Use A Sportster Oil Tank

Your Sportster engine contains thousands of mostly metal parts that move at up to 5,000 revolutions per minute. The three quarts of oil in your Sportster oil tank minimizes friction between these parts, scavenges worn metal and carbon from gasoline combustion and helps carry excess heat out of the engine through the exhaust. Maintenance on your Sportster oil tank includes checking, adding and changing the oil.


1. Remove the cap from the top of the oil tank on the right side of the bike. Wipe the dipstick attached to the cap with a clean rag.

2. Inspect the oil on the rag. The blacker it is, the more carbon it contains and the more likely the oil is saturated and worn out.

3. Reinsert the dipstick fully into the oil tank. Remove the dipstick and look at where the oil is on the dipstick. If the oil level is below the mark on the dipstick that says “add oil” you should add oil.

4. Add a third of a quart of 20W-50 motorcycle oil to the oil tank. Read the oil level on the dipstick. If still low, add another third of a quart of oil and read the dipstick again. Repeat these steps until the oil reaches the mark on the dipstick that reads “full.”

5. Replace the oil in the oil tank at least every 3,000 miles. Begin to drain the oil from the oil tank by removing the oil filler cap.

6. Loosen the oil drain hose from the clip under the oil tank with a screwdriver or your fingers. Put a drain pan under the motorcycle.

7. Aim the end of the drain hose into the drain pan. Loosen the hose clamp near the end of the drain hose with a screwdriver.

8. Remove the metal plug inside the end of the drain hose with a pair of pliers. Drain all the used oil into the drain pan.

9. Replace the metal plug and hose clamp and remove the pan. Replace the drain hose in the clip.

10. Place the drain pan under the front of the motorcycle. Remove the black or chrome oil filter on the front right of the Sportster with an oil filter wrench.

11. Drain the oil from the filter into the drain pan. Clean up spilled oil with rags. Discard the old filter.

12. Smear clean oil on the oil filter’s rubber gasket with your finger to help the gasket swell tight. Hand tighten the new oil filter on the oil filter stud.

13. Add three quarts of new oil to the oil tank.