How Long Do Motorcycle Engines Last?

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Did you know that motorcycle engines are very similar to car engines. They have many parts in common, including pistons, a cylinder block, and even a valve train.

But in the case of a motorcycle, all of it has been compressed in a much more compact form factor.

Due to so many parts working so closely with each other, a question arises, how long do motorcycle engines last?

Although the answer varies with usage, a motorcycle engine can last from 50000 miles to 250000 miles. Opting for an expensive motorcycle will help you get as much mileage as possible.

This article will be looking at motorcycle engines, what affects their lifespan, and what a person can do to make sure that the engine can last for a long time.

It is recommended to read this article in its entirety because it has some pretty vital information that can affect how you drive your motorcycle.

So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it!

4 Factors That Affect The Life Of A Motorcycle Engine

Let's learn how many miles can you get out of your motorcycle engine

With the motorcycle engine made up of hundreds of parts that are working in tandem, some of them could play a key role in affecting its lifespan. There are other factors too, that can affect how long an engine can last.

1. Engine Type

You may already be aware that engines have different performance goals. This can be seen by the number of cc’s they produce. The higher the number, the better the engine performs.

With motorcycles touching insane numbers, such as 1800cc, they are geared towards performance only. On the other side of the coin are low-performance motorcycles, those that have been designed to maximize fuel efficiency.

Now, the question arises, how can the capacity of an engine affect its lifespan? Well, a fuel-efficient engine will last much longer than one focused on performance.

This is because the latter generates a lot of heat, which is never too good. It can cause quick wearing down of the parts.

2. Type Of Coolant

Some motorcycles out there whose engines rely on air to cool them rather than actual liquids. It does make sense.

When you are traveling at any speed, the engine will be coming into contact with the air at all times. It helps in cooling it without the use of any coolant or antifreeze.

Other motorcycles on the market rely on liquid cooling. I think that this method works better and is far more efficient.

The coolant dissipates the heat by transferring it to all parts of the engine, ensuring that one does not get too hot.

In the case of air-cooled engines, that is not the case. So, how your engine is cooled can play a significant role in how long it will last.

3. Maintenance Schedule

Anything with moving parts can be used for a long time if strict maintenance schedules are followed. This is the case with car engines and is the case with motorcycle engines.

So, how does maintenance affect the lifespan of an engine? If you are asking this question, then I am afraid your motorcycle engine will not last for a long time.

The oil change is a part of motorcycle maintenance. It is important because it makes sure that there is proper lubrication among the moving parts of the engine, but it also plays a major role in keeping it cool.

If you get the oil changed after a year, your engine will cause many issues. This will be covered, in detail, in the next section of this article.

4. Usage

Perhaps the most important factor that affects the lifespan of a motorcycle engine is how a motorcycle is used.

If you use your ride for racing and similar activities, the lifespan will be reduced, especially if the engine has not been designed for such usage.

High RPM is an engine killer. The engine overworks itself to the point that parts begin to fail, and seals break. The same goes for the brakes.

If you are one to suddenly apply brakes from higher speeds, there is a good chance that not only will they wear down quicker, but the engine will be affected as well.

Most motorcycles also don’t do well in adverse weather conditions. This means if you drive in dusty and rainy weather conditions, you can expect the engine to get contaminated much quicker.

Contamination can significantly reduce the engine lifespan. This is something that will be discussed more as you scroll down.

4 Tips To Increase Your Motorcycle Engine Lifespan

So, you just bought a new motorcycle and are looking to get the maximum life out of its engine. Well, some tips will improve the mileage greatly.

Let’s list them down before we focus on the details:

  1. Frequent Oil Changes
  2. Replacing The Oil Filter
  3. Flushing The Engine
  4. Not Pushing The Engine To Its Limit

Now, many of you may already be aware of these tips. But a fraction of my readers doesn’t know this information.

So, this section of the article is dedicated to them. I will be discussing all of these details, so you can understand how to maximize your engine’s life.

1. Frequent Oil Changes

If you are new to the automotive world, you may wonder why oil changes are important. Although the used oil in a motorcycle engine has been discussed before in this article, let me repeat it.

It is used to reduce the friction among the moving parts of the engine while keeping it cool. It serves two purposes and ensures wear and tear is as reduced as possible.

The thing with oil is it has a thin layer on top, which is mainly responsible for the lubrication. Over time, this layer fades away, resulting in increased friction.

Oil can also get contaminated, which prevents it from utilizing its full potential. Plus, you don’t want dust and debris inside your engine. Contaminants can downgrade an engine’s lifespan significantly.

Oil changes are different for different types of oils. If you rely on mineral oil, it should be changed every 2000 miles. A semi-synthetic oil can be effective for as long as 5000 miles.

Finally, the best one is a fully synthetic oil. Although it does cost more than the other two options, it also lasts the longest. You need to change a synthetic oil once every 8000 miles! That is great and is definitely worth the price tag.

2. Replacing The Oil Filter

Many people out there get their motorcycle engine’s oil changed promptly, but the lifespan and performance still do not improve.

Well, that is due to them not replacing the oil filter. The filter does exactly what the name suggests it does. It helps in keeping the oil clean from contaminants.

An oil filter also has magnetic properties, which help attract all the metal contaminants present in the oil.

This is important because contaminants can damage the cylinder walls and all other parts of the engine where the oil is present. So, the oil filter prevents that as much as possible.

Why do you need to replace the filter every two times you change the oil? Well, it can get clogged due to constant filtering. If the filter is too clogged, it may prevent oil from passing through easily, resulting in performance drops.

So, you need to be frequent with oil filter changes, or you will be looking at a reduced engine lifespan.

3. Flushing The Engine

You may already be aware of sludge formation inside the engine. Unfortunately, there is no way to clean it except for flushing the entire engine. Some of you may be wondering, how does sludge even form?

Well, this happens if oil is not changed too frequently. I explained before that oil can be effective for so long before it starts to break down. When it does, small particles break off, which can collect and form sludge.

Sludge formation is serious because it can block the passageway of oil inside the motorcycle engine. This prevents oil pressure from building up and can result in reduced performance and the overall lifespan of the engine.

So, how do you flush the engine? The term flush is not accurate because it indicates that you need to add something at high pressure inside the engine. You only need to add an additive into the oil port.

After waiting for ten minutes, you can drain the oil. The additive dissolves the sludge. You can then change the oil easily. It is recommended to flush the engine every 8000 to 10000 miles.

4. Not Pushing The Engine To Its Limit

The first three tips were related to maintenance only. But this one is to help you become aware of what happens if you utilize a motorcycle for more intense uses than it is capable of handling.

When you buy a motorcycle, its performance numbers indicate how it should be used. So, if you are purchasing one that focuses more on maximizing fuel efficiency rather than performance, then it should not be used for racing or high-speed purposes. This will reduce the engine’s lifespan considerably.

The same is not the case with motorcycles that have been designed for maximum performance. As their parts are manufactured to handle stress, they will not be affected as much if you try to push the engine to the limit.

So, if you are looking to get the best of both worlds, then it is sensible to settle for a motorcycle that rocks a high-performance engine rather than an efficient one.


I hope this article helped you clear some confusion and add to your knowledge. If you were wondering how long do motorcycle engines last, then I can assure you that you will not find a more detailed article.

Everything has been covered, from what affects an engine’s lifespan to what can be done to maximize it to ensure that your motorcycle will last for as long as possible.

Maximizing the lifespan of an engine is important because if one fails, a new one can be considerably expensive.

So, you must make sure to keep your motorcycle engine in excellent condition at all times. That is if you can find one in a decent condition.

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