A To Z Of Motorcycle Maintenance
Motorcycle maintenance is one of those things that an owner must know about. Sadly, this is not often the case. The user only knows that the bike will have to be taken to the mechanic when something bad happens.
Maintenance means being able to spot these potential problems before they come up. It means being able to take care of even the smallest of details on your motorcycle so that it is kept safe for use on the road.
Additionally, routine maintenance saves the user a lot of money. Problems, when spotted early and solved, will not be as bad as they will be if left to be solved later.
Motorcycle maintenance is also an absolute necessity for bikes that travel for long distances or are frequently used. There are two ways to look at maintenance.
The first involves basic checks and routine maintenance. These kinds of tasks are for the most part very simple and easily done by the user himself. They require no expertise and are even fun and engaging.
These kinds of routine checks can be done any number of times the user desires. Depending on the level of use, a week might be appropriate or even every two days. Some of the issues a rider will have to deal with at this stage include:
Checking Tire Condition
Tires bear the brunt of tough road conditions and extended riding. For bikes that are used heavily or go for long distances, the user must check on his tires and note their condition all the time. This will help with spotting problems early and preventing catastrophes.
There is nothing more dangerous than malfunctioning lights on a bike at night. Without proper lights, the rider is as good as dead on a busy highway. You are also likely to get caught for driving recklessly and being unsafe. The best way to prevent this sort of problem is to check on the condition of the lights often. This way, any issues can be spotted early and solved.
While checking on the condition of the tires the pressure should not be neglected.
Fluids Keep the bike running. They must be checked on regularly. The transmission fluid, clutch fluid, and brake fluid are all very essential. Th should be looked at. If topping up is needed, then it should be done at this point.
The user needs to inspect the chain. He needs to look at its adjustment. If it is wrongly adjusted then, it should be repaired immediately.
Operation Of Controls
Another area of concern is that of controls. Their sensitivity needs to be looked into. Insensitive controls could be dangerous on the road, and for this reason, even the slightest of issues should be corrected.
These include all issues on the outside such as the condition of the body and the mirrors. They are minor issues, but they also need to be addressed.
The second aspect of maintenance has to do with the bigger picture. Motorcycles are not designed to run forever. They must reach a point where they have to be looked at regardless of the condition. Manufacturers usually grade motorcycles on periods.
These periods depend on the mileage achieved. For example, 6000 miles is usually a milestone, and at this point, something has to be done to make sure that the bike is in good condition.
Twelve thousand miles is also another milestone. These milestones can also be looked at regarding years. The assumption is that after 6000 miles the bike will have run for one year. Therefore, the owner must do a thorough check up of the bike at this period.
It doesn't matter what comes first, whether the bike reaches 6000 miles or operates for a year. When a milestone is reached, it is time to change things. We will look at the first two milestones and see what must be done when each of them are reached.
When the bike has been used for a year the following must be done:
- Engine oil has to be replaced. This is regardless of how many miles the bike has covered.
- The oil filter has to be replaced. Also regardless of how many miles the bike has covered.
- The coolant has to be looked at. When the user is inspecting the coolant, he has to look at the level. If it is too little, then a top up has to be done.
- The spark plugs must be inspected and replaced.
- The valves have to be inspected and adjusted.
- The throttle has to be inspected, and the cables lubricated.
- The clutch has to be inspected, and cable adjustment is done if necessary.
- Brake fluid should be topped up. If it is contaminated, it should be removed and replaced.
- Inspect the wheels and adjust the spokes.
- Tire inspection should be thorough and any replacements made and adjustments as well.
- Inspect the operation of the lights.
- Battery and charging system should be checked. Check the cable terminals, check the change rate.
After two years a more wholesome inspection is required. All the things that were done in the first year should be done, and the following things also matter:
- The air filter should be replaced
- The fuel filter should be replaced
- The brake fluid should be replaced
- The coolant should be replaced
- Servicing of the air injection system is a must.
- Servicing of the evaporative system is a must.
- Steering head bearings must be lubricated.
All these things are fairly obvious even to an amateur, but you'll be surprised at how many people ignore them. In addition to the checklist, there are also other matters that must be considered. These matters are essential for good maintenance.
The kind of maintenance that is done by the owner of the bike is very basic and not maintenance at all, but a means of looking for problems. The real maintenance is never done by the owner unless they are a qualified mechanic.
When a user is looking to have his bike checked, even a routine harmless check they must go for a mechanic with the right pedigree. Cases have been put forward by people who took their bikes to amateur mechanics and paid heavy costs for it.
A qualified mechanic is reputable and on top of this will be registered in some capacity. He works in an above-board manner, and you can completely trust him with your motorcycle.
If you don't know any of these, the best thing to do is look for an owner of a motorcycle and ask him about one.
Costs play a key role. When your bike has to have some things changed, it is very important to consider the cost. All the components of the bike come at their prices and sometimes this cost might be a bit crazy.
The user has to consider all this before deciding on which maintenance tactic to use. There are also variations among the mechanics when it comes to cost. Some are cheap whole others are quite expensive.
These mechanics might be offering different levels of service, and it might be that a more experienced mechanic costs more because he's more reliable. All these factors must be considered before any decision is made.
Every once in a while, you might be confronted by major issues that require immediate attention. A problem with the engine could be so bad that it requires a total overhaul of the whole bike.
These issues though rare force a user to think on his feet. They must be ready to come up with solutions to the problem quickly. Often the biggest issue will be cost since this large-scale overhauling is very costly. The user must always have this in mind.
With that being said it must also be remembered that a proper schedule is very important. Earlier on I proposed a once a week maintenance schedule and this looked decent for a fairly busy motorcycle.
Establishing a schedule with a mechanic is one of the best ways to ensure that your bike gets the best service. The mechanic will be ready to handle your bike because the time will always have been set aside for it.
Motorcycle maintenance is one of essential things that an owner of a motorcycle must consider. Experts say that the leading cause of accidents by motorcycles is problems with maintenance.
Users ignore vital warning signs or choose to solve these problems in ways that are not recommended. These seemingly little issues end up being very big in the long run. A bike that has faulty brakes, for instance, is a hazard both to the user and to the other road users behind him.
It can be seen therefore that motorcycle maintenance is very important. Users need to find a reputable place where they will be taking their motorcycle for a regular check up for their good.