If you’re planning on heading out on a road trip, or even just plan to stick around your own town, properly maintaining your motorcycle is vital to ensuring both your safety and the safety of those you share the road with. We’d like to offer tips on how to take care of six crucial bike components: the brakes, the oil, the fuel, the tires, the battery, and the drive system.
Brakes can wear down quickly, especially if much of your driving has taken place in a city area with frequents starts and stops. To mitigate the risks, carefully inspect the brake pads before every ride. If there’s significant wear or you hear squeaking, change them out at once. Plus, check brake fluid once a month to verify that the brakes are operating sufficiently, and replace the fluid once per year.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to extend the life of your motorcycle’s engine is to change the oil at regular intervals as advised by the vehicle’s user manual. And be sure to only use that oil which has been recommended by the producer of the vehicle. Synthetic oil might be more expensive, but if your vehicle calls for it, it more than pays for itself given the extended longevity you bring to your vehicle. And when you change the oil, change the filter as well. Finally, before every ride, double check the oil levels just to be safe.
Many motorcyclists live in climates that only allow them to operate their vehicles in the summer months. If you fall into this category, then the gas tank should be drained and refilled after six months of inactivity. The fuel filter needs to be replaced anew every two years (or more with lower grade gasoline), and careful attention should also be paid to any wear and damage of the fuel lines.
Tires legally have to be changed when they’re down to only 1/16 of an inch of tread. Here’s a neat trick to measure: Place a penny in the grooves of the tread to see if it meets the top of Lincoln’s head. If it’s a close call, then it’s time for a replacement.
This isn’t the only way to maintain safety. Because flats are one of the leading breakdown causes (and a threat to safety if it happens at high speeds), tire inspections should be a given whenever you put gas in the tank. Regularly check pressure to make sure the PSIs are such that they are in compliance with what’s listed by the manufacturer. This ensures that more of your tire is making contact with the road and keeping you safe in the process. Finally, keep an eye out for bulges, uneven wear, flat spots, and broken belts.
Batteries should be cleaned once a month. The status of the battery can be easily determined with a quality voltmeter, which can signify when it’s time to replace or recharge a weakened battery. Demonized water levels should also be refilled promptly when need be.
Every month, you should be oiling your chain, making sure that your belt drive is free from wear, and changing the oil if your vehicle is a shaft-driven bike. Regular maintenance of the drive system is necessary for proper operation. If, when checking the drive system, you find damage or debris or notice wear, then have a service technician take a look at it.
Following these simple steps can help ensure your motorcycle ride is safe and enjoyable for years to come.
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