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Curious about what oil to use in your Honda Goldwing? You’re not alone.
Everybody wants the best for their baby. In this guide I provide suggestions on the best oil to use and resources to get the job done.
It’s that time again;
You’ve taken some awesome road trips and it’s time to take care of your baby. But What is the best oil for a Honda Goldwing 1800 or any other motorcycle for that matter? We take a look at oil and oil changes for the Goldwing and best practices in general for motorcycles and some oil change basics.
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What is the best oil for Honda Goldwing 1800?
Using a full synthetic oil in a Goldwing is the best choice to provide the best protection and performance.
Honda Goldwing riders are using the following oils:
- Shell Rotella T Synthetic 10/40 weight
- Amsoil Synthetic (full synthetic) 10/40 weight and 10/30 weight
- Mobile 1 Racing 4T 10/40 weight
- Mobile 1 full Synthetic 10/40 weight
- Honda synthetic 10/30 weight
- Schaffers simi-synthetic 20/50 weight racing oil
OEM oil Vs Everything Else
If you’re unsure of what to put in your Goldwing (or any motorcycle for that matter) The above list of gl1800 oils should give you a pretty good place to start. It never hurts to go to your local bike shop and get some expert advice.
If you talk to a Honda dealership, treat them like a doctor.
Meaning, get a second opinion.
They will of course steer you into buying their product. I’ve had experience being told by a dealer that the only oil I was allowed to put in my Goldwing was the OEM brand GN4.
Although some riders are particular about using OEM products for their Goldwing, many hardcore mechanics and riders don’t really like using OEM oil, and tend to use other brands. Amsoil and Rotella seem to be crowd favorites.
My recommendation if you go to the Honda dealer is to get the info on what the bike needs (synthetic, non synthetic optimal oil weights etc) and then shop around.
What Oil I use in My GL1800
I’ve had my 2005 GL 1800 for about four years now (you can see more on my About page) and since having it, I’ve become more educated about what oil I should use.
With previous bikes that I owned (before a mechanic friend enlightened me) I never really payed much attention about using a synthetic oil vs petroleum oil. The only thing I really payed attention to was making dam sure there was oil in the motorcycle and what weight I was using.
A little heavier in Summer, a little thinner in winter. That was as far as I went, and that was about as much as I knew.
Currently because of the extreme temperatures that I live in (Formerly the Desert Southwest, Vegas area and currently Florida) I use Castrol sae 20w-50 synthetic oil, which tends to stay in the bike all year long. This oil is on the heavy side, but then I deal with extreme temperatures (105 – 115 at peak season).
You May Think I’m Crazy…
Before you think I’m crazy leaving my oil in all year;
I’m not leaving my oil in through winter and recommending you do the same, it just works out that way.
It just depends on how you ride.
I live in the desert southwest and don’t tend to ride as much during our “winter”. Most of my rides are around town running errands or close to home.
What tends to happen for me is this;
Warm weather hits, I do some rides in the spring and summer. I service my bike every 3,000 miles (a lot riders change their oil every 5,000 miles. Whatever works best for your bike) so if my mileage is up in that time frame, I get it changed.
If my mileage is close but not quite there yet, I’ll find a place to practice riding my motorcycle and spend a morning going over the basics. I love practicing, so I can put on some decent miles just doing that.
The oil change carry’s me through the winter cycle (get it cycle? Ha!) of sporadic riding. Warm weather hits and it all starts over again.
I also can wrack up a some mileage while I’m practicing to ride my motorcycle.
Honda Goldwing oil change interval
I know I’m talking a lot about the Goldwing here (it’s what I ride), but these oil change intervals will work well with other motorcycles, and are just all around best practices.
We’ve already discussed this a little bit already but personally, I change the oil in my Goldwing every 3,000 miles.
Other motorcycle owners will have an oil change interval around 5,000 miles, but the general consensus with motorcycle owners is to not go beyond 5,000 miles without servicing your Goldwing.
As I was told by a mechanic friend of mine (who also rides a Goldwing):
“If you keep your Goldwing serviced every 3,000 miles or so you should be able to get 2 or 3 hundred thousand miles out it”.
…And this is why the Goldwing has been on the road forever!
It also happens to be great reason for me to own a Goldwing – Keep the bike maintained and it will (almost) never breakdown.
Changing the Oil On a Honda Goldwing
Realistically, this could be a blog post by itself. But since we’re all here, let’s just talk about some basic things that you’ll need to do to get the job done yourself.
It’s a no brainer to gather everything you need first, but let’s talk about it anyway.
Here’s a basic list of things you’ll need:
- Oil drain pan that can hold at least 4 quarts
- A metric box wrench socket/ratchet set (to remove the drain plug)
- Oil filter wrench – Some mechanics prefer the ‘cup style’ vs the strap style
- Torque wrench
- 4 quarts of oil
This just the basic list of things you’ll need. You may need more, depending on the specific Goldwing model you’re working on.
If you want a resource that has step by step instructions for an oil and filter change on a Goldwing you can check out this resource here.
This is also a good video to help get you started with your oil change:
Synthetic or Conventional engine oil
This a topic that can create confusion.
The word ‘Synthetic’ basically means that the components are created through a chemical process rather than a natural process. Synthetic oil is often thought to perform better overall and provide better protection overall for whatever vehicle you riding in or on.
