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Where Is the Oil Filter on a Motorcycle?


Author: HUACHANG - Best Automotive Filter Manufacturer In China

Where Is the Oil Filter on a Motorcycle?

Motorcycles, like any other mechanical device, require regular maintenance to ensure their optimum performance and longevity. One crucial aspect of maintenance is changing the oil regularly, which involves locating and replacing the oil filter. However, for many motorcycle owners, finding the oil filter can be a daunting task. In this article, we will explore the various locations of oil filters on motorcycles and guide you through the process of locating and changing them. So, if you've been wondering, "Where is the oil filter on a motorcycle?" - you've come to the right place!

Understanding the Importance of an Oil Filter

The oil filter is an essential component of a motorcycle's lubrication system. Its primary function is to remove impurities and particles from the engine oil, preventing them from circulating and causing harm to the engine. Over time, these impurities can accumulate and compromise the performance and reliability of the motorcycle. Therefore, changing the oil filter at regular intervals is crucial to maintain the engine's health.

Typical Oil Filter Locations

Motorcycle manufacturers have different design configurations, leading to a variation in oil filter placement. However, certain common locations make finding the oil filter a little easier. Let's take a look at them:

1.1 Underneath the Engine:

Most motorcycles feature an oil pan, located directly under the engine. The oil filter is often found attached to the oil pan, extending outwards. To access it, you might need to remove the engine cover or a protective shield. However, this is a popular location, especially in cruisers and some sportbike models.

1.2 Behind the Exhaust:

In some motorcycles, the oil filter is positioned behind the exhaust headers. It may require removing the exhaust system or specific panels to gain access. This location is often found in sportbikes, where space is limited due to aerodynamic considerations.

1.3 On the Side of the Engine:

Many motorcycles have the oil filter conveniently located on the side of the engine block. You can find it by tracing the oil lines from the bottom of the engine. In some cases, you might need to remove side panels or protective covers to reach the oil filter.

1.4 Near the Front Wheel:

In a few motorcycle models, particularly those with front-mounted radiators, the oil filter can be found near the front wheel or front lower part of the engine. This location allows easy access without the need for extensive disassembly.

1.5 Inside the Engine:

While rarer, certain motorcycles have internal oil filters that are not externally accessible. These filters need to be replaced during an engine overhaul or a major service. It's essential to consult your motorcycle's service manual or the manufacturer for guidance on this type of filter.

Locating the Oil Filter on Specific Motorcycle Brands

Different motorcycle brands have varied oil filter placements. Here are a few notable brands and their common oil filter locations:

2.1 Harley-Davidson:

Harley-Davidson motorcycles generally have the oil filter located on the front lower part of the engine. It is accessible from underneath, usually after removing the engine cover. However, newer models may have the oil filter behind the exhaust.

2.2 Honda:

Honda motorcycles often have the oil filter located on the side of the engine block. It can be easily accessed by removing the side cover or protective panels.

2.3 Yamaha:

Yamaha motorcycles typically have the oil filter positioned on the side of the engine, similar to Honda bikes. Again, removing side panels or covers grants access to the filter.

2.4 Kawasaki:

Kawasaki motorcycles often have the oil filter located on the bottom of the engine, underneath the bike. You may need to remove the engine cover or protective plate to reach it.

2.5 BMW:

BMW motorcycles commonly have the oil filter located on the front lower section of the engine or near the front wheel. Accessing it requires removing the lower fairing or protective covers.

Steps to Change the Oil Filter

Now that you have located the oil filter on your motorcycle, let's walk through the process of changing it:

3.1 Gather the Required Tools:

To change the oil filter, you'll need a few tools such as a socket wrench or an oil filter wrench, a drain pan, new engine oil, a new oil filter, and potentially a new O-ring or gasket.

3.2 Prepare the Motorcycle:

Make sure the motorcycle is on a level surface and the engine is cool. Additionally, consult your motorcycle's owner manual to identify any specific precautions or steps unique to your model.

3.3 Drain the Oil:

Position the drain pan beneath the oil drain plug and remove it using a socket wrench. Allow the old oil to drain completely and dispose of it responsibly.

3.4 Remove the Old Oil Filter:

Using an oil filter wrench or your hands, unscrew the old oil filter in a counterclockwise direction. Be cautious of any oil that may spill during removal.

3.5 Install the New Oil Filter:

Apply a thin layer of clean engine oil on the rubber seal of the new oil filter. Screw the new filter onto the engine by hand, ensuring it is snug but not overtightened. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the correct torque specifications.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Here are some additional tips to consider when changing your motorcycle's oil filter:

4.1 Follow the Recommended Schedule:

Refer to your motorcycle's service manual to determine the recommended oil change interval. Adhering to the manufacturer's guidelines ensures your motorcycle maintains optimal performance.

4.2 Use High-Quality Filters:

Always use high-quality oil filters recommended by your motorcycle's manufacturer. Cheap or inferior filters may not effectively remove contaminants, leading to potential engine damage.

4.3 Dispose of Old Oil Responsibly:

Used oil is considered hazardous waste and should not be thrown away with regular trash. Contact your local recycling or waste management facility for the proper disposal of old oil and filters.

4.4 Check Oil Levels:

After changing the oil filter and refilling the engine with fresh oil, verify that the oil level is within the recommended range using the motorcycle's dipstick or sight glass.

4.5 Seek Professional Assistance, if Necessary:

If you are unsure or uncomfortable changing your motorcycle's oil filter, consider consulting a professional motorcycle mechanic who can efficiently perform the task.


Knowing where the oil filter is on your motorcycle and how to change it is essential for proper maintenance. By regularly changing the oil filter along with the engine oil, you can enhance the performance, reliability, and longevity of your motorcycle's engine. Always consult your motorcycle's owner manual for specific instructions and seek professional advice when needed. Happy riding!


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