Change A Harley Softail Oil Filter

Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles duplicate the classic lines of a rigid frame. In keeping with this popular and dated look, the oil system resembles that of the older model motorcycles. The oil reservoir, called the oil bag, is under the seat and is visible on the right side of the bike. The oil filter is in front of the engine, in an area that was originally used for the bike’s generator/alternator. The oil filter and the old generators are similarly shaped, and positioned as it is, the filter mimics the look of the old generator.


1. Place the catch pan under the oil filter under the front of the frame. Wipe any road grime from the old oil filter and filter base.

2. Grasp the filter firmly by hand and spin it off counterclockwise. Stubborn or stuck filters may need to be removed with a filter wrench or Buford pliers.

3. Wipe the filter base faceplate with a clean shop rag. Remove any old oil and debris from the faceplate and ensure that the old oil filter gasket is not stuck to it. Clean up any oil that may have dripped down from the filter base.

4. Lubricate the gasket on the new oil filter with fresh oil. Fill the filter about one-third full with fresh oil. Slide the filter onto its mount and quickly spin it on until it bottoms out on the filter base. Tighten the filter another half to three-quarters of a turn by hand. Do not overtighten the oil filter.

5. Clean up any remaining oil around the filter and test run the bike. Check for leaks around the oil filter.