The Ultimate Motorcycle Maintenance Guide: 12 Things That Should Always Be On Your List

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This attempt at an ultimate motorcycle maintenance guide provides details on 12 things that should always be on your maintenance list, which you can continue to build upon.

Here is what we will cover regarding motorcycle maintenance:

  • Engine Maintenance 
  • Tires Maintenance
  • Brakes Maintenance
  • Air Filters Maintenance
  • Engine Oil and Oil Filter Maintenance
  • Drive Chain Maintenance
  • Battery Maintenance
  • Exhaust Pipe Maintenance
  • Valves Maintenance
  • Fluids Maintenance
  • Bonus Tip on Caring for Your Bikes During Wintertime:
  • Protection from Frost And Snow Maintenance
  • Motorcycle Maintenance Article Conclusion

Let’s face it: if you’re looking for one hell of a ride with lots of crazy twists and turns, you need to take care of your baby properly. Riding a motorcycle isn’t just about the surrounding scenery, long highways, and spectacular moments. It’s the tip of the iceberg, but what goes before all that excitement?

Which rules do you need to follow if you want a safety ride above all? Let’s discover by following some basic rules. Regular maintenance always depends on two factors: time (one year is average) and mileage (6000 miles). 

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Motorcycle Engine Maintenance

First of all, the engine of a bike is its beating heart, and it dictates how long it’ll live.

Engine maintenance implies:

  • Every six months, you should replace the engine oil. Its primary purpose is to reduce the friction of most of the internal parts in the motorcycle engine. This function helps to prevent damage and add more years to the engine’s lifetime. That’s why it has to be of the right consistency.
  • It would be best to clean air filters every couple of years to get rid of dirt and any other external conditions that can harm your engine.
  • As for fluids, the right proportion will prolong the engine’s life. It’s important to use distilled water if you want to protect the engine from corrosion.
  • Engine oil also plays a vital role in engine protection. Acting as a lubricant, the oil protects the engine from any harm. That’s why it’s crucial to change it from time to time to ensure a smooth ride.

Motorcycle Tires Maintenance

It would be best to keep your tires correctly inflated as they play a crucial role in safety. If your tires are under-inflated, there’s a big possibility that an enormous amount of heat will be generated, which can cause a blowout. This lack of inflation can damage your tire and increase the risk of accidents on the road. 

It’s also essential to check the tires’ pressure at least once a week or possibly before every ride. Remember to do this before riding out while the tires are still cold. 

If you’re not using your motorcycle for a longer duration, you need to protect the tires from possible unfavorable conditions, such as too high or low temperatures. It’s one of the basic rules you should follow, especially during the winter, as they can suffer severe damage. One of the first signs of the need to replace your tires is when a tire bar gets very close to the tread – that’s how you’ll know your tires are worn.

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Motorcycle Brakes Maintenance

They come in two different categories: drum brakes and disk brakes. Besides the engine, brakes should be inspected as often as possible to guarantee your safety.

The most common problem with brakes, though, is their brake pads. Don’t you know how to recognize low brake pads? The answer lies in brake reservoir and fluid level. If your liquid level is low, it’s probably a sign that you have to replace your brake pads. You should check with your manufacturer for recommended pad thickness as their size is between 1.5 to 2.00mm.

Brake linings are most likely to be worn out, and there is one leading indicator that will assure you: the grinding sound that will get louder when you step harder on the brake.

Besides jaw chucks that need to be replaced during one season or at least once every two to three years, you should also change and track the oil on your brakes. Like engine oil that helps protect against damage, the brakes will work much better if you replace the oil once a year.

Motorcycle Air Filters Maintenance

Like any other filter, this one also has a significant role in your motorcycle engine, not only for keeping the dirt and dust in those tiny cells but also for allowing fresh air to circulate within the machine. If you’re not correctly handling your air filters, they can choke the engine and shut down the power supply. Dirty filters cause the engine to struggle and work harder, whereas cleaning them will give your motorcycle more power.

You have paper filters, foam filters, and cotton filters. What do they have in common? Regarding the filters, it is best if you changed them every once in a while. You can have them cleaned when you’re replacing the engine oil. The cotton and foam filters need to be rewashed and also require oiling from time to time. You can replace them if they’re already too difficult to clean. The paper filter, once done, can be thrown away. 

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Engine Oil and Oil Filter Maintenance

When it comes to engine oil, you should always check your motorcycle’s manual about how often you should change it. It is generally recommended that engine oil be changed at least once a year, depending on your mileage. If you’re covering long distances with your bike, you’ll have to change the oil more often. Also, if you’re frequently driving across dirty areas, your oil’s quality is more likely to break down at a faster rate, so you’ll also have to change it more often. 

One of the most significant differences between motorcycles and cars is the higher speed and transmission rate that causes a more elevated temperature among motorcycles. That’s why it’s crucial to change the engine oil and oil filter from time to time. When changing oil filters, you need to wait and drain the oil hole before starting the process.

Most drivers change the oil during a season, but it is recommended to change it right before storing your motorcycle during wintertime. That way, you can prevent possible corrosion, which may appear due to acids that come about as a byproduct of combustion. Many drivers wonder how often you need to change the oil. It depends on your daily routine, the frequency of riding your motorcycle, and the brand of itself. Always check your oil before heading out!

