Harley-Davidson Road King 3-Hole Oil Change DIY

Harley-Davidson Road King 3-Hole Oil Change DIY

Complete 3-Hole Harley M8 Oil Change


Two moto-vloggers passionate about traveling and the open road.

After a nice long roadtrip touring through Arizona, it's time we freshen up the bikes and do a full 3-hole complete oil change! We've done a few videos on how to change the oil on your Harley-Davidson, but this time around we figured we'd show you the quick and easy way on Josh's 2021 Road King Special on the jiffy stand. This is maybe the 4th time Josh has changed his oil on this bike, so you could say this is an oil change for an every day person. Every time you work on your own bike, you get to learn a little bit more about where things are, and how everything is put together. Every detail counts, and thats how to keep things runnin'!

Why It's Important to Keep Oil Fresh

When it comes to oil changes, and all scheduled maintenance for that matter, it's not just about keeping the bike in working order, it's about your safety!

Having a properly maintained bike will help keep you from getting stranded, causing irreparable damage, or worse, getting injured. Delaying maintenance is never a good idea, so make sure to keep records and set reminders for maintenance in the future.

If an oil change is delayed, your engine is likely running at higher temperatures, and will not run as efficiently. Eventually, this will cause components to wear out and potentially break. As oil cycles through high and low temperatures, it break down and becomes thinner, making it less effective.

Over time as the oil breaks down, metal particles, dirt, and soot cause the fluids to become abrasive which eventually results in sludge. This thick sludge makes it difficult for fluids to lubricate essential parts and protect them from damage. 

What is a 3-Hole Oil Change?

A 3-hole oil change is when you replace the oil in all 3 essential components of the powertrain: 

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Primary

While some may recommend having different intervals for all 3 components, we like to change the oil in all 3 every time we do a change, which is typically every 3000-4000 miles. Consult your owner's manual for recommended numbers, but the fresher you keep the oil, the better the bike will run.


-Warm the bike up to operating temperature to ensure all oil drains 

-Park the bike in a well ventilated area and place the oil drain pan underneath the drain plugs, which are located underneath the bike on the left side 

-Remove drain plugs using the 5/8" socket and let the oil drain for a few minutes 

-Once most of the oil is drained, release any pressure by removing the engine and transmission dipsticks 

-Clean the drain plugs and place them back in their designated holes once all oil is drained. It is normal to have a small amount of metal shavings collecting on the threads of the oil drain plugs.

-Drain the primary by removing the primary drain plug located on the underside of the primary below the derby cover. 

-Once the primary is drained, use the primary funnel to pour 1 quart of primary oil into the primary 

-Inspect the derby cover gasket, and clean or replace it as needed 

-Re-install the derby cover, tightening bolts in a star pattern to ensure a uniform fit 

-Pour 4 quarts of 20W-50 oil into the engine fill hole and 1 quart of 80W-90 transmission oil into the transmission fill hole (We tend to pour 1/4-1/2 quart into the oil filter as well as coat the oil filter gasket with a thin layer of oil to ensure a good seal upon installation). 

-Screw in both engine and transmission dipsticks, take her for a spin, and add engine oil as needed!

Another thing to consult your owner's manual for before completing an oil change is the oil capacity recommended for each component of your powertrain. Putting in too much or too little oil can cause damage as the internal parts are not lubricated correctly. 

There are also gaskets that will break down over time that need to be replaced every couple of changes.

Don't know which oil, oil filters, or gaskets to buy? The V-Twin Oil Change Kits are here to keep things simple. With the complete oil change kits, you have everything you need for a complete 3-hole oil change, all in one  box! Simply find the kit that correlates with your model, and you're good to go!

We hope you found the video and blog informative and encourage you to reach out with any questions!

V-Twin Oil Change Kits

V-TWIN OIL CHANGE KITS are designed to ease the oil change process in your H-D® motorcycle. Each kit comes with all necessary products to complete a full oil change including engine oil, transmission oil, primary oil, drain plug o-rings and a ProFilter Wrench Removal Premium oil filter. Kits come in two forms; full change or quick change.

We stand behind all of the products on our site, and want to help you find whats right for you!

Check out our catalog of our favorite products, and feel free to reach out with any questions!


  • Trey Smith: December 08, 2023

    Rev up your Harley experience with our latest blog on the complete 3-hole oil change for the M8 engine! We’ll guide you through the steps to keep your ride running smooth and strong. S

  • Smoky hd: August 24, 2023

    Kudos for sharing the Harley-Davidson a href=“https://www.smh-d.com/” title=“Road King”> Road King 3-Hole Oil Change DIY! Your step-by-step instructions make it easy for riders to maintain their bikes and hit the road worry-free.

  • Applestate HD: August 09, 2023

    A helpful resource for maintaining our bikes Appreciate the step-by-step instructions. Thanks for the detailed DIY guide on the Harley-Davidson Road King 3-Hole Oil Change.

  • Garden state: August 07, 2023

    An informative guide on the Complete 3-Hole Harley M8 Oil Change! Clear instructions make maintenance a breeze. Thanks for simplifying this essential task for Harley owners

  • Rockytopharley: August 04, 2023

    Thanks for sharing the Harley-Davidson Road King 3-Hole Oil Change DIY guide! A comprehensive and easy-to-follow tutorial that empowers riders to maintain their bikes. Great resource for enthusiasts

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