How Long Will a Harley Davidson Engine Last?

Anyone who is looking to ride a motorcycle has likely considered going with a Harley Davidson. I remember when I was looking for my first motorcycle, my parents took me to the motorcycle shop.

They felt much more comfortable shopping with me than letting me go alone. They were always trying to steer me towards Harley-Davidson. Even though my parents and never owned a motorcycle, my dad was an insurance agent at the time. He knew that Harley Davidson motorcycles simply had a better reputation and understood that there were fewer claims filed on these motorcycles than others.

In the end, we ended up purchasing a Harley Davidson motorcycle. That motorcycle lasted for much longer than I thought it would, which got me wondering, how long does a Harley-Davidson engine last? There are a few key points to keep in mind. 

It Is Not Unusual for a Harley Davidson Engine To Last 150,000 Miles

There are a lot of factors that are involved when it comes to the lifespan of a Harley-Davidson engine, including the overall age of the bike and the riding style. In the end, my Harley-Davidson ended up running for more than 150,000 miles.

When I parted ways with the bike, I learned that it was not unusual for Harley-Davidson motorcycles to last that long. At the same time, there are a number of other factors to consider.

There Are a Lot of Factors That Influence the Lifespan of a Motorcycle

There are multiple types of motorcycles out there. A Harley Davidson is only one of the many options that are available. Some people who purchased motorcycles are not expecting a motorcycle to last for that long.

On the other hand, motorcycles that are well-maintained and are not involved in any accidents or incidents can be expected to last for a long time. There are several factors to consider. 

Sports Bikes Go Fast and Die Young

For example, there are some people who purchase a motorcycle and use it as a sports bike. These are bikes that accelerate quickly, or incredibly small, and have high-end top speeds.

At the same time, the faster people riding motorcycles, the quicker they’re going to die out. The reality is that if the bike is driving faster, the engine has to work. As a result, the engine temps to die out a lot more quickly when compared to other motorcycles that might ride at consistent speeds. Therefore, or smaller sportbikes, 25,000 miles can be a lot to put on these small vehicles. 

The Average Usage of the Motorcycle in a Given Year

Another factor that is going to play a role in how long the Harley-Davidson engine runs for is the average number of miles that motorcycle travels in a given year. Mileage isn’t the only thing that is going to impact the life of the engine.

The overall age of the parts is going to play a role as well. For example, most people understand that if they let their car sit in the garage for a long time, the parts are going to start to break down even though the car is not being driven. The same is true of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. All motorcycles are going to experience some may even if they are not ridden on a regular basis.

For example, a Harley Davidson motorcycle might run for 150,000 miles if the rider is putting 10,000 miles on a year. On the other hand, if a rider is only putting 5000 miles on it a year, then this motorcycle might end up dying well before it reaches 150000 miles purely because the bike is starting to push 20 years old. 

The average motorcycle rider is going to ride a Harley Davidson somewhere between 3000 and 5000 miles per year. If the motorcycle is ridden on a consistent basis, then it is likely to last longer. This will keep the parts fresh, the fluids rotated, and the oil flowing. 

The Maintenance of the Harley Davidson Engine Will Play a Major Role

Across all vehicles, they are going to run much better if they are maintained on a consistent basis. This is just as true for Harley-Davidson motorcycles as it is for a four-door sedan. Therefore, those who get their Harley-Davidson maintained on a regular basis are going to end up with a motorcycle that is going to last much longer than it would otherwise.

There are lots of maintenance tasks that have to be completed on a regular basis. The transmission fluid has to be flushed. The oil has to be changed. The tires have to be changed. The brakes have to be checked. There could be drive belts that have to be changed from time to time. If any of these maintenance tasks are neglected, then the bike is going to end up breaking down much sooner. 

Furthermore, with routine maintenance, one of the major goals is to identify small issues with the bike and rectify them before they balloon out of hand. If there are small issues with the bike that are allowed to grow, and they put start to impact the engine, causing it to get out much sooner. On the other hand, when people complete routine maintenance tasks, many of these small issues can be corrected before they damaged the motorcycle.

For this reason, everyone who rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle has to listen to the dealer and the manufacturer when it comes to routine maintenance. Make sure the oil is rotated on a regular basis, as this is one of the biggest factors that will play a role in the life of the engine.

If the oil is not changed regularly, then there will be too much friction in the engine of the motorcycle. This is going to cause the engine to overheat, shortening the lifespan of the engine. On the other hand, if the oil is rotated regularly, then riders are going to be able to get the most out of their Harley-Davidson engine. This can significantly extend the lifespan of the motorcycle and increase its trade-in value. 

The Weather Will Impact the Average Lifespan of the Engine

Another factor that is going to play a role is the weather. The reality is that the elements are going to impact the lifespan of every vehicle, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles. For example, motorcycle riders who hang out in the Northeast could end up exposing their motorcycles to rock salt.

Rock salt is designed to melt ice on the road, preventing accidents from happening. At the same time, when drivers and motorcycle riders drive on top of rock salt, they run the risk of kicking that rock salt up into the undercarriage of their vehicles and motorcycles. This rock salt can be corrosive, damaging the interior.

This could include the engine. As a result, rocks out could shorten the lifespan of a Harley Davidson motorcycle engine. For this reason, all motorcycle riders have to think carefully about where and how they want to ride their motorcycle. The weather could shorten the lifespan of the engine. 

The History of Prior Repairs

It is also important to highlight the history of the engine when it comes to the lifespan of the parts. For example, there are some motorcycle riders who simply have more problems with their engines and others. There could be times when a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident. There could be a recall issued for certain parts on the engine. The more an engine has to go into the shop, the shorter its lifespan is going to be. 

Therefore, for motorcycle riders, they have to look at the history of their end and anticipate how much longer is going to last. If the engine continuously has to be taken it to the shop for repairs, then this is a sign that it could be on its last legs. 

The Driving Style of the Motorcycle Rider

Finally, it is also important to highlight the driving style of the motorcycle rider and how this is going to impact the lifespan of the engine. The less work the engine has to do, the longer it is going to last. Therefore, if motorcycle riders are constantly flooring the gas, the engine is going to have to work a lot harder to get up to this top speed.

Rapid acceleration is going to place a tremendous amount of stress on the engine, shortening its lifespan by wearing out the parts more quickly. Furthermore, if motorcycle riders constantly slam on the brakes, this is going to force the engine to decelerate very quickly. This can also place a lot of stress on the engine.

For motorcycle riders who would like to get as many miles out of their engines as possible, it is important to maintain a consistent speed as much as possible. This will keep the engine comfortable and can prevent it from breaking down early.