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Basic Motorcycle Maintenance

Basic Motorcycle Maintenance October 31, 2014

Owning a motorcycle is a great deal of fun but every owner should know how to perform basic motorcycle maintenance. I’m not talking about taking the bike half apart and replacing gaskets or anything like that. But every rider should be able to perform a few basic inspections and be able to maintain his bike and do simple repairs. Changing the oil, inspecting the tires, and lubricating the chain are some of the more common areas of interest in basic motorcycle maintenance.

One of the most important aspects of basic motorcycle maintenance is changing the oil on a regular basis. You should consult your owner’s manual as to how often to change your engine oil. Changing the oil and oil filter on a regular basis will keep your engine running great for many years to come. What happens if you don’t change the oil when you’re supposed to? If the oil remains in the engine for a period longer than it was designed to, the oil will begin to break down. When the oil breaks down it no longer offers the best protection for your engine and can eventually damage it.

Why do you need to change the oil at all? In addition to oil breaking down over time, it can become contaminated in your engine. Contaminents can wreak havoc on an engine. Some contaminents may include metal particles produced from metal on metal contact, condensation, and even debris that may have fallen in from the last oil change. All of these issues can cause corrosion and maybe the death of your motorcycle. I have heard of people changing the oil but never changing the oil filter. This is a big mistake. Make sure to always change the oil filter when you do change the oil. The oil filter is what catches any debris or contaminents in the oil. If you never change the oil filter, then over time the filter will lose its ability to do the job it was intended to do.

Basic motorcycle maintenance also includes cleaning and lubricating the chain. Proper cleaning and lubricating the chain is very important. A chain that is not lubricated on a regular basis can stretch over time due to over heating. If a chain stretches it becomes weaker and weaker. It can become so weak that it will actually break and shear off from the bike. When this happens you can almost guarantee that this will end with you sliding down the pavement. Just take a cloth and wipe all of the old gunk off of the chain and apply a high quality lubricant.

Check your tire pressure regularly. Whenever the pressure gets low be sure to inflate to the recommended tire pressure. Inspect the tires for cracks, flat spots, and bulges. Whenever you begin seeing these things it is probably time to invest in some new tires. Also, check the tread of your tires. When the tread starts wearing down you need to replace the tire. It can be disastrous for a motorcyclist to have a tire blowout.

Checking the battery is also a part of basic motorcycle maintenance. Check the electrolyte levels and, if they are low, add distilled water to bring the levels up. Make sure the battery is completely charged. A low battery can result in difficulty starting the engine or very dim headlights. If you are experiencing a sluggish ride and dim lights, then chances are your battery is not completely charged.

Every motorcyclist should know how to change the fuel filter on a motorcycle when performing basic motorcycle maintenance. It isn’t difficult and can keep your motorbike running like a champion. Check the fuel filter for clogs. If it is clogged or isn’t performing like it should, then change it. On average, fuel filters should be changed every couple of years. Check all of the fuel lines for cracking and extreme weathering. Replace any lines as soon as possible if any damage is found.

Basic motorcycle maintenance doesn’t have to be performed after every ride. But it is good practice to just give your bike a quick inspection at least once a month and address issues as you find them. And always refer to your owner’s manual before performing any basic motorcycle maintenance. It will tell you what types of fluids are required for your particular motorcycle, proper tire pressures, and any part numbers you may need in repairing your motorbike.

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