If you’re new to the motorcycle world, you’re probably starting to realize how costly this hobby can be. From the gear, to the bike, to the insurance—it’s safe to say you’ve invested a lot into riding. There are a few ways to save some money and time, that will actually be a really good investment to make for yourself, and that is learning how to service simple things on your bike.
In this article here, I talk about how not giving your motorcycle a routine maintenance check can be really dangerous for you out on the road, but what happens when you actually run into some bike problems. You’d be surprised how much servicing you can do yourself (if you’re not an everyday mechanic/motorcycle specialist). A lot of the common issues bikes have can be fixed yourself, which in the long run, will save you money and time—the two things everyone wishes they had more of.
Changing your oil is one of the most rewarding, easiest and money saving tasks you can do yourself, when it comes to motorcycles. It is significantly easier than changing the oil of say, a car or truck, simply because motorcycles are smaller and more open. It’s best to change your motorcycle’s oil every several thousand miles, but depending on your specific brand and model of bike, you might want to refer to your user’s manual.
To change your motorcycle’s oil, you should warm up your bike for a few minutes to get the oil warm. Then, turn your bike off, remove the drain plug (to the oil canister) and allow the oil to drain into a pan. Next, take out the drain filter. Once the old oil and filter are drained completely, replace the old filter with a new one, then using a funnel, replace the oil and the fill cap. After that, just recycle your old oil or dispose of it how you see fit and you should be good to go.
You should check your oil before you ride every week or so, depending on how much you ride.
Change Air Filter
Your motorcycle’s air filter does a pretty important job. It collects all the debris, mud, bugs and grime from the road and wind and keeps it all from getting to your engine. If your bike’s air filter is due for a change, you may notice that your bike isn’t running as smoothly as it usually does. A clogged air filter may be to blame. On some motorcycles, the air filter can be pretty easy to access, however on others you may need to take apart some fairing and your gas tank—which shouldn’t be too troublesome anyways. Replacing your air filter is one of the easiest tasks to do and only should take a few minutes. Just get your new filter, get to the airbox and replace the old one. Read up on your bike’s manual to make sure you’re using the right tools and equipment. Then, just put everything else back into place and your engine should be up and running in no time.
Tires are very important parts to your motorcycle, as they help you maintain balance, control and power on the road. If your tires are out of shape (are flat, have eroded traction or simply just worn out) you’re going to want to do one of the following. That is: fill up the air in your tires, replace your tires. I recommend the latter to be done by an actual mechanic. But, filling up your tires and checking to see if they are due for a replacement can be done yourself. To check your tire’s air pressure and tread, simply find the valve stem on your wheel, remove the top, and apply an air pressure gauge and depending on your bike, you will need to match up that number with correct tire pressure your bike should maintain. Then just head to a gas station and fill up your air until that number matches. For the tread, just check the knobs on your tires and if they’re worn down to the same level as the grooves, you’re in for a replacement.
Clean Your Chain
While motorcycle chains are expensive, cleaning them is not. All you need is a few products and about 15 and you should be up and riding around in minutes. You can either use some Maxima Chain Cleaner or some Muc-Off Chain Cleaner, to get that grime off. You’ll want to be liberal and generous with these cleaners to really get the job done. Then you should scrub the chain all around with a chain brush to get the product in the small cracks and crevices, as well as take some of the existing crud off. Lastly, give your chain one last spray down and dry it with a microfiber towel, so that it doesn’t rust and the chain lube sticks to the chain. You can then use Maxima Chain Lube or DuPont Chain Saver to lube the chain up and you should be done.
Give Your Bike A Wash
One of the biggest reasons your bike might not be running properly, is if it is dirty. When dirt, debris and grime get caked up on your bike it’ll start messing with your bike’s hardware and internals—which is never fun. It is important to give your bike a proper wash and rinse just like you would a car, in order to make the paint shine and your bike run smooth. Further, washing your motorcycle will prevent rust and wear from occurring, keeping the value of your bike and its longevity going for many more years.
Making sure your motorcycle is in good condition is one of the key ways you can extend your bike's value and life. Not only this, but you will never have to worry about your bike failing on you while you’re out on the road, if you do routine checkups and maintenance tasks. The ones listed above are a great way for beginners to learn the ins and outs of motorcycles, as well as a great way to save money and time.
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