5 Motorcycle Maintenance Jobs Anyone Can do
Taking to your motorcycle for a service with a professional periodically is essential. However, there are a few maintenance jobs you can carry out yourself once in a while to ensure that your motorcycle continues to run as it should.
In this 5 step guide, we will look at some of the jobs anyone can carry out with limited skills and tools.
If you’re ready, let’s get to it…[Note: Some of the finer details of these tasks do vary from model to model of motorcycle. For example, access to certain areas of the bike, correct fluid levels, etc, will differ. This is not a problem and a quick consultation of the user manual will assist if you get stuck.]
1. Check and Maintain Tire Pressure (and tread levels)
Checking your tire’s pressure is a simple procedure that can be carried out at most gas stations.
Once you have removed the cap from the valve on the inside of the wheel, you can connect the air pressure gauge onto the stem.
The sidewall of the tire will state the optimum air pressure for the tire, (in PSI).
Check the gauge and if the level is too low add extra air using the compressor. This is done by pressing the handle on the gauge to inject air into the tire.
If you put too much in, or the gauge states that the tire is too full, allow air to escape until it reaches the level required.
While you are there, checking your tread is another quick and easy task.
Motorcycle tires have wear indicators in the form of small rubber knobs located inside the tread grooves.
If the knob of rubber is level with the surface of the tire that meets the road, you know your tread is too low. It is time for new tires.
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2. Clean and Oil Your Chain
The chain will attract dirt and grime over time and this needs to be kept clean if you want your motorcycle to run as it should.
You may also want to clean and oil the chain in line with manufacturer recommendations, (the manual may state the chain should be lubricated every 500 to 600 miles for example).
When carrying out this job you should elevate the rear wheel of your bike. The transmission will also need to be neutral so that the chain can be moved as you spin the rear wheel with your hand.
First, use a gentle bristle brush to remove the dirt and clogged grease/oil from the chain.
Then, using specially formulated chain lube, spin the wheel so that each section of the chain is covered in the oil.
You want an even application of oil on both the inside and outside of the chain (above and below in other words).
Allow the lube to settle for 5 to 10 minutes before gently wiping off any excess.
3. Change the Motor Oil
Changing the oil in your motorcycle engine can seem daunting at first, however, it really is a simple procedure.
This job should be carried out every several thousand miles (again, in line with what your user manual states).
The engine should be warm when you change the oil (not hot), so a quick 5-minute ride around the block should do the trick.
The reason for this is to thin the oil slightly, as the viscosity will be lower when warm. This makes it easier to drain from the bike.
Once you’ve returned to your garage or the driveway, switch the motor off and leave your bike standing.
Place an oil pan beneath the engine and locate the oil drain plug.
Slowly unscrew this until the oil starts to flow into the pan. Once no more oil is draining away, replace the drain plug and refill the oil into the motor using a funnel. (Check the user manual for qualities).
This procedure can be done alongside replacing the oil filter. For this step, locate the oil filter and ensure you have a compatible replacement. Position the new one inside, and then refill with oil.
This task can get messy so ensure you have paper towels at the ready. Also, recycle the used oil responsibly.
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4. Replace The Air Filter
A dirty, clogged air filter will have an impact on your motorcycle’s performance, so replacing it periodically is an important job. That dirt can end up in your engine if not filtered properly.
The difficulty of this task is dependent on how accessible your air filter is. In some motorcycles, you will gain access without removing any other major components. In other models, the gas tank and other areas will need to be unscrewed.
It is recommended that you check the user manual of even Youtube videos to see how easy the air filter is to get to on your motorcycle.
Essentially, once you have gained access to the airbox, removing the old filter and replacing it with a new one is very simple.
5. Replace the Coolant
Coolant stops your engine from overheating or freezing. It can also help prevent corrosion inside important components.
Replacing coolant is a little like the air filter task. In other words, to gain access to the coolant drain bolt you may have to remove sections of the bike.
Once you have done this, place a drain pan under the engine. Then proceed to release the drain bolt so that the coolant begins to flow into the pan.
Removing the radiator cap will release any built-up vacuum and will help ensure that all coolant is drained.
Once nothing else is dripping out of the engine, replace the bolt and use a funnel to pour fresh coolant into the engine.
Replace the radiator cap and reconnect any components that were removed during this task.
After this, you should start the motorcycle up for 5 minutes so that the coolant is warmed. Turn the engine off again and check levels by removing the radiator cap.
If more is required, pour it in. If the levels are good, slap yourself on the back.
Congratulations, you now know how to take care of 5 of the most important maintenance jobs you can do on your motorcycle without professional help.