If you own a motorcycle or intend to purchase one, there are a few things that you are mandated to know. These tips will not only help you in knowing about your machine but will also help in keeping your beauty live longer with a trouble free life. Motorcycles much like cars need regular maintenance and basic maintenance checks will keep your service bills to a minimum also nullifying the need for hefty repairs, should there be any.
Here is the 10 Do It Yourself Basic Motorcycle Maintenance Checks for beginners –
1. Check the Tyres
Tyres tend to lose pressure over time and need to be refilled at regular intervals. It is best to check the tyre pressure on the local tip to the petrol pump. Look for the optimum level pressure for the front and the rear tyres in the motorcycles manual. The best time to check the tyre pressure is before starting a ride. Fully inflated tyres also add to the fuel efficiency of the motorcycle.
2. Lubricate the chain and sprocket regularly
The drive-train that consists of the chain, the belt and the shaft send power from the transmission to the rear wheel. It takes a lot of beating from all sources and needs to be well maintained to ensure smooth riding. The motorcycle chain needs to be lubricated at all times. Clean the chain regularly with a hard paint brush and remove the dirt and alienated parts, then apply the chain lubricant on the chain to keep the chain smooth and care free running.
3. Check the Coolant level
Keep a tab on the coolant level in your motorcycle. The usage of coolant may vary from bike to bike and also on how you use your bike. When the coolant level is low, make sure you fill it up again with a mixture of water and coolant as prescribed in the manual. Lack of the coolant will result in over heating the engine resulting in bigger bills and severe damage.
4. Replace the engine oil
Oil changes are extremely important as well as easy to attend. Oil lubricates the engine and reduces friction between its components. Most motorcycles today come with dipstick that will tell you the maximum and minimum level of oil in your bike. Keep checking the same and top up the oil when it has reached minimum level. It is best advised to change engine oil after 3 months varying upon your riding.
5. Check the battery regularly
The battery needs utmost attention and care, if not it will turn into a very expensive affair. If you do not feel confident in handling it, take advice from an experienced rider or a mechanic who can teach you how to handle batteries. Primarily look out for any battery leaks or blown fuse before starting your ride. If you do not intend to use the motorcycle, remove the battery and store it on a wooden or cardboard surface.
6. Clean the air filter
The air filter will get clogged after use and will not let air pass through to the engine. This leads to decrease in performance and increases the load on the engine. Keep cleaning the air filter on a monthly basis, depending on your schedule. If the air filter is too clogged, it is best advised to replace it with a new one. You can easily access the air filter, remove and put it back in. Read the owner’s manual for the details.
7. Check the wear and tear on brakes
There is no doubt that getting it wrong with the brakes is a matter of life and death. For your safety, it is better to check on the brake pads at regular intervals. Most brakes today are equipped with discs and the brake pads wear off after extensive usage. You will have to get the brake pad replaced once you see the pads being worn off. A little expense now will save you the extensive cost of purchasing the entire disc brake unit itself.
8. Check the lights and horn
The lights and horn along with other electrical components may see breakage due to extensive abuse especially in the rains. Check the lights for correct illumination, if you feel that the throw isn’t as large as it used to be; replace the bulb inside the headlight unit. You may also upgrade to better bulbs to improve visibility on road. Check out for any lose wires or bad components for the horn. Replacement for the same comes at a very nominal cost.
9. Wash your motorcycle regularly
A sound motorcycle is incomplete without a clean exterior. Make sure you have the motorcycle cleaned and nice before riding. Using basic techniques you can keep your bike looking as good as new even after years of wear and tear. Make sure you use polish and wax to keep the motorcycle’s paint intact.
10. Service regularly
Get your motorcycle services from the authorized service dealer. The best period for service is given in the owner’s manual and make sure you refer to it when going through any of the more complicated tasks. The service should take care of most major changes like oil, coolant etc. Servicing your motorcycle also adds to the value of the bike with hefty repairs restricted to a minimum.
Things to remember –
- Make sure you take your motorcycle to a single mechanic.
- Understand the key components from your mechanic as he will best be able to explain you how to handle your bike.
- The rear view mirrors are also equally important and if broken are easily available to be replaced.
- When adding after market accessories, make sure they do not void the warranty or are downgraded. This will only damage the motorcycle.
Once you make these checks a habit, it will only take 3 minutes of your time to determine and have a look at the problem before starting of your journey. It is always better to solve the problem at home then to be stranded in the middle of nowhere.