12 Informative Tips on How to Maintain Your Motorcycle

Maintain Your Motorcycle

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Everyone wants to keep their bikes in good condition and in tip top shape at all times. But how do you maintain your bike to keep it running and looking like new?
 
Keeping your bike well maintained and like new is not very difficult. It is common to keep your bike in good condition for a few months and maybe even in the years after buying it new.
 
In order to maintain your bike, there are a few things that you need to do. This article contains some important tips to keep your bike in good condition just by following a few simple steps on a regular basis.

 

 

Tips to Maintain Your Bike in Good Condition

Getting a new bike is a fascinating experience for many of us. We like to keep our bikes looking and feeling new for a long time. Maintaining your bike properly translates into longer vehicle life and less running costs as expensive repairs are avoided.
 

Here Are Some Tips to Keep Your Bike in Excellent Shape for a Long Time to Come

 

1. Keep an Eye on the Tires

Keep an eye on the tires
 
 
It is essential to check your tires regularly. Check the air pressure of the tires and make sure it is not too low. Keep the air pressure levels as recommended by the manufacturer.
 
Inspect the tires for any cuts or scrapes that may cause them to leak tire pressure on the run. The tires could also even blowout at high speeds if they have damage on the surface.
 
Have a look at the tire treads and ensure that they are not worn out. As tires wear out, they may expose the tube underneath and cause the tire to burst while riding.
 
The wheels should also be balanced and aligned for smooth driving. You don’t want your motorcycle to veer to any direction while riding, or cause an imbalance when on the move.
 
Tire pressure can be checked by a tire pressure gauge available at any online car accessory store. The recommended tire pressure can be found on the walls of the tire, although this is the pressure required at max load.
 

2.  Engine oil

Engine oil
 
 
Engine oil is used for the smooth operation of the bike. Engine oil reduces friction between metal surfaces such as between the piston and cylinder, in between gears, etc. When engine oil gets old, it loses its lubricative properties and is not able to reduce friction as well as it did when it was new. Engine oil is also used to carry away heat built up in the engine.
 
Check the engine oil level regularly and make sure that the oil is in good condition. If there are any leaks, they should be addressed immediately to prevent the oil level from going down.
 
In time, the oil develops carbon deposits due to the combustion of fuel, and this causes the oil to turn dark in colour and prevent smooth movement of the engine internals.
 
Running the motorcycle on dirty oil will cause an increase in fuel consumption and reduce the life of the engine in the long run.
 
The engine will also tend to overheat because oil has the property of cooling down the engine. Old engine oil may cause the pistons to seize or trigger knocking in the engine operation.
 
The best way to avoid all this is to get the oil changed at every service interval and check the level (if it is low, you can just top it off).
 

3. Keep the Air Filter Clean

Keep the air filter clean
 
 
If the bike is run in dusty environments, there is a good chance that the air filter will get dirty in a short period of time. The air filter is the only device between the outside environment and the engine, and having a dirty air filter will clog the passage of air into the engine, essentially causing it to choke.
 
This may lead to some dirt entering the engine, which is not recommended as it will wreck the piston and cylinder walls. Also, it may cause the engine to use a rich mixture of air/fuel which will lead to increase in fuel consumption.
Even if you are not riding the bike in dusty conditions, it is recommended to change the air filter at regular intervals as stated in the vehicle manual. In between changing of the air filter, it can be cleaned with petrol to rid it of excessive dirt.
 
A clean air filter will result in a smoother riding experience because the engine is able to breathe much easier.
 

4.  Adjusting the Clutch

 Adjusting the clutch
 
 
The clutch is the component that is used to shift gears while riding the bike. Clutches go out of order very easily, and if there is too much free play in them, they will cause slipping and the clutch plates may get worn out.
 
The clutch must be adjusted so that it has the right amount of free play in it, and won’t slip when accelerating. At the same time the clutch should not be tightened too much, as this may cause problems when riding.
 
A clutch that is slipping will lead to over consumption of fuel. Clutches are made up of several friction plates and clutch plates. If the friction plates get worn out, the clutch may start slipping, so always make sure to press the clutch completely when changing gears.
 

5.  Engine

Engine
 
 
The engine is the crowning jewel of your bike, and the heart of the vehicle. Keeping the engine in good condition will ensure that it runs well at all times, has good fuel economy and prevents any expensive repairs down the line.
The carburettor is used to provide the air-fuel mixture to the engine, therefore it must be cleaned regularly especially if it is a 2 stroke bike where oil is mixed with petrol. In a four-stroke bike, make sure that the valves have the right amount of clearance at all times.
 
Typically, the carburettor should be cleaned for every 1500 km you travel. It contains small parts and jets that can easily get clogged up due to unclean fuel or the addition of oil into the fuel.
 
Keep the spark plug clean and free of carbon deposits. The spark plug is used to fire up the combustion cycle in the cylinder so it is important to have it working well. Also, ensure that the spark plug gap is set correctly in order to produce the spark in the cylinder.
 
Spark plugs should be checked and cleaned for every 750 km in the case of a 2-stroke bike, and every 1500 km in the case of a 4-stroke bike.
 
