Motorcycle maintenance can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Basic checks and replacements can keep your bike running smoothly.
Sprockets need to be checked and cleaned on a regular basis. This helps reduce wear and tear on the chain.
It’s also important to check and refill the fluids. This includes oil, coolant, and brake fluid.
1. Change the Oil
Like any motor, your motorcycle’s engine requires oil to lubricate its internal components. Oil also helps to keep the engine cool and wash away metal shavings from normal operation or parts failure.
Consult your bike’s owner manual for the recommended type of oil for your bike and how often to change it. The process is relatively simple. It involves draining the old oil into a pan, then installing a new oil filter and refilling with fresh oil.
2. Change the Fuel
Unlike cars, motorcycles have a relatively short time frame in which gasoline remains good. Today’s ethanol-based fuel has a tendency to absorb water and separate while sitting for extended periods.
This can cause clogged parts and an inability to start your bike. You can easily avoid this problem by opening the petcock in your tank and draining it in a well-ventilated area.
3. Change the Oil Filter
Everything on a bike wears gradually and often you can miss problems until it’s too late. Streaks of oil down the fork seals, for example, suggest they are leaking.
Changing the oil and filter isn’t difficult and doesn’t have to be messy. Just follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to find the correct oil, filter and tools. Lay down a sheet or cardboard before starting.
4. Change the Battery
Whether your motorcycle’s battery is drained, or you’re simply looking to upgrade to a higher performance model, knowing how to change the battery in your bike is important. The process varies from one motorcycle to the next, but removing the battery is generally fairly straightforward.
Be sure to disconnect the negative terminal first, as this will reduce the risk of electrical short circuits.
5. Change the Brake Pads
Brake pads are a key part of the motorcycle’s braking system and need to be replaced regularly. They should be replaced once the wear indicator grooves are visible.
Changing the brake pads is fairly easy and can be done without removing the wheel. It’s important to use a proper tool to ensure that the pin screw is tightened properly. It can also be helpful to spray a little lubricant on the pistons and surrounding area.
6. Change the Tires
A bike requires a matched set of front and rear tires for optimal handling. Check the tyres weekly with a pressure gauge and make sure they are correctly inflated.
A little time spent checking for anything unusual can reveal issues that require attention – before they become ride-halting problems. It also pays to clean the frame periodically. Use a motorcycle-specific shampoo and be careful not to scratch the frame.
7. Change the Chain
The chain is an important part of the bike, and keeping it clean and lubricated is essential for rider safety. Using a degreaser or even kerosene can help dissolve old lubricant and dirt that could cause frozen links.
Set your bike on a center or rear paddock stand. Gather your tools: new chain and front and rear sprockets (it’s best to change the sprockets when you replace the chain, as pairing a fresh chain with worn sprockets will accelerate its wear); automotive rubber gloves; cleaner; lubricant.
8. Change the Oil Filter
While cars are complex machines with difficult-to-understand systems, motorcycles are relatively simple to work on. This includes the motor, which is the heart of your bike.
Start by changing the oil filter. Make sure the engine is warm, and use a drain pan to catch old oil. Pour the right amount of new oil into the motor via the filler plug (your manual will tell you what volume to add).
9. Change the Air Filter
The air filter in your bike is responsible for removing all the gunk that would otherwise flow into your engine-dirt, dust, debris and more. Keeping it clean or changing it regularly is key to maintaining power and performance.
Check your owner’s manual to find out the interval (length of time or number of miles) you should be changing your air filter. Also, make sure you keep a spare one in case of an emergency.
10. Change the Battery Terminals
Corroded battery terminals can drastically reduce the flow of electricity on your bike. Learn to clean them, and your motorbike will run more smoothly.
Be sure to disconnect the battery before touching it. Lead-acid batteries contain sulphuric acid, which is toxic. Always wear gloves and goggles to minimize the risk of shock.
Remove the black cable first, then move it aside so that it doesn’t come in contact with the battery or motorcycle.