Nothing ruins a good road trip more than your motorcycle breaking down in the middle of the highway. To avoid another of these episodes (and buying your mates a round of tallies for the hassle), we have here some motorcycle care tips you can DIY before your next ride.
How to take care of your motorcycle?
- Sensory inspection
The first thing you should do before getting on a bike and after getting off it. And this is the easiest tip as well. Go around your motorcycle. Check the tyres, chain, lights, metres, etc.
If you see, smell, hear or feel anything off when the motorcycle is idle or on the road, it might be time to do a more thorough check. You can do this using a scan tool or take the bike to the mechanic.
- Change engine oil regularly
Ideally, you should change the engine oil every year or as often as the manual says. Either way, keep a close eye on burnt oil smell, rough starting, black exhaust smoke, overheating, or poor fuel economy. Any of this may mean trouble with your engine lubricating fluid.
If you plan to do the oil change yourself, locate and remove the drain plug and oil fill plug to let out the old engine oil. Replace the oil filter and put in the new engine oil (check your manual on the recommended engine oil for your bike).
Start the engine and allow the new oil to warm up before driving. By the way, remember to save the old oil and take it to your local recycling facility.
- Keep the air filter clean
Depending on the motorcycle, you can easily access your air filter as easy as removing and replacing it. However, there are models that you may also need to remove parts before you can get to the air filter.
It’s essential that you change the air filter every 10,000 km or earlier if you live in a sandy area. Otherwise, you reduce the power and performance of your bike.
- Check tyre pressure and tread wear
Accept it. You will wear your tyres down, and you will need to replace them sooner or later. The key here is to be wary of your tyres’ condition all the time. Check the tread depth for each tyre. Look out for holes, damage, or cracks.
It’s also advisable to maintain the proper tyre pressure to avoid further wear and save fuel. A basic tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) should do the trick. If you don’t have one, make sure you keep a manual tyre gauge handy.
Also, familiarise yourself with the correct tyre pressure for each surface (i.e. sand, gravel, highway) should help you prolong your tyres’ lives.
- Clean and lube your motorcycle chain
The motorcycle’s chain drives your tyres by transferring power from the engine. Therefore, it is critical to maintaining the correct level of slack. Too much or too little tension could lead to malfunction or accidents on the road.
Make sure to apply lube on your chains as well. Ideally, do this after your ride while the chain is still warm.
- Make time for a coolant change
The general rule on coolant replacement is every two years. However, if you regularly ride in sweltering or freezing conditions, then the duration should be less.
You may need to remove a few body parts to access and remove the coolant drain bolt and radiator cap. Then, you may refill the coolant to the suggested level.
- Keep your brake pads thick
After every 10 to 15 thousand kilometres, change those brake pads. Not only will this practice keep your motorcycle’s optimal performance, but you will also make your ride safer.
Further, if you spend a lot of time on inclined areas or do a lot of starts and stops, you should be warier about the condition of your brake pads.
- Other things you need to check
You also need to monitor other vital motorcycle components, including the battery, spark plugs, brake fluid, and fork oil.
The battery and fork oil need to be changed every two years. Meanwhile, replace your spark plugs every 6,000 to 12,000 km travelled. Finally, inspect your brake fluid chamber periodically and refill it to the ideal level if necessary.
Our final word
You will see that these motorcycle care tips are as straightforward as they come. Easy to follow, though it may take some physical effort to accomplish. Still, motorcycle care requires knowledge of your bike and awareness of the conditions you’re riding on as well.
Aside from reading guides such as this, you can also solicit help from your friendly neighbourhood mechanic, other biker friends, and the latest motorcycle tools.
OBD2 Australia offers quality, durable, and affordable vehicle accessories, including motorcycle scan tools and OBD cables, allowing you to gain information and access functions to better care of your motorcycle.
If you practice these motorcycle care tips and use the right tools, you’ll be sure to have a more enjoyable and stress-free ride next time!