On cold mornings, it is sometimes required to use the choke on the carburettor which inducts a rich air-fuel mixture into the engine in order to start easily. Make sure that the choke is adjusted properly and is able to work efficiently enough to start the engine without much trouble.
 

6. Chain (Power Transmission)

Chain (power transmission)
 
 
Motorcycles use a chain to connect the engine to the rear wheel. Maintaining the chain in good condition ensures smooth and trouble-free operation of your bike.
 
The chain needs lubrication to run smoothly as well as regular cleaning and adjustment. To wash the chain, make use of diesel or paraffin which will dissolve the dirt away without causing damage to the chain links. Never use water to clean the chain as that may cause rust to form.
 
A soft brush can be used to clean dirt and debris that may be stuck in the chain links. Once the chain has been cleaned completely, use a soft cloth to wipe it of any excess diesel or paraffin and place it back onto the motorcycle.
 
For lubrication of the chain, use a specialised chain lubricant, or even WD40 can work here. You can even use engine oil to lubricate the chain.
 
Maintain the right amount of free play in the chain. You can test this by moving the chain in a vertical direction with your fingers and checking for around 2 to 5 mm of free play. The bike chain should have proper tension and free play in order to transfer the power of the engine to the rear wheels.
 
If there is any variation in tension or free play, the rear wheel will not move smoothly and may even jerk when the bike is in motion. There will be a loss of power and slippage in this case. Adjusting the chain can be done easily at home by following the instructions in the vehicle’s manual. Alternatively, you could have a mechanic adjust the chain if you are not confident in doing it yourself.
When riding the bike, try not to rev it too high as this may wear out the engine and transmission. Keep the rpms low and ride the bike smoothly changing the gears when needed. Also, do not change from a high gear to a low gear at speed. This may damage the transmission system.
 

7. Keeping the Paint in Good Condition

Keeping the paint in good condition
 
 
The exterior of the bike should be cleaned often to maintain the paint and ensure that the bike looks new and shiny. When cleaning the bike, make sure to cover the high tension leads and spark plug, because you don’t want any water getting in there. Also cover the ignition switch and exhaust pipe with a plastic sheet.
 
When parking the bike, try to find a shady spot. Exposing the bike to direct sunlight for an extended period of time may dull the paint and cause cracks in the plastic components.
 
A microfibre cloth is ideal for cleaning your bike because it avoids scratches to the paint and other exterior finishes. Microfibre cloths are fairly inexpensive and are available at any car and bike accessory store.
 
A mild soap and water solution is enough for cleaning the exterior of the bike. Wash the bike regularly to keep the paint in good order and for it to shine like new.
 

8. Battery Maintenance

Battery maintenance
 
The battery should be in good condition at all times because it is used to power the headlights, indicators and horn. If you have any auxiliary lights like fog lamps, they rely on the battery to work.
 
Keeping the battery maintained ensures a long and trouble-free life for it. You will have to top up the battery with distilled water if the levels go low. Most modern batteries are maintenance free but it’s a good idea to check for leaks in it.
 
If you are not going to use the bike for a long time, then disconnect the battery as it may get discharged if left idle.
 

9.  Brakes

Brakes
 
 
Brakes have to be adjusted periodically to ensure that they don’t drag or that they are not too loose. Brakes that drag will heat up and wear down quickly while brakes that are loose may be a safety concern if you cannot stop in time.
 
If the brakes are worn out, you will have to replace the brake pad. Usually this can be identified as a squealing noise when the brakes are applied.
 

10. Front Suspension Fork Oil

Keep the oil levels in the front suspension maintained for long life and safe bike riding. The fork oil should be replaced at least once every 12,000 km.
 

11.  Sprockets

Sprockets are the components that connect to the wheels and cause them to spin under the power of the engine. They have teeth that can get worn out.
Check the sprockets for wear and tear regularly and replace them if required.
 

12.  Speed

A bike should be ridden at a speed of 40-60 km/h at all times to ensure that fuel consumption remains within limits and that the engine and other components don’t have too much wear and tear.
 
Riding the bike at a moderate speed ensures good health of the vehicle.
 

Conclusion

The happiest bike riders are the ones that keep their bikes in good condition. If you follow these tips on bike maintenance, you will be a happy rider too. We believe these steps go a long way in keeping your bike in a showroom like condition.
 
Proper maintenance of your bike means that your riding experience is comfortable, that you don’t have to worry about your bike failing and it helps in the long run to reduce costs of repair and ensure a long life for your vehicle.
If you decide to resell your bike, a well-maintained vehicle will have a higher asking price than one that was neglected.
 
A lot of these tasks can be done by yourself in your home garage with a few simple tools and a little bit of elbow grease. The steps won’t take long either and can be completed on a weekend off from work.
 
We hope this article has brought you up to speed with motorcycle maintenance and that these steps will go a long way in keeping your bike in the best condition
 
 
 
Colin Dias

Colin Dias

Automotive enthusiast. Heavy Metal fan. Classic car aficionado.

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