Motorcycle Maintenance: What to Do, How Often, and DIY Tasks
Did you know that there are over 11 million registered motorcycles in the United States & Canada alone? That’s a lot of proud riders, to say the least!
If you’re a motorcycle owner who has had their bike for a while, odds are you already know where the best riding spots are. But when it comes to motorcycle maintenance, if you don’t typically handle it yourself, you may not be all that familiar with what needs to be done and when.
If you’re interested in doing your motorcycle maintenance yourself but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll tell you the basic tasks that you can do yourself, as well as a few things that you should leave to the professionals, just to be safe.
Let’s get started!
Changing the Oil
When people think of traditional car maintenance, usually, the first task that comes to mind is changing the vehicle’s oil. Well, this is much the same for motorcycle maintenance, which makes it the perfect place to start.
Changing the oil in your motorcycle isn’t much different than changing the oil in your car. First, you’re going to need a solid motorcycle stand to work on your bike and complete the majority of the tasks on this list. But you can get a solid stand without breaking the bank, and it’ll last forever.
The most important thing to know about changing your motorcycle’s oil, as compared to your car’s oil, is that the oil is different. You’re going to want to make sure that the oil that your using is motorcycle oil that is compatible with your specific bike. Check your owner’s manual for that information, or ask a pro, as all bikes are different.
In your manual, you’ll also find how often you should change your oil. Every few thousand miles is pretty standard, though, so that’s a good habit to get in to.
Last but not least, it’s important to note that this process can be a bit messy. You’re going to want to do this is an area that you don’t mind getting dirty. It’s not a bad idea to put some old boxes down under your bike to keep things clean.
Replacing the Air Filter
Much like your car, your motorcycle has an air filter that needs to be changed every so often. How often it needs to be changed, and with what kind of filter varies by bike, so check your manual for that information.
A good rule of thumb? Check your filter every time you change your oil. If it looks rough, go ahead and replace it. If it doesn’t, worry about it next time.
Accessing your air filter can be quite tricky for some bikes. Changing the filter itself is easy, but getting to it can sometimes mean taking your bike apart, which can take some time and patience. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, let a professional handle that job for you.
Changing the Coolant
If you’re familiar with any motor vehicle, you’ll know that they all have coolant, which keeps the motor from overheating. Motorcycles are no different, and changing the coolant in your bike is a lot like changing the coolant in your car.
Like oil, motorcycle coolant differs from traditional car coolant. So don’t just use something you have lying around the garage, check your manual and do some research to figure out what kind of coolant your bike takes.
The frequency this needs to be done (you guessed it) depends on the bike, so check for that information in your owner’s manual.
Checking the Drive Chain
The drive chain on your motorcycle will stretch over time, so if you notice it doing so, don’t panic. Tightening your drive chain shouldn’t be too hard, and you’ll find steps on how to do so for your particular bike in the owner’s manual.
There are, however, a few useful tips to keep in mind for all drive chains, regardless of what kind of a bike you own. First, follow the chain lubricated to help prevent any normal wear and tear issues and allow for the chain to function correctly.
Also, when dealing with the drive chain, be sure to do so with the motorcycle off. It might seem a bit obvious, but we have to mention how dangerous it is to work on a drive chain with your motorcycle running.
Eventually, your drive chain will need to be replaced. This is something you can do yourself if you have all the right tools (again, check the owner’s manual).
It can be a bit challenging working on the chain, especially getting everything balanced the way that it needs to be. So letting a pro do it for you, if you’re not comfortable, is a good idea.
Checking the Tires
Last but not least, checking the tires is something you should often do, if not before every ride. A motorcycle wreck is much more dangerous than a car wreck, so confirming your tires are in good shape before a ride is an excellent habit to get into.
The tread of your tire is a good place to start. Like a car, your tires have a wear indicator, usually located somewhere on the tread of the tire itself. If you notice that your tread is getting too low, it’s time for new tires, which isn’t something you should do yourself.
Checking your tire’s air pressure is something you should do now and again, too, to make sure things look good. Your tire should have the recommended PSI written somewhere on the tire itself. You need to use a tire gauge to confirm that the PSI is right and add or subtract air as required.
Motorcycle Maintenance Tips and Tricks
Well, there you have it. Those are just a few motorcycle maintenance tips and tricks that are worth knowing, so you can do the job yourself more efficiently going forward.
If you’ve already done the routine maintenance on a vehicle before, you’ll find that things are pretty similar. Remember, be sure to use motorcycle oil and coolant, and not something you already have in the garage for your car.
Keeping your chain tight and lubricated is important, too. And if your manual suggests that doing something on this list might be complicated, or require you to take apart your bike, let a pro handle it.
Don’t own a motorcycle yet but interested in one? Have some questions? Contact us today, and we’ll be glad to help you!