10 Motorcycle Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Motorbike Healthy
A motorbike - be it a cruiser, scooter or moped - is one of the most practical means of transportation out there. They allow us to move through cities with heavy traffic quickly and easily, and the cost and maintenance are much less than that of a car. However, a motorcycle requires special attention in order to keep it in the best possible condition and maintain its second-hand value should you want to sell it in the future.
In this oneHOWTO article we'll go over 10 motorcycle maintenance tips to keep your motorbike healthy and make sure it lasts many years.
Just like cars, motorbikes of all types and uses require a comprehensive annual review from a specialist. It is best to take it to your trusted mechanic to check the engine and the condition of the tires and body.
We strongly recommend learning about the different motorcycle engine parts and their functions to make diagnosing and preventing problems easier. Similarly, learn about your motorcycle's model by reading the owner's manual.
One of the most important things to remember if you want to keep your motorbike healthy is to change the oil. We recommend changing the oil every 5,000 or 10,000 km (3,000 to 6,000 mi), depending on the model of the motorcycle.
An oil change is normally done every year during the annual check-up of the motorbike. If your bike is new, you should follow the instructions in the manual. Note that during the summer more oil is consumed, while in the winter it'll last a little longer. The filter should also be changed regularly. Here is how to check the motorbike engine oil level and how to change it.
Maintaining the brake pads of your motorcycle is very important, because your life may depend on their proper functioning. When the brake pads are thinner than 2 mm, it's time to change them.
Experts recommend getting the brake pads checked out every 10,000 or 15,000 km (6,000 or 9,000 mi) depending on where you live and how much you drive. If you live in a city with lots of hills, you will have to check the brake pads more often.
Monitoring the tires is part of the basic maintenance for motorcycles. It is advisable to check the pressure and the grooves of the tires before beginning a journey, making sure that they do not have cracks, holes, tears or any wear that can put your safety at risk. Weather and ground conditions can affect the tires, and you should look for damage but also rot. Once the tires are worn, don't wait too long to change them.
If the tires are over-inflated, there is less contact with the road and therefore less grip. If they don't have enough air, the tire wall will be less stable to the point of affecting braking and handling. You must check the tire pressure regularly with a pressure gauge, but only when they have cooled down.
If you want to keep your motorbike healthy, you should clean the air filter thoroughly every 10,000 km (6,000) or so. This filter prevents dirt from entering the engine of your bike. If you live in an area you are driving through streets with a lot of dust or dirt, you should clean the air filter as often as every week.
The liquid coolant, which protects the engine of the motorcycle during the summer heat and winter frosts, should be replaced approximately every two years. Of course, if you ride your bike often and go for long distances, you should change the bike's coolant more often than that.
Motorcycle coolant is made of equal parts anti-freeze and de-ionized water. After changing the liquid or refilling it, use the radiator hoses. This will expel excess air.
The fork oil helps dampen the bike more efficiently, preventing it from being affected by bumps or unevenness in the road. Fork oil also lubricates all components of the bike that are used when it is in motion, so taking care of it is a very important part of any motorcycle maintenance routine.
You should check the fork oil regularly and make sure to replace it during your annual mechanical check-up.
The bike chain should not be too slack and should be well oiled. It is important to check the chain tension to prevent excessive wear and rough transmission and gear changes. This is quite a durable component; a bike chain can usually with withstand up to 30,000 km (18,000 mi) without needing to be replaced. Here you can find more details on how to clean a motorcycle chain and how often to replace it.
During the annual check-up, the mechanic can check the status of the chain of your motorcycle and tell you when it's time to change it or whether it is too slack and needs tightening. If you're checking the tension yourself, do so by placing a load or weight on the bike. When you're on it, the pressure is greater.
A motorcycle battery usually has a shelf life of two years, after which you should replace it after a review by your mechanic. Remember that during the winter the battery should be recharged regularly to prevent frost from affecting it. Charging it regularly before it becomes too empty is also a good way to extend the battery's life.
Every 6,000 and 12,000 km (4,000 to 8,000 mi) check the spark plugs. These accessories often cause a few problems for bikes.
If you have a new bike and you follow the instruction manual, it should last for a long time in good condition. Do not forget to take your motorbike to the mechanic one a year and to drive carefully and always go to the mechanic if you notice that your motorbike has any issues or makes unusual noises. Check out the following articles:
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