The performance of your Harley Davidson is, of course, dependent on the oil you are using. With the multiple purposes of the substance, i.e., lubrication, cleaning, and cooling down the engine and pipes, your motorcycle’s longevity may suffer or prosper. And it all gets even harder since Harley is no simple bike to ride in the country.
If you know the importance of oil for your vehicle, a question emerges “What oil is best for Harley Davidson?” And here, there is no direct answer but only options and opportunities. Now, let’s take a look, shall we?
Comparison Table of Best Oil for Harley Davidson in 2022:
You can turn to more expensive or cheaper options. Here are the top-3 from premium to the best budget option:
Premium Oil Options for Harley Davidson: Top 8 Products
- Lucas Oil High-Performance 20-W50 Motor Oil – Top Pick
- MaximaHiflofiltro VTEOCK15 Oil Change Kit – Premium Choice
- Castrol 03095 GTX 20W-50 Motor Oil – Budget Choice
- Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Motor Oil
- Red Line V-Twin Primary Case Oil
While the types of oils are rather simple, choosing a specific product is a little more complicated. There are quite a few manufacturers that produce good-quality oil but with few lubricants based on renewable resources. So determining which is the best oil for Harley Davidson motorcycles gets confusing.
Here, I have prepared my favorite options that I know work well because all of them have been put through practice a lot. Each review includes a table of upsides and downsides so that you can make up your mind about which will work best for you. Anyway, let’s have an insight into what oil to use in Harley Davidson engines.
1. Lucas Oil High-Performance 20-W50 Motor Oil – Best Classic Harley Davidson Oil
- Package Dimensions: 8.75 L x 9.13 H x 7.75 W (inches)
- Package Weight : 12.5 pounds
- Country of Origin : United States
- Part number: 10700
Slick and pure, the oil is a product of Lucas Oil, which is known for its moto maintenance products for high-speed motorcycles. It’s designed to outlast the general oil performance time expectations and make your engine go smoothly and steadily. Unlike other products of this type, Lucas Oil 20-W50 doesn’t include any high-acidity components, securing the pipe from pollutants.
The bottle weighs around 13lbs and contains ¼ of a gallon of pure engine oil. The amount is more than efficient for 4 to 5 pourings to keep the engine pumped up each time. Also, the manufacturer recommends acquiring a pack of 6 containers, which comes to about a year of constant use.
As for performance, the viscosity here is very moderate. With 20 units as a quick-start indicator and 50 units as the running thickness, the motor is well-coated in the summer-early-winter seasons. The thickness is more than enough to prevent blockage of the pipes, which makes it probably the most recommended oil for Harley Davidson.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Very efficient in warmer and cooler seasons
- Suffices for longer use
- Superb cooling capacity
- Comes in packs of four
- It is not recommended for late-winter use
2. MaximaHiflofiltro VTEOCK15 Oil Change Kit – Best Synthetic Oil for Harley Twin Cam
- Fits: Harley Davidson All Twin Cam Motorcycles (Electra Glide/Ultra, Street Glide, Road King, Softail, Dyna FLH/FLT/FXD/FXST/FLST) 2000-2015
- The V-Twin Engine Oil Change Kit includes 4 Quarts of Maxima V-Twin Full Synthetic 20w50 Engine Oil and a Chrome HiFloFiltro HF171CRC Premium Oil Filter
- Maxima V-Twin Full Synthetic is an ester based full synthetic motorcycle oil engineered to lower operating temperatures, reduce wear, increase film strength and offer extended protection
- HiFloFiltro Oil Filters are constructed using advanced high performance tri-fiber filtration media, with test results proving a 28percent longer service life than OE and leading competitor brands
- HiFloFiltro RC Oil Filters feature a 17mm cross drilled nut enabling easy installation, removal, and lock wiring
While the previous oil option is perfect for more classic HD models, this one is designed for the twin-cam bikes from the late 90s to 2016. It’s designed for cam engines whose cooling mechanism revolts around air puffs supplied through the push-rods. The oil facilitates the cooling process and smoothens the valve movement for better, speedier performance.
