From an early age, we learn that taking care of our belongings is important. And with age, we begin to apply this lesson to different items. For instance, those who invest in a new touring motorcycle or chopper need to perform proper maintenance to ensure they stay in good shape. Just like your toys all those years ago, you want your machines to last forever. As such, there are some motorcycle maintenance tips you can follow to keep things running well.
Keep it Clean
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it may surprise you how many people don’t clean their motorcycle. Among this group, there is a sense of pride in having a dirty bike. Evidently, the dirt is proof that these individuals take their motorcycles out on adventures. Well, leaving dirt, road grime, and bugs on a motorcycle can also give off the impression that you don’t care about your machine. Plus, these impurities can begin to damage your bike. Bugs and road grime will eat away at the finish on the tins and eventually lead to rust. The same goes for the chrome. Chrome should sparkle and shine; however, like paint, chrome will deteriorate and being to rust if not kept clean. There is nothing cool about a rusty motorcycle—no matter what anyone says. Pull out the garden hose, grab a soft rag and some soap, and thoroughly wash your motorcycle. At the very minimum, at least clean off the mirrors so you can see what’s creeping up behind you the road.
Change the Oil
It is important to change the oil at least once a year. Check the owner’s manual for recommendations about how frequently you should perform this maintenance. Typically, once a year should suffice—that is unless you ride year-round and put on tens of thousands of miles. In this case, stick to the manufacturers recommended schedule. If you aren’t handy, any dealership or local mechanic can change the oil for you. However, for those who want to do it themselves, the process is simple. All you need is a filter wrench, drip pan, a socket set, new oil filter, and fresh oil. First, drain the old oil by removing the drain plug. The plug’s location depends on what kind of motorcycle you have. Consult the maintenance manual to find out where it is. Once you drain all the oil, remove the old filter and let the excess oil drain from there. Before you put the new filter on, fill it halfway with oil. Replace the drain plug and fill the oil tank with fresh oil. The process is straight forward and will get easier with practice, so don’t be afraid to try it and get your hands dirty.
Sometimes life gets in the way of riding. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a serious rider, it just means you have other things going on. Weather is another factor that may prevent you from hitting the road. In fact, half the country can’t ride for four to five months out of the year. If you fall into one of these categories, and your motorcycle sits more than it moves, take the time to move it. Roll your motorcycle forward or backward enough that the tires move at least six inches. This will prevent flat spots from forming on the tire.
Clean the Air Filter
After gasoline, air is the most important things for an engine. Air and fuel combine, and then a spark ignites the mixture, resulting in an explosion that moves the pistons. Over and over the pistons fire, turning the crank and giving the engine life. This process will have you blasting down the highway at lightning-fast speeds. To keep your bike running smoothly, make sure it has a good air supply flowing into the motor, as well as an air filter. An air filter keeps any junk from flying into your motor while you are cruising down the highway. Most filters have a metal cover that adds another layer of protection. After some time, you will need to clean the air filter with compressed air—blow out the debris and inspect the filter to determine if it needs replacing. Further, some bikers prefer exposed air filters. If you have one, blow it out the same way and spray on filter oil. The oil will catch any dirt and debris that flies into it.
Check Tire Wear
Over time, tires will begin to wear down and lose tread. A good tire tread is important for maintaining traction—a bald tire will lessen your ability to stop. Not having a good grip on the road is bad in any circumstance, however, it becomes even more dangerous on wet or oily roads. As such, keep a close eye on tire wear so they don’t become bald and turn into a safety issue. Checking the tire’s air pressure is a good habit, as well. If your motorcycle tires have the right air pressure, it will extend their life. It will also help prevent blowouts on the road. Good tread combined with proper air pressure will keep your bike stuck to the road when taking those hairpin curves.
Keep the Battery Charged
Extending the life of your battery is easy—keep it 100% charged when it’s not in use. To determine if it’s at full charge, hook the battery up to a trickle charger. This is especially important during those long winter months. When the bike isn’t running, the alternator won’t be able to charge the battery. And without a charged battery, you won’t be able to fire up the bike. This is crucial, as you want to run the bike once a week to keep the parts lubricated and ready to go. You want to be ready for when the warm weather hits.
With our tips, you can now prepare to hit the open road—even if it’s only for a couple of miles. After all, ridin’ is ridin’. Additionally, you can implement these tips even when your bike is not in use. Our insider information can also help individuals prepping their motorcycle for storage or transport.
For those shipping their motorcycle to a new location, Intercity Lines can help. We offer top of the line enclosed motorcycle transport to ensure your bike stays in perfect condition. When you employ our team, you won’t have to worry about performing extra maintenance upon arrival.