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How Often Should I Change Oil On My Dirt Bike?

A dirt bike oil change is simple, but sometimes it is too simple that people forget to change it, and then they wonder why their engine has problems after so few hours of riding.

Oil to an engine is like blood to our bodies. As long as it’s good and clean and continues pumping, it’ll keep the engine going.

But if not maintained, the life of the engine will be significantly reduced. This maintenance is as simple as changing out the oil after so many hours of ride time.

Why Is It So Important to Change Oil?

Oil, when clean, provides the proper lubricity that is needed to keep engine parts moving, rotating, and sliding without it causing premature wear.

Oil breaks down and doesn’t lubricate as well over time and because of contaminates such as dirt. This is why it’s so important to keep your dirt bike’s air filter clean as well.

If you keep on riding with the same engine oil and filter, the oil will lose its lubricity and metal parts will start to heat up more from more friction. This is the reason why you may see metal dust or shavings in the oil when you drain it.

Street Legal Dirt Bike Oil Change

If you’re on a street legal dirt bikebike, and you use it often, I would recommend changing it every few months, just so that the oil doesn’t get dirty and start damaging internal engine parts.

Off-Road Dirt Bike Oil Change

Off-road bikes, or dirt bikes, are probably the easiest. All you have to do is check the oil level and color every time you ride. If it starts getting low then you should add enough oil to get it to the minimum oil level and consider changing it before your next ride.

If the color is brownish-gray, that means it is getting dirty and a oil change should be done in the near future. If the oil is black, then you definitely want to change it because it is old and probably getting dirty. If you don’t ride everyday, then I would suggest changing your off-road dirt bike oil two to three times a year.

Motocross Bike Oil Change

Motocross dirt bikes require a little more maintenance for pretty much everything. Regular oil changes are key, especially if you are racing.

If you haven’t changed the oil in a while and you go race, then there’s a slight chance that you will lock up the motor, and that is not what you want to happen during a moto.

I suggest changing the oil on a motocross bike every 1-2 races. Possibly more if you’re riding a lot in between race days.

In a 4 stroke dirt bike, you can go about 10-15 hours between oil changes. The more sand and mud you ride in, and the more aggressive you ride (higher RPM), the more often you should change the oil.

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Howard Crabtree

Thursday 25th of May 2023

Your recommendations align with my practices. I have had multiple KTM 500excfs, which I recreationally ride on and off road, never race, about 3 thousand miles per year. Whereas my friends change their oil every 10 hours, I change it probably every 50 hours, unless I'm doing very dusty rides. I add it when it gets low and use the high end synthetic oils. Never once had a problem. I think my friends are following motocross racing oil change policies when they're only trail riding. Seems excessively spendy in terms of time and money. I also think they just like being in the garage, away from wife and family, and oil change work well for that! I live right by the trail system in Cle Elum, WA. I'd rather be riding than working on the bike.

Kelley Fager

Thursday 25th of May 2023

Hey Howard, thanks for sharing! I totally hear ya - I often go more than 10 hours if the oil isn't dirty. Keeping it full, as you mentioned, is key to longevity! Especially if you're a casual rider that isn't hard on stuff (rev limiter/sand/mud). I also would rather be riding or spending time with my family than wrenching!