Monday, February 3, 2014

How to Change The Oil On a Harley Davidson Street Glide

I've done this post in the past but it was done over the course of 2 weeks and it only had pictures. This time we made a video of the process which is much better and easier to follow. I had wanted to do something like this before but just never got around to it. We made 2 videos, one for my Street Glide and the other for Margaret's Softail Deluxe which I will post in a couple weeks. Since I broke down the savings involved in servicing your own bike in the last oil change post it wont be covered in this one. Here is the link if you want details into the savings by doing this yourself.

This content has been moved to Ride it Wrench it.


  1. I just watched the video on oil change and it told n
    me exactly what I needed to know, where the plugs were and how much oil in the primary. Due to fines and jail time that the post office threatens us with, maybe you should edit out the part about where you get your cardboard though.

  2. Hi DiggDugg, I've been impressed with your videos and found the Softail oil change very insightful and well done. I just hit 25k miles on my Heritage, and don't know what to do since it's a big maintenance and the dealership will charge like $500 for it. . .any suggestions? The owner's manual list of things to do is LONG and intimidating, and makes me think I should just pay for it. Any help here? Thanks in advance!!


    1. First, don't be intimidated, its maintenance, not repairs. Second, read my post at the following link and it will help you decide if doing maintenance is something you want to begin doing.

      If you want to get into maintenance its really not difficult. A few special tools that you'll use every time if you don't already have them which could be paid for by saving the $500 the dealership is going to charge you. If you study in detail the 25k maintenance list you will also notice that most of the tasks are visual inspections, like checking the brake fluid level through the glass of the master cylinder and checking the electronic switches and controls. Seriously?! They are going to charge you to tell you things like your blinkers are working......Another one is checking the fuel lines for leaks and abrasions: I think you would know if fuel is leaking so just check the lines where they may have touched engine parts that could have worn through the lines....easy enough. The list is long but nearly all of it is something most people can do. My wife even does her own oil changes on her softail deluxe. The most difficult maintenance task would be the fork oil change but if your not comfortable with doing that you can always pay for just that one maintenance task and do the rest yourself.

      The next concern is are they really going to perform all of the tasks on the list? How would you know if they did or not? Doing it yourself insures the work is done. Also, how do you know that they are doing the work correctly? My Softail Deluxe oil change video shows how a dealership over tightened the oil filter on the 1000 mile maintenance. At the 10k mark on my street glide I found they didn't lubricate the steering head bearings on the 1000 mile maintenance. I used half a tube of lube which never should have happened if it had been done like it should have. We always pay for the 1000 mile maintenance since that is the critical break in period and then do it ourselves from then on. Bottom line is: are you really getting what your paying for?

      My YouTube channel under Rumbling Rider covers almost every maintenance task on the list, including fork oil change if you ever want to tackle that. There are videos that detail maintenance tasks on my YouTube channel that I have not blogged about and you'll find its not hard. I recently rolled 52K miles on my Street Glide and it still runs great. The only things that I have taken it in for was a rocker box leak, the gasket was bad, the voltage regulator which turned out to be a recall part, and the shift lever broke where it connects to the tranny (they had to pull the primary off to fix that) all of this was covered under warranty. There have been no breakages due to maintenance neglect.

      So, you can do you own maintenance, you can do it well, and you can save money doing it, and your bike will continue to run well by doing it yourself.

      In the end it is a decision each rider will have to make. Hope this helps!

      Ride Strong, Ride Safe

  3. DiggDugg, thanks for the outstanding info. . .I sincerely wish I had a friend like you close by that I could do this stuff with!! :) I just completed my first oil change on the Engine, and only made a small mess. I didn't do the other two yet because my maintenance schedule says only every 10k miles do I need to do those.

    I think there are a couple things that I'll need to have the shop do when I hit 30k miles. . .something about disassembling the fork bearings and such. . .pretty hard to do I guess according to him. Then a change of the fuel filter inside the gas tank, which I have no idea how to do. Otherwise, I can see how just keeping an eye on things could be sufficient for a lot of the checks.

    Anyway, thanks again for all the time you put in on those videos, I'll have to reference those again soon. One final big question for you. . .Have you ever done a handlebar job yourself? They are SO expensive to pay the shop to do, but I don't know if I'm up to the task of trying it on my own, running new cable, etc. On your difficulty scale, how hard is that one? :)

    Thanks again.

  4. I always change the oil on all 3 holes everytime I do an oil change. You can change the oil as often as you like and it wont hurt anything. You can however wait too long to change oil and do engine damage. So it's easier to get into the habit of doing all 3 holes at once, the cost is negligible at that point, and you make the oil mess all together one time too :)

    Forks are tough without special tools. You'll need a vice, fork clamps, a fork seal driver, and a jack to lift the bike. It's not easy rebuilding forks especially without the proper tools. Changing the fork oil is easy enough but tearing them out and rebuilding can be a challenge. Start with the easier maintenance and slowly work into the harder stuff. Or just pay for some of the particularly difficult tasks that require special tools and skills. You'll still save a lot of money and get some hands on for your bike. When I have the forks rebuilt and seals replaced I will remove the forks and take them to the shop. That way I will only be paying the labor to rebuild the forks, not the labor to remove them and reinstall them. This would be the same with tires. Remove the tire and take it in for the mounting and balancing, then put it back on yourself instead of paying the labor. You can often cut your cost tremendously by performing part of the work yourself.

    Fuel filter is a good one, I might work on a video for that soon. Handlebars...I've not done them, there are a couple of very good videos out there that will show the process. Personally I would jump right in and try it since I have everything I need to do it and have done enough mechanic related work through my life not to be afraid of it. If you don't have a secure confidence level to begin with though it would be better to pay to have it done by someone that's familiar with the process. Difficulty scale from what I've seen and working on bikes? 8 out of 10 for a Street Glide. I would go down to a 6 out of 10 for a bike without a fairing.

    Like I always say, purchase a service manual for your bike so you'll have accurate info related to whatever process your performing. And, if you get in over your head, you can always haul it to the dealership to fix it.

  5. Thanks for the videos. I'm new to cycles and a prefer to DIY as much as possible so these are great. The trans dipstick comes out very easy with a 3/8 hex and a swivel socket adapter. Allen requires too much zen for me. :)

  6. Thank you for your videos. Usually i'm using but i'll back to the USA soon and my favorite service will be in 10000 kilometers.