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Checking the Oil on Your Indian Chieftain

With the semi-dry sump lubrication system in your Indian Chieftain, the engine oil level on the dipstick will fluctuate, depending on the motorcycle's position and engine temperature when checked. To ensure a proper reading of the engine oil level, follow all inspection procedures closely. Always use the recommended oil.

Warning: Operating with insufficient, deteriorated or contaminated engine oil will cause accelerated wear and may result in engine or transmission seizure, which could result in loss of control and serious injury or death. Check the oil level frequently. We recommend checking the oil each time you refuel.

The engine must be at normal operating temperature when checking the oil level. The oil level will not be accurate if checked on a cold engine. Do not add oil to bring the level to the FULL mark on a cold engine, as this can result in overfilling.

The oil fill cap/dipstick is located on the left side of the motorcycle (1). A special tool is provided in the tool kit to assist with dipstick removal. Remove the left side cover to access the tool kit. 

Dipstick location

To check the oil level:

1. Park the bike on a flat, level surface in the fully upright and centered position.

2. Start the engine and allow it to run for 2 to 3 minutes, until it reaches normal operating temperature.

3. Stop the engine.

4. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. 

5. Reinstall the dipstick until fully seated.

6. Remove the dipstick and view the oil level.

7. Add the recommended oil as needed to bring the level within the safe operating range, which is anywhere between the ADD (1) and FULL (2) marks on the dipstick, with the engine at operating temperature. The required fluid is Indian Motorcycle Semi-Synthetic 20W40 Motor Oil, part number 2880012.


If the oil level on the dipstick is anywhere in the safe range, do not add oil. Oil should be added only if the proper oil check procedure is followed and the level is below the safe mark.

8. Do not overfill. Overfilling can result in loss of engine performance and an oil-saturated air filter. Use a suction device to remove excess oil if overfilled. The approximate volume between the ADD and FULL marks on the dipstick is 32 ounces (0.94 l).

9. Repeat steps 1-7 to ensure the level is within the safe operating range.

10. Reinstall the dipstick securely.

For instructions on changing the oil on your Chieftain, read Indian Motorcycle 111/116 Oil Change.

For more information, see your authorized Indian Motorcycle Dealer. Find a dealer near you with the Dealer Locator.
Maintenance tips, procedures and specifications can be found in your Owner's Manual.
To find diagrams and replacement part numbers, use the online parts catalog.

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