get to know all about what oil does Harley-Davidson recommend, the different types of oil, the best options for you, and a lot more. Continue reading to know more.

Engine oil for Harley-Davidson bikes

Engine oil is an integral component of your Harley-Davidson bike as it’ll lubricate, clean, protect, and cool the engine. Further, it will also keep the engine running smoothly. Engine oil will offer the needed lubrication between the engine components to reduce friction. It will do so by providing a slippery film in between the moving parts of the engine. It also ensures that the engine is running efficiently, with increased power, and at optimal performance.

Engine oil will create a film on the moving parts of your Harley-Davidson bike’s engine, acting like a protective layer. By minimizing the metal-to-metal contact, wear and tear of these components will be reduced. For a Harley-Davidson bike’s engine to run smoothly and optimally, it’ll have to be cleaned. Deposits in the engine could gum it up, reducing the performance. Further, unnecessary damage to the engine can be caused via microscopic contaminants. Engine oil will keep the engine clean by holding the contaminants in suspensions until they’re removed via the oil filter. Oil will prevent the damage deposits from forming.

Engine oil will also help keep the engine oil. Heat can be caused by the friction between the moving parts and by combustion. The radiator will be responsible to cool the top portion of the engine. Cooling the remaining part of the engine, like timing gears, pistons, crankshaft, etc. will be up to the engine oil. As the engine oil passes over the heated surfaces, it’ll absorb the heat. The hot oil will travel to the oil sump, where it’ll be cooled by the air surrounding it.

What are the oil weight recommendations by Harley-Davidson?

While Harley-Davidson makes many types of motorcycles and motorcycle oils, it doesn’t affect what brand of oil you should choose. It is important to consider oil specifications as they are important when looking for oil. Under most circumstances, most Harley-Davidson motorcycles function with oil that carrier a weight of 20W-50. While the bike can handle temperatures ranging up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, there are some variations worth noting.

See also  How to Install Heel/Toe Shifter in Harley-Davidson Bikes

Harley-Davidson never recommends an oil grade that is higher than 60. This means you’ll be able to make any choice as long as you stay below the threshold. Moreover, use oil that has an excessively high viscosity rating will result in an improper lubrication and oil burning. Also, keep in mind that a higher number will not necessarily mean better performances. This is only a labeling system for different oil types.

Here are a few popular oil types for Harley-Davidson bike owners –

  • 10W-40: This option is perfect for Harley-Davidson owners who are living in cold areas. If you feel that the temperature outside doesn’t exceed 60° F, you’ll need to go for 10W-40 type engine oil.
  • 20W-50: This type of synthetic/full synthetic Harley-Davidson engine oil will be for bike owners within the 40°-100° F temperature range.
  • 50W Series: Normally, this kind of engine oil will come with a single weight limit. The ideal temperature range for optimal performance will be 60° F to 100° F.
  • 60W: If you’re living in a region where the temperatures are always between 80° F and 100° F or more, then this type of oil will be perfect.

What oil does Harley-Davidson recommend?

There are several options available in the market when you’re looking to choose an oil option for your Harley-Davidson bike. As long as you manage to stay away from the automobile-specific oil options, you’ll be good to go. There are many exciting oil options that you can go for.

One of the best oil options in the market for your Harley-Davidson motorcycle is the Mobil 1 Racing 4T Engine Oil. This oil option will be perfect for 4-stroke engines and is used for many motorcycle models. It has been engineered to help get the bike through extreme conditions, including very cold or very hot temperatures. If quality is what you’re after, there are very few better options than this one. The only potential negative for this oil is that it is a bit on the expensive side. However, if you’re looking to take the best possible care for your beloved Harley-Davidson bike, then it is an option worth investing in.

See also  Easy Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Oil on a Harley-Davidson Fatboy

In case you’re looking for an option that works with 2-stroke engines, then Lucas Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle oil will be perfect. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find a low ash oil that offers high-quality for 2-stroke engines. But this one will be perfect for your Harley-Davidson bike. Users have stated that their Harley-Davidson bikes run smoother and offer a more enjoyable experience after using this oil. Lucas oil options also meet and/or exceed all expectations set out by JASO. Another benefit of this product is that it is a bit cheaper than other synthetic oil options on the market.

For Harley-Davidson owners who are looking for high-quality performance but also want to ensure the price is low, there aren’t many options better than Castrol ACT EVO X-TRA 4T Engine Oil. This oil option is easy to afford, and Harley-Davidson riders consider it a faithful choice. It is readily available, and it’ll work with almost any kind of 4-stroke engine. It’ll perform better in higher temperatures as it isn’t full synthetic. If you’re looking for something reliable and affordable, there aren’t many  options better than Castrol ACT EVO X-TRA 4T Engine Oil.

Harley Davidson Bike Oil

If you’re looking to pamper your Harley-Davidson motorcycle with something higher in price but exceptional quality, then turn to Maxima Extra4 Synthetic Oil. This oil option certainly has a higher price as compared to other options on the market.

However, Harley-Davidson bike owners rave heavily over this option. The option is specifically manufactured for 4-stroke engines, with many users stating that their bikes experienced smoother shifting and better performance. It is specially formulated for racing as it is tested in extremely harsh conditions for motorcycles. If you’re looking for only the best, then the Maxima Extra4 Synthetic Oil will be perfect for you.

Keep in mind that when you’re changing your oil, make sure that you turn on the bike’s engine and let it run for 5-10 minutes. Then, you should drain it. Moreover, ensure that you’re wearing proper safety gear when dealing with and disposing of used oil. Remember to dispose of any used bike oil properly. This will ensure not just your safety, but also the safety of the environment.

See also  How To Install Exhaust Gaskets On A Harley

Can you use car oil for your Harley-Davidson bike?

There are Harley-Davidson bike owners who think they can simply use regular automobile oil in their bikes and save money. Whatever you may do, you should never think of using car synthetic engine oil on your Harley-Davidson bike. It is an approach that shouldn’t even be considered.

The needs of cars and bikes are very different when you consider lubrication. For instance, the car engine oil will come with high levels of friction modifiers added. These friction modifiers will make sure that the automobile engine is running smoothly and producing high gas mileage.

However, these friction modifiers can also hurt your bikes. Having too many friction modifiers will result in a clutch slip. This will, in turn, damage the transmission of your beloved Harley-Davidson bike. The best oil option for your Harley-Davidson will be up to you. However, if there is one oil that shouldn’t be in that consideration, then it is certainly car synthetic engine oil.

Even if you’ve used it, after the first, the engine will sound pretty good. Everything will feel and sound smooth for a couple of months. However, after a while, the engine will start becoming noisy, and not in a good way. You’ll notice overheating, traction issues, and other mechanical failures. Motorcycle engines tend to produce higher revs at a much higher gear change pace.

In comparison, car engines tend to operate at a comparatively lower rev pace. Moreover, the chemical composition of motorcycle oil and car oil is also very different. They’re created in a way such that they can withstand temperature changes at different rates. Moreover, the resistance to friction percentage will also be different. Hence, you should never use car engine oil for your Harley-Davidson bike under any circumstances.


Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know all about what oil does Harley-Davidson recommend and which option is best for you. After reading this article, you’ll know that there are many options available to choose from. You’ll be spoilt for choices after seeing the alternatives for your motorcycle. The final choice will be yours, but Harley-Davidson recommends using oil that carries a weight of 20W-50. But you must remember one key detail. Regardless of the choice you make, make sure that you choose one that is less than the threshold of 60.

Photo of author
White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.

Leave a Comment