Harley Recommended Oil Weights


Harley-Davidson motorcycle engines are air-cooled, which sets them apart from many water-cooled engines. Air-cooled engines run warm and therefore require a higher viscosity (thicker) motor oil. Harley-Davidson has made nine different types of engines, starting in 1929. Each Harley-Davidson model may have a different oil recommendation, and other variables exist: "Refer to your Harley-Davidson owner's manual for the proper SAE grade recommendation based on the climate and temperature range you ride in," according to the Harley-Davidson official website. Harley-Davidson recommends the use of its own Harley-Davidson H-D 360 motorcycle oil, made of 75 percent premium mineral oil and 25 percent performance additives.

All Temperatures

  • Harley-Davidson recommends SAE 20W50 viscosity grade oil for "all temperature conditions," according to the Harley-Davidson website. The SAE 20W50 oil covers the biggest range of operating temperatures and is ideally used in ambient temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degree Fahrenheit.

Low Temperatures

  • Low temperatures, those of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less, call for Harley-Davidson SAE 10W40 H-D Motorcycle Oil. Harley-Davidson classifies this oil viscosity as "appropriate for low temperature climates." The SAE 10W40 H-D Motorcycle Oil is formulated to guard against low-temperature problems such as erratic idle and lack of power.

High Temperatures

  • Harley-Davidson recommends SAE 60 H-D Motorcycle Oil for ambient temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. SAE 60 H-D Motorcycle Oil is formulated to prevent engine overheating in high temperatures. Since Harley-Davidson engines already run warm, it is important to guard against overheating by using the proper oil in high-temperature conditions.

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