With the manufacturer providing a whole kit for oil changing, the process becomes much easier. The four bottles of 20W-50 oil, which come together in one pack, have 1qt of oil each to ensure engine maintenance without changing the product. This helps the engine accustom to a single oil type and perform better in the long run.
To ensure that the oil goes well with your HD, the manufacturer includes a filter. You can install it, using a standard nut, and remove it for cleaning when needed. Also, don’t forget that even the best oil for Harleys with a twin-cam needs some time for a quick start.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Great thermal regulation
- Compatible with Electra and Street Glide; Softail and Road King
- Increased 30% longevity rate
- Comes with a filter
- Not a fit for older models
3. Castrol 03095 GTX 20W-50 Motor Oil – Recommended Oil for Harley Davidson with Sludge
- For best performance, follow the manufacturer's recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual
- Maximum protection against viscosity and thermal breakdown
- Unique TriShield technology provides superior deposit protection
- Premium, custom made additives enable advanced performance
If you are worried about sludge and old oil deposits in your pipes, then you might want to consider this product. The oil is great for both general maintenance and regular oil tank refills. This way, you can not only ensure the longevity of your new Harley but also prolong the life of your old bike.
Yes, the oil is fully synthetic, which makes it perfect for older vehicles whose engine is a little worn out. Amounting to 1.25 gallons, each bottle is made to provide enough oil for your regular maintenance. Besides, you can order a pack of three to ensure that the product is sufficient for yearly refills.
Another great feature here is that the product is rather heat-resistant. It’s boiling-proof, preventing the engine from overheating and leaking, and can withstand temperatures higher than 212℉. This makes it perfect for high-speed riding in hot and warm climates where the wiring is harmed by high temperatures.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Perfect for cleaning the pipes from sludge
- Extends the life of a bike (up to 50 years)
- Low evaporation rate
- It might require you to change the filter
4. Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Motor Oil – Protective Harley Davidson Engine Oil
- Product Type:Auto Accessory
- Item Package Dimension:7.625 " L X8.125 " W X9.625 " H
- Item Package Weight:11.0 Lbs
- Country Of Origin: China
Another synthetic oil that suits best motorcycles with outdated transmission mechanisms lacks help in in-engine cleaning. It works the same way as a skin emollient, applying layers of smooth substances to the pipe walls. It helps cool down the overall mechanism and moves the gases more freely.
Following the required Harley Davidson oil weight, this one is 20W-50, so it’s perfectly capable of dealing with older models. The viscosity here is 20, which makes the oil very potent in warmer climates or while remaining idle. Interestingly, your running engine can get more damage just by standing in a traffic jam than at high speed.
Apart from keeping the walls smooth and protected, the oil doesn’t require constant changes. The thickness is not watery, which keeps the substance more steady, preventing fast expenditure. On the whole, the oil is synthetic, so you need to change it every 8,000 miles. Neat, right?[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Reasonable price
- Provides protection from in-pipe dirt
- Works well in cold temperatures
- Designed only for V-twin engines
5. Red Line V-Twin Primary Case Oil – Ultimate Motor Oil for Harley Davidson
- PRIMARY CASE OIL - For 1984-to-present V-Twin American motorcycle engines, including Evolution, Twin Cam, and aftermarket engines of similar design
- BOOSTS VEHICLE PERFORMANCE - Improves clutch operation while reducing wear and temperature, providing a longer clutch lifespan
- PERFORM & PROTECT - This product is for use in the primary chaincase with wet-diaphragm spring clutches. Perfect for Motorcycles, ATVs, and Powersports
- WHY RED LINE - Established in 1979, Red Line Products perform & protect better than any on the market. No compromises
- FRICTION BALANCED CASE OIL - Most synthetics are too slippery for clutch operation. Our V-Twin Primary Case Oil is a balanced oil limiting slip and performing a smoother operation
While most of the synthetic oils are aimed at dealing with the engine functioning, this one is more about the frame itself. It smoothly envelopes the clutch and all its conjoined gears to improve the combustion processes inside the pipes. On top of this, it’s a fit for all Harley models after the 1980s, which makes the product quite universal.
