Motorcycle maintenance is a vital part of being a motorbike owner. If you want your new toy to run smoothly for longer, you need to know the important elements of motorbike care. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also improve its second-hand value if you decide to sell it in the future. It’s also vitally important to ensure your safety on the road.
When it comes to motorbike maintenance tips, there’s nowhere better to turn than the good ol’ manual. It will include a chart listing the maintenance tasks, describing what needs to be done. If you see the letters I, C, R, A and L, they typically stand for Inspect, Clean, Replace, Adjust and Lubricate. Be sure to read the fine print.
In addition to the knowledge gained from the manual, get to know the below 11 top motorcycle maintenance tips to keep your motorbike healthy and in tip top condition:
1. Break it in properly.
Essential for motorcycle maintenance is that you treat it right during the first few thousand kilometres of its life. Read the manual for break-in guidelines.
2. Get to know the inner workings.
A motorbike is a pretty complicated machine, but once you understand how the individual pieces function, the rest is more straightforward and regular motorcycle maintenance becomes easier.
3. Check the oil regularly.
You should change the oil every 5,000 or 10 ,00km, depending on the model of the motorcycle. Note that during summer the bike will use more oil, while in winter it will last a bit longer.
4. Maintain the brake pads.
The next motorcycle tip? When the brake pads are thinner than 2mm, it’s time to change them. This could save your life.
5. Keep the motorcycle engine running smoothly.
Lubrication is a vital element of motorcycle care. Depending on your bike model, you may need to lube the steering-head bearings, swingarm, suspension linkages and wheel bearings. Turn bearings slowly by hand and inspect wheel bearings once a year. It’s also important to check your fork oil and change it every few years.
6. Keep tyres in perfect shape.
Check the pressure and the tread of your tyres before you start any journey to make sure there are no holes, cracks, tears or any wear that could put you in danger. Tyres are affected by weather and ground conditions, so look out for rot if you live or often ride in damp areas. An important motorcycle maintenance tip is to check tyre pressure regularly with a pressure gauge. Do this when the bike is cool, and not during a ride.
7. Take care of the chain.
Motorcycle chain maintenance means ensuring your chain has the right amount of slack at the tightest spot. Too much tension will cause problems with your wheels and gearbox bearings. Another motorcycle care tip is to add lube to your chain when you return from a ride and while it’s still warm, so that the chain can absorb the oil as it cools. Clean the chain with a cloth and kerosene whenever you change the oil.
8. Check the spark plug yourself.
If your spark plugs are dirty or badly corroded they need to be replaced ASAP to avoid wearing them out completely. While performing your regular motorbike check, include the spark plugs. The engine should be cool for at least two hours. Dust off old spark plugs, unscrew with a spark plug socket and rachet and inspect it. If it’s orange then it’s fine; if it’s white then your engine is overheating. A black spark plug can mean the air and fuel mixture is too rich. New spark plugs should be added by hand to ensure you don’t screw them on too tightly.
9. Clean the air filter.
Another motorcycle care tip is to clean the air filter. If it’s dirty, doesn’t fit correctly or isn’t properly oiled, dirt and grit can work its way into the engine. Follow the motorcycle maintenance plan closely and if you ride on dusty roads often, clean and replace the air filter regularly.
10. Take care of the motorcycle battery.
Part of your general motorcycle maintenance is to check your battery monthly. Terminals should be clean to prevent corrosion. Check the connectors on the terminals are not loose – if they are the bike won’t start. Regularly check the battery for leaks and charge it once a week. Allowing them to be completely exhausted will only shorten their life and impact their performance.
11. Adjust the valve.
Many motorbikes need valve adjustments, so check the motorcycle maintenance manual to see if it’s necessary for your model.
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