Unlike the many parts of car, motorcycles are simply two wheels and a loose bolt away from a breakdown or crash. Learning how to maintain your motorcycle is important to keeping it running and allowing it to last you longer. Always make sure you are:
- Cleaning your bike
- Changing the oil
- Checking the chain
- Taking care of the tires
- Checking the cables
- Maintaining the hardware
- Taking care of the battery
- Bleed the brakes
Owning a motorcycle can be a fun and unique adventure. Regular maintenance will not only keep your bike running, but it will keep you safe. Follow these importance maintenance tips for your motorcycle.
When cleaning your bike, make sure you’re using cleaner made for motorcycles or car surfaces. They could have harsh detergents or chemical solvents that could damage the bike’s metal, paint, and plastic. Make sure the bike has completely cooled off before tackling the task.
When washing, avoid high-pressure water sprays because they can damage parts. Once you’ve finished, let it run for a couple minutes and test the brakes. You might need to pump them for normal performance.
Routine cleaning not only makes your bike look its best, but it gives you a chance to inspect the different parts of the bike as you clean. If you don’t ride it too often, be careful how often you wash it because it could wash away important lubricants. If you ride it and you come back dirty, then it’s okay to wash it.
Change the Oil
Just like a car, a motorcycle needs regular oil changes to run properly and stay healthy. The basic rule of thumb for a motorcycle is to change the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles, but always follow the manufacturers instructions because it could be different.
Check the Chain
The chain’s tension on your bike is one of the most important things, as well as the lubrication. Most riders will check the chain before every ride, allowing them to inspect chain rollers and the sprocket.
When inspecting the chain, make sure it’s not too tight. If it is, it can cause undue wear of the chain and sprocket. If the chain is too loose, it can cause poor performance and breakdown. At the minimum, you should check your chain every 600 miles. Like with changing the oil, follow the manufacturer instructions to adjust it correctly.
Inspecting the tires and maintaining the proper tire pressure is very important. It should be a habit before every ride to check for cuts, abrasions, or uneven wear, all signs of improper tire pressure. Check the spokes and the rim while you are looking. If there is one important motorcycle accessory, it will be investing in a high-quality air pressure gauge.
Check the Cables
Make sure you check the cables and controls to ensure smooth and proper movement. Look for frayed cables and make sure they are replaced immediately. Per the manufacturer instructions, lubricate the cables on a regular basis.
It should be a regular habit to check the nuts, bolts, and pins for tightness and security. Don’t just rely on looking but take a wrench and really ensure it’s tight. Because of the vibration alone, nuts can work themselves loose or bolts can back themselves out. One good trick is to coat important bolts with bathroom caulk and retighten which reduces the effect of vibration on the bolt.
Take Care of the Battery
Every time you get an oil change, you should be checking the battery. Make sure the electrolytes are up on the proper level, and check for cracks or other problems with the vibration. Sometimes, if you have all the extra accessories like lights, it uses the charging system on your bike, so you should keep an eye on the battery.
Bleed the Brakes
Clean brake fluid will help keep your brakes running smoothly – an important characteristic for a motorcycle. Dirty brake fluid can cause a lot of problems like corroding the engine cylinders and compromising brake performance. You should bleed your brakes annually, which is simply replacing the brake fluid.
After you’ve replaced the brake fluid, hold the brakes to make sure they hold and check below the bike for leaks.
Other Tips for Motorcycle Maintenance
Motorcycle maintenance isn’t just about cleaning it and updating the parts. Protecting your vehicle will also protect the parts and help them last longer. Whenever you’re not riding it, you want to protect it from the elements like wind, rain, and snow.
Keep it in a garage or other shelter or shed that you can rent. On top of that, you’ll want to cover the motorcycle with a cover, ensuring it’s long enough to cover the bike and be waterproof. If you have it sitting in the driveway or on the street during the nicer seasons, you may also want to get a cloth motorcycle cover to keep it protected from rain, dirt splashes, and bugs.