The Harley Davidson Softail is one of Harley’s most popular
motorcycle types. It is a solidly built bike with a great reputation for
high performance. However, without proper maintenance on your part, the
vehicle will not be able to work at its full potential, and you may
even run into problems in regards to the long term security of the bike
systems. Changing the oil periodically is a great way to keep the engine
from overheating and to prevent major and irreparable damage to your
bike. You should plan to change the oil every 3000 miles or so. Before
you take your Softail in to a service station to have it worked on that
way, it’s a good idea to think about changing the oil yourself and at
home. This process should take no more than about an hour, and you’ll
save both time and money over the process of taking it in to a service
place.

Step 1 — Gather Your Materials

You’ll need the following materials in order to change the oil on your Harley Davidson Softail:

  • New oil packages (several quarts)
  • Oil collection pan
  • Socket wrench
  • Paper towels
  • Newspapers
  • Cardboard
  • Funnel
  • Jack stand
  • New oil filter and gasket set (optional)

Step 2 — Prep the Bike

Begin by mounting the bike up on its kick stand. If you have a
separate jack stand that you can use to mount the rear of the bike up so
tat you can better access the oil, this is a good idea as well. Place a
set of newspapers around on the ground where you’ll be working, as the
oil can sometimes shoot out and cause a mess. Wait until the engine has
cooled down significantly but not until it’s completely cool before you
continue.

Step 3 — Drain the Old Oil

First, you’ll need to drain the oil from the Softail. Unscrew the
filler cap by hand. This will cause the oil to settle at the bottom of
the oil pan in the motorcycle, which will make it easier to drain. Then
place the oil collection pan underneath the oil container so that you’ll
be able to collect the oil in one place. Unscrew the drain plug by
hand, but be cautious and go slowly. The oil will begin to drip into the
collection pan. Use a piece of cardboard to channel the oil into the
pan, if you’d like. Allow the oil to drain completely over several
minutes, then clean up the container and the drain pan with a set of
paper towels.

Step 4 — Check and Change the Filter, if Necessary

Remove the oil filter from the area around the drain plug. Use a
socket wrench to unscrew it, then allow it to drain into the pan as
well. Examine the filter for signs of damage and corrosion. If there are
any, replace it with a new filter. Otherwise, place the oil filter back
onto the motorcycle. There are some filters that will not need to be
changed as often as the oil in your bike,but it’s a good idea to check
on them every time you change the oil anyway. You can do the same with
the gasket system, if you’d like.

Step 5 — Replace the Oil

Close up the drain plug once again and make sure that the oil
container is secure. Place the funnel in the top of the oil container
and then pour in new oil into the container. Be sure to follow the
instructions on your Harley Davidson owner’s manual to determine exactly
how much oil will be necessary for your motorcycle.

All of the different tools and items that you’ll need for this
project are available at your local motorcycle repair shop or at a
hardware store. Ask a Harley Davidson specialist or a mechanic for any
additional advice that you might need.