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How to Check Whether Your Bike Engine Oil is Functioning as Required

Team AckoNov 8, 2023

Modern bikes are incredibly reliable, but you should check a few things to get the most out of them, one of which is the engine oil level. Your bike’s engine oil level can tell you about the condition of internal parts. It should never be neglected; as it is a substantial component that lubricates and cools engine components, to keep your motorcycle engine running smoothly. If ignored or not maintained, it can result in the replacement of the engine, which is very expensive.

Checking and changing the engine oil regularly is highly recommended to avoid any mishaps or unwanted expenses. But how to check the engine oil level in a bike? It’s not a complicated process – you can check the bike’s engine oil level by removing the oil level gauge and checking the wet mark on the gauge.

Ideally, the wet oil mark should be between the full and low marks on the gauge.

How to Check Whether Your Bike Engine Oil is Functioning as Required



This is What Your Engine Oil Tells You About The Condition of Your Bike

Regular engine oil checking increases the chances of catching small problems before they become big problems. Here are what different engine oil features tell you about the functionality of your bike:

  1. If you see a beautiful amber colour of engine oil, just like it was poured out of the bottle is a great sign.

  2. If your engine oil looks black or dark, it needs to be changed.

  3. Take it to the nearby workshop if the engine oil smells like gas.

  4. A milky white colour usually means that coolant has penetrated the oil, which could mean an engine problem or a blown head gasket.

  5. If the oil consumption rate increases, it may indicate a valve or piston ring problem that needs investigation to determine the cause.

  6. This comprehensive guide reveals the signs of low engine oil and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to check your motorcycle’s engine oil level.

Signs That Your Bike Is Low On Engine Oil

Engine oil is of paramount importance when it comes to the effective functioning of your two-wheeler, but it doesn’t last forever. We've rounded up some of the most common signs of oil depletion or contamination in your motorcycle:

The Dipstick Shows Low Oil Content

You can use a dipstick, which is a stick-like strip of metal that fits like a knife in the oil pan sheath, to check the oil level. Most modern bikes come with digital indicators, but you must still check oil levels using a simple dipstick check method, ideally before each ride.

Poor Oil Condition

Your engine oil could be contaminated, which can result in poor quality or loss of the oil in the column. Bike engine oil can lose its functionality because of mileage, tear strength, and severity of riding conditions.

If The Oil Indicators Stay On

Modern bikes are equipped with indicators to let you know when the oil level is low. When the oil warning light comes on, it is a sign that your bike is low on oil which means it is time to check the oil level.

If it Has Been Sometime Since You Haven’t Changed the Oil

If you think your motorcycle has a low oil level and you've not been checking or changing it for over a month, it probably is. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations to check and prepare for an oil change every week to ensure that your bike will not run out of oil in the future.

If the Bike Engine Makes a Metallic Clattering Sound

This is an easy symptom to spot. A metallic clunk or a louder noise may be because your bike is low on oil. This could result in your engine parts losing their protective layer of grease and coalescing.

The Engine Is Hotter than The Normal

If your engine overheats, your bike may be low on oil. You can keep a constant check on bike thermometers or digital gauges that show engine temperature. If you notice that the engine is getting hot, check that the oil is at the proper level to ensure that the engine parts are not damaged.

Smell Of Burning Metal While Driving

Another serious symptom of low oil on your motorcycle is a burning metal smell. If you smell welding metal while driving, stop immediately and press the emergency stop button.

Engine Or Clutch Is Seizing

Engine or clutch seizures are the final signs of a lack of oil in a motorcycle engine. Riding your bike with a small amount of oil for long periods can cause these critical components to rub against each other, heat up, and fuse. If the piston welds to the cylinder wall of the engine, it will bite and stall the engine, instantly destroying your bike.

Procedure For Checking The Engine Oil Level

Follow this simple process to check the oil level in your motorbike:

Step 1 - First, park your bike on a flat surface. If your bike has a centre stand, use the centre stand or the paddock stand.

Step 2 – Let the engine idle for 10 minutes, then let it cool for 15 minutes. Freshly worked-up engine oil gives better results.

Step 3 - Remove the oil level gauge from the bike using pliers if it’s too tight. After removing the gauge, clean it, so it's easy to see when the oil level is full. The oil level indicator is now marked with two levels. The upper mark indicates "full", and the lower mark indicates "low".

Step 4 - Ideally, the level should fall between the high and low marks. Clean the oil level gauge first, and then put the oil gauge back in place, but do not screw it down. Put the gauge back in place and moisten it with engine oil to keep it at the current level.

Step 5 - Remove the oil level gauge and check the engine level with the wet mark on the gauge. This will tell you the engine oil level of your motorcycle.

If the engine oil mark is:

  • Between 'Full' and 'Low' – It is the correct level and will not need to be topped up or changed for some time.

  • Below the "Low" mark – It is time to change or top up the oil

  • Above the 'Full' mark – It means you need to drain excess oil


It is important to learn how to check your motorcycle’s engine oil leveland maintain it at the correct level. If the engine oil levels in a bike are not maintained, it can damage connecting rods, valves, crankshafts, transmissions, and the motorcycle's pistons may seize. The bike may have to be extensively rebuilt or replaced. We recommend using the signs earlier in this list to check and identify a low oil level on your bike. Also, remember to get the right comprehensive insurance, with consumable’s coverage and engine protection coverage; it can financially help you deal with such scenarios.

Also Read: Indicators for Bikes

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some common questions about motorcycle's engine oil level.


 How often should you check the bike’s oil level?

Practically, it is best to check the oil levels daily or weekly if you drive regularly.

How to check engine oil level in a bikefor a change? Normally it is recommended to change regular oil after a ride of 3000 km, semi-synthetic oil after 5000 km, and synthetic oil after 7000 km. However, you must refer to the motorcycle owner's manual before you go for any replacements.

Is synthetic engine oil different from semi-synthetic engine oils for bikes?

The major difference between both engine oil types is the number of additives in the oil. Semi-synthetic oils are "pure" compounds, whereas synthetic additives can improve a motorcycle's performance under heat conditions, offering better protection and efficiency for motorcycles.

Is it recommended to use car oil for bikes?

It is recommended not to use car engine oil for bikes as it may not provide the same level of engine performance and protection as it does not contain synthetic additives designed for motorcycles.

What factors should I consider before checking the oil level on my bike?

Before checking the oil, you should make sure that:

  • The bike is on level ground to maintain the accuracy of your measurements

  • When using a dipstick, make sure you use it when the bike is upright for a more accurate reading.

  • Check the oil level when the engine is cooled off or has been stationary for more than 15 minutes.

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