Motorcycle Drive Chain Maintenance

The drive chain plays a crucial role in power transmission from the engine to the rear wheel. Regular proper care can help avoid accidents on the road. It’s a great habit to have your chain lubed after every ride while warm, enabling the oil to get into all of the chain’s parts. Also, the proper chain tension can increase the longevity of your bike.

Proper care depends on your riding routine, just like the oil filter. The main difference, though, is that the drive chain should be adjusted once a month or often, depending on how far you’ve traveled with your motorcycle. The best way recommended would be to lubricate the chain every 500-600 miles. After that, your chain needs to be adjusted and aligned correctly.

After setting your motorcycle properly, you need to loosen the screw shaft. Many motorcycles have protection, so before reducing the shaft, you have to remove the guard first. Then, align the chain by adjusting the screw on both ends of the fork. Ultimately, you should be able to tighten up the screw and put a new circuit.

The adjustment of the chain doesn’t have to be too tight or loose. If you’re not entirely sure how to go about it, it’s probably best to go to your mechanic because this can be a dirty job at times.

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Motorcycle Battery Maintenance

When your motorcycle is stored, particularly during wintertime, the solution is to remove the battery from the bike, then keep it in a dry and well-ventilated space to avoid any damage.

If you have a standard battery, make sure to check the level of electrolytes. For low battery electrolyte levels, it is recommended that you add distilled or deionized water. On the other hand, regular water may contain chemicals that can cause damaged batteries; that’s why it’s not advised to use tap water. 

If you want to be sure that you have a full battery even during winter:

  1. Try the “smart charger “- a device that controls the voltage and maintains optimal performance.
  2. If you encounter any engine failure, check the electricity and wires. When corrosion occurs in your battery terminals, the cables can’t function properly, which causes power failure.
  3. Always check those first.

Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe Maintenance

Designed to blow away the carbon monoxide that your motorcycle creates, the exhaust system comprises multiple components, and each of them requires different types of care. With your exhaust, hot air is blown out behind your motorcycle so you can avoid taking in any toxic gases. 

Let’s look at the exhaust’s hanger. Even if one hanger is broken, it has to be replaced right away, or else you’ll probably end up with loose clamps and broken welds. Shields are also necessary, especially if you’re riding your bike on rough terrain. It will keep you from damaging the system as you bounce around.

It’s the main reason you should replace them- keep them on track and avoid any possibility of loosening other components. Joints can be damaged if the hanger breaks. In this case, you need to procure a replacement, or you can assemble a short pipe that will firmly attach the piping and neck joint. 

Another component that can make your ride very noisy and uncomfortable is broken damper weights. This component acts like a damper that cuts off any vibrations. Aside from giving you a steady, comfortable ride, a regularly cared-for damper can help avoid damage on the joints, shields, and the rest of the system and decrease your accident-related risks on the road.

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Motorcycle Valves Maintenance

The mechanism of motorcycle valves has a significant role in a four-stroke gas engine. They regulate the flow of air or gas to the engine chamber by opening and closing the combustion cylinders’ ways.

One of the main issues in maintenance is the proper adjustment of the valves. In some cases, you might hear rattling noises that could point to loose valves. Similarly, tight valves can cause issues, such as overheating.

Motorcycle Fluids Maintenance

If your motorcycle has water cooling, you should change it every two years. These fluids need to be mixed with distilled water in the right proportion. You must keep an eye on this one. These fluids can’t reach the freezing point because it will expand and permanently damage your engine. 

Be mindful when determining the right proportion. If you’re unsure about this one, you can also ask for advice from the experts to help you in the process. As previously mentioned, it’s not recommended to use regular tap water for mixing. It contains certain minerals that can cause corrosion when in contact with the aluminum parts of your motorcycle. You can release the fluids from the system if you’re not using your bike for a couple of months. This way, safety from corrosion is guaranteed.

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Bonus Tip on Caring for Your Bikes During Wintertime:

Motorcycle Washing Maintenance

When we say “washing,” we don’t mean just cleaning your motorcycle by pouring some soapy water over it. When done correctly, this process certainly protects from external corrosion. Depending on your routes, environments, and other factors, dusty and dirty conditions don’t only affect the motorcycle’s aesthetics. Still, they can also harm your engine and filters. 

To prevent this from happening, you need to wax it. Metal parts of your motorcycle need to be protected from the possible frost during wintertime. In this case, you can use WD spray or some other lubricant.

This way, you will make a fine layer of protection. It’s also recommended to use this spray for the internal parts of the exhaust pipe. You can’t avoid excessive moisture in the wintertime, so you have to protect the exhaust pipe by placing the exhaust pipe in a plastic bag in a safe place.

Protection From Frost And Snow Motorcycle Maintenance

  • Location – a dry and protected space is a must, away from the main window if you want to protect the vehicle’s external and internal elements.
  • Cylinders – to protect this critical component, you should pour about 25mL of oil into the cylinder, the same oil you’re using for the engine.
  • Battery – the proper maintenance of the battery is to remove it from the motorcycle, protect it from moisture, and regularly check the electrolytes’ level.
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Motorcycle Maintenance Article Conclusion:

And that wraps it up, folks! We hope you enjoyed the article on motorcycle maintenance and learned a lot from it. Clearly, regular maintenance is the major key in minimizing problems and ensuring a good safe ride. We’ll conclude this one with a word to the wise – the best ride is a safe one!

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