Home / Reviews & Info / Your Best Motorcycle Story / Why You Should Do Your Own Oil Changes
Honda CB 450 T

Why You Should Do Your Own Oil Changes

Why you should do your own oil changes?It was the beginning of my 2nd year owning and operating a motorcycle, a 1982 CB450T Hawk. Still in the honeymoon phase, I loved everything about it. I loved riding it, I loved the way it looked, and I loved working on it. It was the spring/early summer and according to the odometer, time to change the oil. I had done it twice before successfully so the third time would be a lot smoother. (as if!)

I pulled out all the necessary stuff:

Oil: Check
Oil catcher: Check
Filter, socket wrench, torque wrench, crush washer, rags, latex gloves: Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.

I was 30 minutes into the job and was just about finished. I had drained the oil, put in the new cartridge oil filter, and put on the oil pan on. 30 minutes! “Wow, I’m getting pretty good at this! And I didn’t even open the manual. I’m actually pretty good at motorcycle maintenance now,” I not-so-humbly thought to myself.

Now for the final step. I carefully measured the correct amount of oil and start pouring it in. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something yellow moving. Wait, it’s growing. OMG it’s oil!!! I immediately stop pouring the oil and realized what I’d done. Or hadn’t done in this case. This great mechanic had forgotten to put in the oil drain plug so the oil I was pouring in was flowing right out of the bottom of the motorcycle creating a small pool of shiney, fresh, golden, motor oil. With my lightning fast reflexes I put my finger over the hole to seal it. Phew, not too bad. Only about 500 ml’s of oil spilt. I’ll just put the drain plug in and clean up the oil and nobody will suspect anything.

Honda CB 450 T

As I look for the drain plug, I realize it’s on the other side of the garage. So I do what every man does in a tight situation. I call for my wife. “Margoooooooo!” A couple minutes later, a head pokes out of the doorway from the house to the garage. “Yes dear?”

Me: “I need your help.”
Margot: “What did you do.” (Note, this wasn’t a question)
Me: “Can you pass me the drain plug and crush washer from over there?”
Margot assesses the situation and sees what happened. Without saying a word she walks over, picks them up, hands them to me and walks back into the house.
Me: “Can you help me clean this up?”
Margot: “You made this mess, you can clean it up.” The door closes.

I finish filling the motorcycle with the specified amount of oil and now it’s time to clean up. I quickly search the web to see what the best way to clean up an oil spill is — kitty litter. “Great!” I thought. I have a cat! (her name is Ally). So I grab a bag of kitty litter and pour it on top of the oil. I wait a couple minutes but nothing seems to be happening. Well this sucks, the internet was wrong! Not only do I still have to clean up the oil, now have to clean up the kitty litter too. Argh!

Using my man brain, the logical answer was to hose it down, then use some type of detergent to clean up the oil. I unroll the hose, turn on the water and start hosing the oil and kitty litter. Did I mention this was clumping kitty litter? The kind that turns into a gooey mess when it gets saturated with water? At this point the garage floor is partially covered with oil, and completely covered with grey liquid goop.

“Margoooooooo!”
The door to the house opens.
Me: “Can you help?”
Margot assesses the situation again.
Margot: “Nope.” The door closes.

Honda CB 450 T

I get a garbage bag, get down on my hands and knees and try to scoop up the grey liquid goop with my hands but it was not effective at all. I ended up using a plastic dust pan and scooping it into the garbage bag. What a mess. By the end I had to hose down the garage floor again, use some car wash soap to wash out the oil, and hose down yet another time.

The oil change eventually was a success and it only took me about 2.5 hours. Not bad for a guy who’s pretty good at motorcycle maintenance, right? And guess what — I’ve never forgotten to put in the drain plug since.

This post was submitted by Wobblycat for the Your Best Motorcycle Story $100 Giveaway Contest. Read and vote for your favorite contest stories. Winner chosen by peer and editor rating!
Lake Superior Circle Tour
Living the American Dream
The Biker and the Trucker
Young, Wild & Free
The Mine in the Mojave
Adventures of a Woman Motorcyclist, Summer 2012
Why You Should Do Your Oil Changes

About Wobblycat

Wobblycat is an avid motorcyclist and freelance photographer specializing in motorsports photography. In the summer you'll find him riding his 2007 Honda CBR1000RR or turning heads on his 2005 49cc Honda Jazz Scooter. His awesome wife Wigglycat also rides her 1993 Honda CBR 600 F2. Find @wobblycat on Twitter and Instagram.

6 comments

  1. Love the bike! Did you buy it new? I’m still in the stages of searching for a motorcycle and wonder about the drawbacks of owning a thirty-year old bike. Any insight would be appreciated

What do you think?

x

Check Also

Valentines Day Motorcycle Superheroes

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists tend to be a little more free-thinking, a little less likely to follow society and her "rules", and a little more likely to go against the grain. We like to think ourselves as the modern day cowboys. In a society where the government dictates the lives of its people, rather than the people dictating the lives of its government, motorcyclists are among the last bastions of freedom.

Despite our poetic disposition motorcyclists are still human, I have the road rash to prove it, and most of us are just as likely to play a role in Valentine's Day as anyone else. The questions are:

1) What does Valentine's Day mean for motorcyclists?

2) What should I buy a motorcyclist for Valentine's Day?

best motorcycle story contest winner

Best Motorcycle Story Contest Winner & 3rd Year Wrap-Up

To celebrate three years online, we put out a $100 giveaway. To win you had to submit your best motorcycle story. Finally our $100 winner has been announced!

mojave beetle

The Mine in the Mojave

One man’s search for self-worth, self-identity and a self-serve gas station in the states that accepts Canadian debit cards.

Story by Vincenza

Dedicated to all the insects we have loved and lost.

Once upon a time a teacher in elementary school told me that all great stories begin with ‘once upon a time’ – which is the only reason this story does. It was a deep dark winter’s night as I sat at the kitchen table of my poorly illuminated little apartment thumbing the pages of a tattered local newspaper that was dated 4 months prior – during a time when the sun still stood proudly in the sky well past 9pm and I didn’t rely on dried pieces of wood to feed the flames that provided me with both heat and light.