Take Extra Care When Swapping Your Bike's Oil Filter, Or Else

Being a motorcyclist and a gearhead has a lot of upsides, and one of them is the fact that you can service your own bike, provided the easy access to all parts they offer. However, you should pay close attention to what the manual says, or you might end up like this guy here.
Damaged oil filter 5 photos
Photo: J3dgar on
Damaged oil filter and consequencesDamaged oil filter and consequencesDamaged oil filter and consequencesDamaged oil filter and consequences
So, I was scrolling around on the Internet and stumbled upon this story of a man and his wife that went on a two-day trip on their motorcycles. Everything went well, but on their return, he noticed his bike was dripping oil. The problem intensified so much he had to call in for a tow truck and take it to the nearest service.

What was the problem caused by, you ask? An incorrectly tightened oil filter. He installed one of those filters that are fitted with a nut on the end sticking out, and he used it to tighten the filter.

Although it seems tempting to fit a socket wrench on that end nut, it's not quite a good idea to do it unless you are unscrewing the filter. The nut and its base aren't that well attached to the filter case (usually some spot welds), and you can break their bond if excessive force is used.

This, in turn, will let the oil leak through the gap and you'll either run out dry, busting the engine in the process, or get some of it on the rear tire and slide stupidly in the next corner.

What you should do is check with your bike's user/repair manual and see how the operation should be done. Some bikes only require their oil filter to be tightened by hand, while others will indicate a certain amount of torque it needs to seat properly in place, case where you'll need a torque wrench.

Usually, if the rubber gasket on the filter has a rectangular cross section, you don't need a special tool and the manual will indicate how much you should turn it in once seated. If there's an O-ring, it's the opposite, and you will need a torque wrench.

A special filter key that grips on the whole filter case is also nice to have around. From my personal experience, some of these filters tend to get stuck, and you'll end up bending it with improvised tools trying to get it out.
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