Oil Types For A Harley

When it comes to caring for your Harley, not all oils are created equal.

According to Harley-Davidson, owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles should use only Harley oil in order to protect their vehicles and guarantee optimal performance. High quality, motorcycle-specific Harley-Davidson oil is the best choice for anyone in possession of a Harley vehicle. According to the company website, the company routinely tests the oil and states it is superior to other oils.

Viscosity Grade

Harley-Davidson recommends the use of viscosity grade SAE 20w50 Harley-Davidson oil for all temperatures. In addition, the SAE 50 grade is suitable for ambient temperatures falling between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while the SAE 60 grade can be used in ambient temperatures between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. All Harley-Davidson motorcycle oils can be used at temperatures at or under 300 degrees Fahrenheit before breakdown.

Oil Changes

Heavy traffic can take a toll on your Harley’s engine and require more frequent oil changes.

All Harley-Davidson cycles besides the V-Rod run on an air-cooled engine — as opposed to a liquid-cooled engine. While an air-cooled engine requires more frequent oil changes overall, the frequency with which the oil is changed depends primarily upon the motorcycle’s usage. If you use your air-cooled vehicles often, particularly in heavy traffic or high temperatures, you will need to change the oil more frequently.


In addition to the performance advantage indicated by the Harley-Davidson engineers’ tests, Harley oil also offers other benefits according to Harley Riders Guide. These benefits are specific to motorcycles and include corrosion and rust inhibitors, such as zinc and sulfur, as well as anti-acids, anti-foam agents, detergents and dispersants to keep your vehicle stored safely and running smoothly.