You can choose between one, three, four, or 12-quart bottles to suit your maintenance needs. The viscosity is even suitable for racing bikes, which normally require dense oils to prevent overheating inside the engine pipes. So don’t worry about taking your bike for a ride at 70mph; the engine won’t feel any difference.
The fluid is amber-colored because of the neutralizers for acidity. When applied, the engine produces sufficiently less noise than with similar-composition oils. Also, the stator remains much cooler than with a standard HD motor oil even after 2 hours of constant riding.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Tends to be the primary chain
- Doesn’t require changing the old filter
- Messy and leaves stains
6. Valvoline VR1 Racing SAE 20W-50 Motor Oil – Best Oil for Harley Davidson Motorcycles With Protection
- Race-level protection for high performance engines
- Compatible with gas and full or part-alcohol fuels
- High zinc and phosphorus formula for extreme anti-wear protection
- Formulated to maximize horsepower
You might be looking for a more multi-purpose oil, which can help you both with maintenance and power enhancement. The Valvoline VR1 is a Harley Davidson oil chart favorite that helps you keep the vehicle clean and well functioning. Moreover, it’s perfectly compatible with most Harley models and can be used throughout the year.
As the product is completely conventional, it doesn’t harm the piping or engine. The 1-quarter bottle is sufficient for keeping your bike running smoothly at any speed. Moreover, Valvoline normally provides its supplies in packs of four, where each bottle is strictly 20w-50.
Including zinc and phosphorus, the oil coats the inner piping walls with a protective layer. It prevents gases from congesting and causing any internal damage. Besides, there are no fuel limitations, and you can freely use both gas and diesel for your Harley.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Leaves no deposits
- Suitable for both old and new models
- Decelerates wearing out of the piping
- Doesn’t deprive the engine of smoke
7. Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 Diesel Engine Oil – Best Motorcycle Oil for Harley Davidson for Anti-Depositing
- Full synthetic 5W-40 diesel engine oil with Triple Protection Plus technology protects against wear, deposits, oil breakdown, and improves low-temperature flow
- Exceptional wear protection for longer life in a wide range of heavy-duty engine applications — from pickup trucks to tractors to semi rigs
- Enhanced fuel economy capability of 1.5 percent without compromising engine protection or durability (compared to 15W-40 oils)
- Multi-functional dispersant additives provide an enhanced level of protection against the effects of soot, dirt, and other contaminants (compared to previous formulation)
- Increased shear stability for better viscosity control and optimal engine oil pressure
It’s also possible that you are determined to get yourself a lower-viscosity product. In this case, Shell offers a high-quality option to reduce the pressure on your engine. It’s much better than the previous CJ-4 prototype, thanks to the exhaust-control technology.
Normally, each bottle contains one gallon of high-quality, purified 5W-40. With 5 as its weight, the oil ensures a fast and safe start that enables the motorcycle for quick responses. It’s highly compatible with diesel as the fuel and increases its in-pipe combustion depending on the quality of it.
If you need a low-deposit motor oil for Harley Davidson because of certain engine issues, then this oil is a perfect match. It reduces the gas emissions produced while riding and regulates the engine efficiency without overheating it. Additionally, the oil expenditure is reduced by 2% due to the thickness, which spares money and effort.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Deposit prevention
- Low expenditure
- No staining
- Reduced chemical smell
- Compatible only with diesel
8. Spectro T.HD25 Heavy Duty Oil – Best Oil for Harleys for Longevity
- Specifically built for use in American Made V-Twin Harley-Davidson engines
I’ve decided to finish my Top List with Spectro T.HD25 because of its cleanliness. While many other products tend to leave an excess of grease both on the engine and inside the pipes, this one simply doesn’t. It uses quite a few additives that prevent leaking and staining, making it the best synthetic oil for Harley twin-cam bikes.
As designated in the title, it’s a heavy-duty oil product. Its main purpose is to smoothen the piping of 20W-50-compatible engines and reduce their overall heat accumulation. Don’t worry about the ‘heavy-duty’ part; the oil barely deposits anything and is perfectly safe.