So synthetic oil is an engine oil lubricant used in engines that contain compounds that are modified chemically.
Of course, Conventional oil is crude oil that’s come out of the ground and been processed according to what It’s use is.
Here’s a video to help you clear a few things up on the synthetic or conventional oil issue:
What are the benefits of synthetic oil?
Synthetic oils are designed to in extreme temperature and overall provide good lubrication to the engine. This of course makes it ideal for motorcycles because many engines are lubricated throughout the entire motor with the same oil in that’s in the pan.
Synthetic oil typically outperforms regular engine oil and can handle extreme temperatures, and does well if you’re in stop and go traffic situations. This is due to not only how the oil is comprised chemically, but also its ability to resist deterioration or breakdown.
Of course, all that great performance will come at a higher price tag. I pay around $15/quart for the Castrol synthetic that I use, so it doesn’t take long for it to add up!
Why should I use regular oil?
For a motorcycle, I really don’t know why you would, for all the reasons that I outlined above.
If you’re using a petroleum based oil in your bike, you should take a close look transitioning your bike into the synthetic oil of your choice.
Notice I used the word ‘transition’.
I’ve been told that it’s not best practice to just do a full synthetic oil change out all at one time. It’s best to mix your synthetic oil with petroleum oil at first, then adjust the ratio over a couple of oil changes until your using full synthetic oil.
For example, the first oil change of the transition is three fourths conventional oil and one fourth synthetic. Next oil change is half and half, etc.
I would suggest consulting your dealer or person who works on your bike and tell them that you want to transition to synthetic oil and have them advise you from there.
In the discussion of “should I use synthetic oil or conventional oil?” the best thing to listen to is your motorcycle. Motorcycle riders (and Goldwing riders in particular) have experienced more engine noises or ‘knocking’ using a conventional oil.
If your hearing engine noise go see a local dealer or mechanic right away.
What does oil weight mean?
We see the fancy numbers on the label of the oil container, so what does it all mean?
I’m not a petroleum engineer, so we’re going to keep this simple!
We’ll use the following common oil weight as our example:
10W 40 motor oil
The 10w 40 refers to how heavy the oil is and a viscosity range that oil will work best in once the engine achieves temperature or ‘warms up’. If your unfamiliar with the term ‘viscosity’ it just means how slick or slippery the oil is. The more viscosity, the more you reduce friction, the less wear and tear.
The lower the first number (in this case 10) the lighter the oil. Forty (40) represents the upper end of viscosity and temperature tolerances the oil is capable of handling.
You may want to change your oil out depending on the time of year your riding in.
Why does oil weight matter?
For cooler temps you’ll want to use a lighter, thinner oil (10w 40) versus in the summer you may want a heavier oil (20w 50). Not everybody will need to do this;
If you live in an area of the country where the temperatures stay steady (meaning no extreme temperatures below zero or above 100 degrees) 10w 40 weight oil is a good all around oil to use.
I use 20w 50 weight oil in my GL 1800 because of the extreme heat that I experience in the desert.
Some more Goldwing 1800 specific love!
Since I’m riding a Goldwing 1800 I thought I’d throw in some specific info to fellow GL 1800 riders that may need a little help.
GL1800 oil capacity
The owner’s manual for the GL1800 states that GL 1800 takes ‘approximately 3.9 quarts’. It’s important to note the word ‘approximately’.
The 3.9 quarts is the amount that states you should start with as you’re refilling the bike.
I have found with my Goldwing, that I buy 5 quarts of oil, and by the time I’m done I’ve used around four and half (give or take) quarts. This puts the dipstick at max.
Don’t add more than 3.9 quarts initially. Add what the manual says, start the bike and see your dipstick reads. Add from there but don’t overdo it.
Oil filter for Honda Goldwing 1800
There are quite a few brands of oil filters to choose from. That being said, this is not an exhaustive list. Theses brands I’m listing work for the Goldwing as well as many other brands and models of motorcycles.
K and N is a popular brand of oil filter used by motorcyclists myself included. You can head over to Amazon and check their Goldwing chart by year. You’ll also be able to get original OEM filters for the GL1800 and GL1500 on Amazon also.
Don’t have a Goldwing? No worries, they have filters for all kinds of vehicles.
Volar motorsport is another brand of oil filters that you can that sells filters in packs of three on amazon as well.
You’ll find as you look around for an oil filter K and N is one of the most popular choices or just getting an OEM filter for your Goldwing or whatever bike your riding.
Let’s wrap it up…
What’s the best oil for Honda Goldwing 1800 or your motorcycle?
I won’t get into what brand is better than another except to say the following:
- Castrol Synthetic (I use it)
- Mobile 1 (seems a popular choice)
- Amesoil (another popular choice)
The brand of oil motorcycle riders use tends to a bit more of a personal choice.
It’s best to use a synthetic oil, because if performs better overall and can stand extremes better than conventional oil.
If you’re looking for a good all around oil weight, 10w 40 is a good oil weight if the temperatures in your area are not terribly extreme. I tend to use 20w 50 because of the extreme of summer and through the winter (although I really need to change my oil in the winter).
When it’s all said and done, just make sure that you’re servicing your motorcycle. For most bikes, as long as your sticking to a maintenance schedule, chances are your Goldwing or whatever motorcycle your riding won’t leave your stranded.