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How to change motorcycle oil, Kawasaki Vulcan

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Published on Aug 29, 2012

The Vulcan, like many motorcycles, uses the same oil to lubricate both the engine and the transmission. I demonstrate how I cleaned the oil screen and replaced motorcycle oil and oil filter on a 1995 Kawasaki Vulcan VN800. Workflow and safety issues are discussed.

As a general principle it is probably best to run the vehicle for a few minutes before and immediately after oil is replaced. One advantage of this is that, when warm, the oil will drain more quickly and more completely, possibly flushing suspended impurities more easily. But the biggest advantage in my opinion is that if the engine is recently run, you will still have oil filling micropassages in the top of the engine, which offers some transient lubrication when the engine is next started a few minutes later. The first start after an oil change has a longer fill time before lubrication hits the top of the engine, and if oil has recently spread there then the risk may be lower. Of course the disadvantage of running the vehicle before an oil change is that you might burn yourself on oil or on hot exhaust parts. If that is a problem on your vehicle you may decide to skip that step as a safety precaution.

Some motorcycles have a fill plug that may interfere with complete oil drainage until it is removed, caused by a vacuum effect. If your bike has such a plug then it is wise to remove it before draining the oil.

On some later model Vulcans, a couple of viewers have noted that the screen goes in the opposite way. Be sure to check the OEM manual for your vehicle, to ensure the parts are assembled correctly.

This review is published in good faith, but is not meant to be an complete instructional or a comprehensive guide. I am not a professional mechanic, and a pro might have done this very differently. Be sure to follow all safety precautions, especially be sure to wear safety glasses. Any misadventure resulting from your attempt to maintain your vehicle is your responsibility.

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