Besides, the oil is very versatile and can be used for other motor vehicles. It coats the walls well enough to reduce the heat and doesn’t have that synthetic stench other similar products do. The same thing applies to the stickiness and stains, no more of them.[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”Positives:”]
- Perfect for older HD models
- Potent of prolonging the engine life
- No carbon deposits
- Reasonable price
- High oil expenditure
Harley Davidson Oil: What’s the Difference?
Before getting to the products themselves, it’s essential to realize that there is no single Harley Davidson engine oil. The market offers us three types, which are as good as they are different, and you need to know what’s so special about them, as well as more about managing, reusing, and recycling used oil. So oils can be:
Mineral oils are crude in their viscosity and have few or no synthetic supplements to smoothen the substance. Such oils are extremely potent for motorcycles that are ‘fresh from under the counter or for vehicles that have less roomy engines often filled with petroleum.
Made of synthetic substitutes, such oils are cheaper and less gentle to the pipes. Though they still perform the same functions as those that are mineral, their viscosity is reduced, which some people find useful for speedy rides.
As a combination of the first two, semi-synthetic oils are good for both smoother engine performance and general pipe maintenance. Also, you would acquire some for your engine whose capacity is around 120-180cc.
What Oil is Best for Harley Davidson? – FAQ
Do you still have some more questions regarding who makes Harley Davidson oil or which to buy? Find the answers here!
How Do I Change the Oil in Harley Davidson Motorcycles?
First, you need to locate the filter, which is normally found near the downtubes. Remove the cap but ventilate the system beforehand. Second, place a tray underneath the drainage and remove the hose. Let the old oil pour down until it’s empty. Third, use a new filter and sprinkle some oil on the top before filling it completely. Install the filter and begin adding your oil, and cork it with a new cap.
How Much Do I Use Oil for an Oil Change for Harley Davidson?
The amount of liquids depends on the type of motorcycle. For instance, a Softail model would normally require around 2-3 quarts of oil per change. You need to check your manufacturer’s website to determine the exact amount.
What Type of Oil for Harley Softail?
The Softail is normally supplied with 20W-50 synthetic oil, like Red Line, Mobile 1, Lucas Oil, etc. The point here is to find the right viscosity, which is 20W-50 for Softails and Sportsters or sometimes 5W-40. Bet the way, Softails cost a good penny since their oil and gas expenditure is high. Consider acquiring a pack of oil of a certain brand. This will save you time from browsing and let your bike get used to a specific type of oil, which may improve its performance.
What Type of Oil Is Better for Harley’s Transmission?
You are going to need basic synthetic oil with considerable viscosity, which won’t wear off easily. Again, Red Line is the most common recommendation you will get if you ask around. Besides, you can use Spectro Heavy-Duty if you hear unusual sounds produced by the transmission. The oil goes great with both outer and inner joints and stops the screeching or rattling right away.
Let Your Bike Be Judge of Its Oil
Tending to a Harley is, indeed, an expensive pleasure that no loyal Harley fan can avoid. The motorcycle is as demanding as it is stunning. It requires a lot of maintenance and costly oil and part changes. However, it offers a lot of perks in exchange, right?
While you are opting between the oils, make sure to consider a couple of things. First, always read the manual. The Twin-Cam needs a lot of grease and waxiness, so MaximaHiflofiltro might be the best option you have, whereas a standard Street Glide is less demanding and can be accustomed to either Mobile 1 or Castrol. Second, don’t give your bike time to adjust. If you see that your engine has changed its regular sounding to a less pleasant one, you should keep on looking for another oil brand.
Anyway, I hope this article has helped you find your best motorcycle oil for Harley Davidson. If yes, then which did you choose? Have you tried using 5W-40 for a Softail instead of the regular 20W-50? Tell me more about your experiments and how it all went in the comments below!
Bruce was born in Atlanta. He started riding motorcycles when he was 10 and has been passionate about them since. Bruce says he feels absolute freedom when he’s on two wheels. He prefers riding his bike slowly and smoothly along a country road and hardly ever enjoys wildly speedy rides. With a strong Ducati Multistrada 1200 in the current stable, Bruce enjoys his super powerful, comfortable and easy rides. Ducati Diavel is the beast he’s currently dreaming about…