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Can I Start My Dirt Bike Without Oil? (Expensive Mistake)

So you want to know if you can start your dirt bike without oil. The answer to that is actually quite straight-forward.

You can start a dirt bike without any oil, however, it is NOT ADVISED. There is nothing physically stopping a dirt bike without oil from starting up, but internal grinding of bearings and catastrophic damage is likely. Within seconds, you can expect a loud sound of grinding parts within your engine.

There are some motorcycles that can last a few minutes running without oil though you shouldn’t test this. Eventually your dirt bike will seize up and you’re likely looking at a complete rebuild.

Running Dirt Bikes Without Oil

There isn’t any time when riding that you’d want to have no oil in your dirt bike. You see – dirt bikes need oil in order to lubricate parts which are operating at high speeds.

This oil stops your engine from seizing up as well as providing longevity for your motor. Just like a car motor, the oil does need to be changed regularly.

Frontaer would never advise a rider to go out on the tracks and trails without oil in their engine. It should be full, but not over-full and nor should it be empty.

Running dirt bikes without any oil is a quick way to make the engine seize up. You’ll hear a ‘rusty grinding’ sound emanating and you should turn off your dirt bike right away to prevent further damage.

Buying a Dirt Bike

If you were to buy a dirt bike, then always check the oil levels before starting the engine. If the seller says it’s OK run the engine without oil, then walk away quickly! It’s likely that the engine has already suffered some big damage.

It’s expensive to replace a dirt bike motor. If the oil is old, then you should drain and replace the oil with fresh oil before starting. You’ll be able to buy dirt bike oil for less than $50 for 5L from any motorcycle dealership.

Oil Cap Off

One of the most common reasons why dirt bikes are accidently run without oil is the cap being left off, or it unscrewed itself when you were riding. If you detect this, then quickly shut down your engine on the track.

From here, you’ll want to guage how much oil you’ve lost so far and then check the dipstick for the level. You might be alright to ride home on limited oil as long as it isn’t below the minimum on the dipstick.

You’ll always want to keep an eye during routine maintenance on the oil drain plug. This occasionally can unscrew itself and if it does, you’ll lose oil very quickly when riding.

Dirt Bike Sounding Funny

If you do hear this weird screaching sound coming from your dirt bike motor, then it could be a lack of oil. We recommend that you shut off your dirt bike right away and problem-solve the issue.

Things to check:

  1. Does your dirt bike have oil?
  2. Is the dipstick still intact?
  3. How tight is the drain plug?
  4. When did you last change the oil?

Also consider the quality of oil and avoid cheap-Chinese oils which have recently come on to the market.

Damage from Dirt Bike with No Oil

So with all of that in mind, what kind of damage can you expect to make? Plenty, actually.

The valves and pistons could seize and you’ll likely find little bits of metal inside your oil reservior. Let’s not forget the bearings either, with all of this possibly affecting the transmisions as well.

The cams and head might actually fair alright, as might the valve cover. It really depends on your make and model.

Essentially, a seized engine is likely and it will never run the same way again. Most riders simply do a full replacement of their engines which is both costly and time-consuming. You’re looking at $3,000 to replace a dirt bike whose engine has blown due to being run without oil.

In Summary

Don’t run a dirt bike without oil in the engine. At the same time, don’t buy one where you believe it has been run dry.

Manufacturers make these machines to be run WITH oil at all times. It keeps them lubricated and in tip-top condition.

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