How to Check the Motorcycle Oil in a Kawasaki GPz 550

A precursor to Kawasaki's modern Ninja series sport bikes, the GPz 550 made waves with its European styling and tremendous performance in the early '80s. Powered by a reliable 553cc air-cooled motor, the GPz could outperform many of the larger motorcycles. Keeping the motorcycle in top shape, however, requires attention to the amount of oil within the motor. To simplify the procedure, Kawasaki equipped the GPz with an oil level sight glass on the right engine cover, allowing the rider to visually check the motorcycle's oil level without the need for a single tool.

Start the motor and let it idle for three minutes. This warms the motor's oil to its operating temperature, and lets it expand slightly to provide an accurate oil-level reading. Stop the motor after three minutes and raise the motorcycle onto its centre stand.

Position yourself to the right of the motorcycle and kneel down slightly. Locate the round oil level sight glass on the lower left edge of the right engine cover.

Compare the amount of oil within the sight glass with the upper and lower edge of the sight glass. Ideally, the oil level should be centred within the sight glass, but a slightly higher oil level is acceptable. If the oil level is closer to the lower edge of the sight glass, add a small amount of oil into the oil filler cap until the oil level has risen to the centre of the sight glass. Drain a small amount of oil from the oil filler cap using a hand pump if the sight glass is completely filled with oil.


Always warm up the motor before checking the oil level. Cold oil will not provide an accurate measurement. Don't be alarmed if the oil level is above the centre of the sight glass. Only drain the oil if the sight glass is completely filled, indicating that the motor is overfilled. If left unchecked, excess oil will be ejected through the crankcase and into the air filter.

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About the Author

An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.