A motorcycle is a big investment. Not only is it a large upfront cost for something that might not get as much regular use as a standard vehicle, it also requires time and effort to maintain. If you begin neglecting your motorcycle, it’ll start running poorly and become sluggish. You’ll also run the risk of engine failure. To protect your investment and keep your motorcycle running like new, here are some important maintenance tips you should be following.
Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
The right tire pressure for your motorcycle will vary by manufacturer, but you should always keep your tires filled to the recommended pressure level. Some riders even swear by filling your tires one to two PSI higher than the manufacturer’s recommendation. Often, it provides for better fuel economy and lets you ride longer. However, you should never greatly overfill your tires or you’ll be at risk for a blowout, which could put you in danger. Plus, having to buy new motorcycle tires that you weren’t planning for is a bit of a nasty surprise.
The only times your tires should dip below the recommended number are when you’re riding on sand or if you’re on a slippery road and your ride has narrower tires. Having a bit less air in your tires expands the amount of the tire that is making contact with the road which helps you get better traction, though it isn’t always necessary. Otherwise, keep your tires at the proper level.
Clean It Up
Take pride in your motorcycle. A dirty motorcycle is a poor reflection on its owner. A dirty motorcycle can also cause some maintenance headaches that you’re better off avoiding. Always make sure to wash your motorcycle. It’s natural for your ride to collect some dirt and debris after your trip, but if you let that collect in the nooks and crannies of your motorcycle, you’re risking the formation of rust. Not only is that a cosmetic eyesore, but it can be extremely dangerous. If your chain starts rusting, you run the risk of it snapping while on a ride.
To keep your motorcycle looking fresh and new, most manufacturers recommend at least a monthly power wash, though you should really wipe your bike down every few days or so. Make sure to really dig into some of those hard-to-reach spots, as that’s where the most gunk collects. If you’re tending to the cleaning, you’re investing in the longevity of your ride.
It goes without saying that motorcycles and cars share the need for oil changes. As a general rule of thumb, you should be changing the oil in your motorcycle around every 3,700 miles, though the service manual provided by your manufacturer will tell you the exact frequency as well as which type of oil you need to purchase. As for your oil filter, this should usually be switched out with every two oil changes, though you may be able to stretch it a bit. Remember that your oil will go quicker in the summer and you’ll be able to lengthen the distance between oil changes a bit in the winter.
While most riders opt to visit their local mechanic for a quick oil change, it’s also a simple enough process that you can do it at home. The added savings sure don’t hurt, either. If you’re changing your oil at home, remember to drain it completely. If you’re doing the oil change after a ride, keep in mind that the oil will be hot so take care to avoid burns.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, if you treat your motorcycle well, you’ll get much more use out of it and it’ll remain in good condition for much longer. The inverse is true, as well. Treat your ride poorly and it’ll begin racking up mechanics bills faster than you’d think. If you’re ready for the effort and care a motorcycle requires, get to riding! The road is calling you.
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