Waiting to service one`s bike until after an accident or malfunction means it`s too late. Taking care of a motorcycle — like any motor vehicle — requires consistent maintenance. Small business owner and avid motorcyclist Michael Bilokonsky of Fort Thomas, Kentucky, says that diligently maintaining one`s motorcycle keeps the bike in top-notch condition and ongoing maintenance more manageable. Mr. Bilokonsky shares a quick guide for motorcycle maintenance.
What is Essential Motorcycle Maintenance?
Even when a motorcycle doesn`t appear to have any issues, it`s still important that owners perform regular checks on certain parts and replace fluids/filters. Many maintenance tasks can be done without assistance from a motorcycle mechanic. Here`s a list of the most essential maintenance tasks.
Checking the engine is simple and can be done every time the rider turns the ignition. If the engine doesn`t turn easily, idles roughly, makes unusual noises, etc., then something may be wrong with the engine or one of its auxiliary parts.
The sooner that a motorcyclist notices an unusual sound or vibration, it`s more likely that the repair is manageable. Ignoring these signals of engine distress will only exacerbate the issue and end up costing more money in repairs down the road.
Every motorcycle accident is potentially fatal. When tire tread or air pressure is low, it`s much harder to control one`s motorcycle. It`s critical that riders notice tread depth on their tires. If the tires can`t grip the roads, then it becomes too easy to slide on turns, especially during cold, wet, or loose road conditions.
Deep scratches or puncture marks may not flatten a tire right away. Should a tire pop on the road, a rider can be seriously injured or killed. Owners should examine their tires carefully for nails/screws, gashes, or bulges.
Few things are scarier than having the brakes stick or not respond when a rider desperately needs them to. Brakes don`t just malfunction only when pads need to be replaced. There are many possible issues that could cause brakes to stick or become “spongy.” This is especially true if the rider doesn`t maintain their bike well.
As soon as one notices their motorcycle brakes acting less responsive, they should take a closer look or consult a mechanic. Though the issue may not be serious, it will undoubtedly become serious if the rider ignores these signs.
Fluids and Filter
Every engine needs regular oil changes. Motorcycles are no different. When checking and replacing the oil, one should also examine coolant levels, says Michael Bilokonsky. Every motorcycle make/model works a little differently, but most owners should change their engine oil every few thousand miles.
Though it`s not necessary to change the coolant as often as one changes the oil, motorcyclists should do so periodically. At the very least, the coolant should remain at a certain level to prevent overheating, freezing, or corrosion. Owners can consult their motorcycle manual for how and how often they need to change the engine coolant.
When checking fluids, one should examine and replace the air filter. Dirty filters can cause the engine to become dirty and clogged. Ignored air filters also hurt gas mileage and increase the frequency with which one must change the oil.
Most motorcycles require owners to periodically clean the chain. Riders can raise the rear of the motorcycle and remove rust, dirt, and grime from the chain with a brush. For chain maintenance, one should consult the owner`s manual carefully.
Michael Bilokonsky Shares How to Know if Something Serious is Wrong
One of the main reasons motorcyclists must perform regular maintenance is so that they can spot something that might be seriously wrong. Without regular maintenance, easily detectable issues go ignored and could result in mechanical failure, expensive repairs, or serious injury on the road.
If at any time one is not sure how to perform routine maintenance, they should consult the owner`s manual or seek help from a mechanic. Thankfully, many maintenance tasks are easy to learn with the help of tutorial videos and user guides online, says Michael Bilokonsky.