Changing the oil and oil filter is the single most cost-effective maintenance you can perform on your motorcycle. Conversely, not changing the oil regularly is the single, easiest way to destroy your motorcycle from the inside out.

To start off, the legwork on what oil and oil filters to use has already been done by Mark at this site. This includes break-in procedures and all kinds of other things. The oil and oil filters I use came from the research on that site. Below you will find the simple step-by-step, illustrated approach to changing the oil on the ST1300. On average, it takes me about 35 minutes to change both oils (engine and gear) and replace the filter. Final cost of doing so runs about $20-$30 in materials. Go to your dealer and ask how much to do the same work and how long it'll take to do it. Believe me, you too will be changing your own oil.

If you don't already have one, get an oil drain pan. This one is $10 at most auto supply stores. It fits perfectly under the bike and holds all the oil. Once drained, you can use the spout to pour it into a milk jug or whatever for proper disposal.

Step 1: Warm the oil
Put the bike on the centerstand, then warm up the bike from cold, running it for about 3 minutes. Don't change the oil after a long ride or you're just going to burn yourself, badly.

Step 2: Access the oil fill cap
Take off the right plastic head cover. You only need to take off the small access panel in the right fairing to do this. Push the center pin in with an awl and the remove the flap. After you do this, pop the cover out toward you then move it forward to slide it off.

Step 3: Remove the oil fill cap
Remove the oil fill cap to provide an air flow to help the oil drain. Note the position of the cover stud, as this is what the cover snaps onto when you put it back on later.

Step 4: Drain the oil
Loosen the oil drain plug using a 17mm wrench, but don't remove. Put the oil drain pan under the hole, then remove the plug. I just let it drop down and get caught in the pan's netting and retrieve it later. Let the oil drain for about 10 minutes or longer if you're not in a hurry.

Step 5: Clear the crankcase oil (optional)
Be aware, some people get bent out of shape when I recommend this next part. I have always done it. Do it or don't do it, it's up to you.

Now you want to blow out the remaining oil from the engine, so with the drain pan fully in place, you're going to start the engine, but only let it run for about two seconds. Basically start her up and let the motor blow out the oil for this slice of time, then kill the engine. If you're worried about a full fledged start without an oil supply, don't, but if you're paranoid, you can remove the four spark plug wires (don't forget the left side too) and just let the starter turn the pistons. Either way it helps get the last bit of grimy oil out of the crankcase. Now let it drain for another few minutes.

Step 6: Replace the drain plug
After the oil has drained, retrieve the plug and clean any grime off it. Replace the plug and tighten until it's secure, but not too tight. Wipe off any excess oil from the plug or elsewhere.

Step 7: Remove the old oil filter
Now it's time to change the filter, which you should do at every oil change. Before removing it, put the bike on the sidestand. Trust me, it's much easier. I only recommend the sidestand for changing the filter. It's not a good idea to work under a 700lb bike on just the sidestand, but for the oil filter, you'll be going in from the right side of the bike. If it does happen to fall, it won't fall on you.

Because oil may drip on it, wrap the exhaust section with aluminum foil as shown but be careful of it being hot. Note the place where the filter attaches to the bike, because this is where a lot of oil will come out. Position the drain pan under this spot. Remove the filter using an oil filter strap wrench (recommended) or if absolutely necessary, a screwdriver pounded through it. The first filter replace is the toughest, because the factory over-tightens them. Remove the filter (you may have to lower the centerstand a bit to work the filter out, just be careful not to spill) and quickly place it in the drain pan. A rag is helpful here in case there is excess spillage from the filter connection point. Let the connection point drain into the pan for a few minutes.

One other quick note. Sometimes the wrench gets "stuck" on the filter because of friction. In either case of removing the old or installing the new filter, if the wrench gets stuck, take a small hammer and tap (don't hit!) the wrench all over and around the edge. This will loosen up the wrench and it will eventually come off. If you get a good initial fit on the filter and make sure it's on all the way, it will usually be easier to remove the wrench when you're done.

Step 8: Install the new oil filter
Now install the new filter. I use the Purolator PureONE filter PL14610 (not the basic one), available online and at most auto stores for under $10. If you want, use an OEM replacement from your dealer (more expensive in general).

Take a bit of the new oil and rub it on the rubber gasket of the new filter, then screw it on. Tighten it until it is secure, but not too tight.

Step 9: Fill the oil
Now you're ready to fill the oil. I like to leave the bike on the sidestand for this, because it's a little easier pouring the oil in when the bike's on a tilt. Get yourself a long funnel (I like one with a screw cap on both ends so you don't need to clean it after every change)...

and then slowly pour in the oil into the fill cap hole. You need one gallon. The manual calls for just over a gallon, so it won't hurt if you put in a bit more, but a gallon works just fine and is much more convenient. Now, what oil to use? If you're still breaking in your bike and haven't yet reached the break-in point (1000-2000 miles), use Shell Rotella T 15w-40 petroleum oil, available at about $15/gallon (white bottle). If you've already broken in your bike, use Shell Rotella T 5w-40 synthetic oil, available at about $20-$30/gallon (blue bottle). I've found it at Tractor Supply Company, Autozone and Wal-Mart. Yes, both are automobile oils and both work perfectly. Again, read this site to learn all about oils and why you shouldn't waste money on OEM motorcycle oils and filters.


Step 10: Finishing up with the engine oil
Seal up the oil fill cap and double-check the drain plug and filter for leaks and tightness. Put the bike back on the centerstand and if all looks good, fire her up. Let her run for about 5-10 minutes. Check for leaks again and if there are none, replace all the covers and the engine oil change is now done.

Step 11: Change the hypoid gear oil
Drain the hypoid gear oil. Do this at every oil change as well. It is a scientific fact that you cannot change your oil too much. The rear oil is relatively cheap for the good stuff and is easy to change. Using a 17mm wrench, loosen the gear drain plug. Position the drain pan (you may have to create a little aluminum foil trough to reach the pan) and then remove the 17mm bolt. Let the oil drain for about 5-10 minutes. While it's draining, wipe the bolt clean of any magnetic particles. After it's done draining, replace the bolt, tightening until it's secure, but not too tight.

Step 12: Fill the hypoid gear oil
Now remove the fill plug with a 17mm wrench and fill the oil until just before it comes back out. It's about 1/6th of a quart. Once done, wipe any excess oil, clean the plug of any metal flakes and replace. Again, tighten until it's secure, but not too tight.

So which oil to use on the rear drive? Here's the best stuff to put back there. Mobil 1 75w-90 synthetic gear lubricant, about $7-$10 at any auto supply store.

Step 13: Finishing Up
Run the bike around the block and then come back and check for leaks anywhere you just fiddled with the bike. If you see none, you're all done.

Please remember to dispose of used oil and filters in an environmentally-responsible manner.