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How Do I Maintain My Motorcycle

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  • 17-11-2022
How Do I Maintain My Motorcycle

How To Look After Your Motorcycle?

Each biker has their own ideas as to how to maintain a motorcycle, from quick tips to bad tricks. In this article, we discuss some of the best DIY Motorcycle Maintenance hacks and which to avoid!  Although some tasks may seem daunting when first attempting them, this quick guide aims to reduce the stress and enable top-quality results even if you consider yourself a motorcycle novice.

Bikers will pick up ideas and methods for motorcycle care along the road, sharing what they've learnt as they go. Just be wary when testing unprofessional advice, as it can sometimes cause more damage. Experienced and veteran bikers can offer more legitimate and educated advice, owing to their wealth of personal experiences with motorcycles.

Moreover, contacting a local Motorcycle dealership or specialist will provide you with professional advice. Our team at Jap & German Motorcycles have a wealth of industry experience to assist with your Motorcycle maintenance needs. Working with a trusted company gives confidence to the owner that their motorcycle is in good hands and will receive the highest quality of service or repairs. 

DIY Motorcycle Maintenance Tasks

As with any DIY project, working on motorcycle repairs yourself can save a lot of money and create a great sense of personal satisfaction. Knowing you can take care of your motorcycle gives security and confidence. It'll be easier to notice if your bike is running at its best, and you'll be able to identify when something isn't working correctly.

No one knows your machines the way you do, every motorcycle is personalised, and every biker has setting preferences, whether top speeds, comfort or safety features. To begin learning about motorcycle maintenance, you should consult your owner's manual.

The manual offers a vast of information regarding the motorcycle parts, from the location of plugs to the most efficient levels and specifications.

It should also include the parts you will need to remove to access filters/plugs etc., as well as the periodic intervals for cleaning, refilling and charging. You can further broaden your knowledge by joining a motor club. Here fellow bike enthusiasts can discuss useful techniques as well as the tricks that ended up causing more damage!

Plus, you get to socialise with people with the same interests as you, building networks and comradery. After plenty of practice, you can become a master of motorcycle maintenance. In the long run, this can help reduce costs and means you can help others out too. Moreover, keeping your motorbike in tip-top shape ensures it looks its best for social rides or club meet-ups!  So clean your bike regularly. Whenever you plan to work on a bike without a centre stand, you can use a rear stand device to keep it upright.

Your motorcycle owner's manual will have all the necessary information regarding oil changes. It's recommended to keep your engine running efficiently, you should change the oil every several thousand miles, although this can vary depending on driving habits, type of bike and fuel used. When changing the oil, first, you need to ride the motorcycle for around five minutes; this allows the viscosity to reduce, meaning oil drains away easier. Next, turn the engine off, stand the bike upright and remove the drain plug and oil fill plug.

Old engine oil can now empty into the drain pan. Some fairing may need removing to allow access to the drain plug. You should also remove the oil filter, though be warned this can create a big mess! Using aluminium foil to protect the engine or exhaust from drippage will reduce cleaning time and protect the components from damage.

After all the oil has been drained, you can install a new oil filter and reattach any parts you removed. To refill the oil, use a funnel, and ensure you use the correct type of oil and measurements. Specifications for oil can be found in the owner's manual. Finally, replace the oil fill cap, and the task is complete. Used oil can be recycled at a bike shop or municipal facility. Don't forget to check out your motorbike's fork oil, as this absorbs shocks when riding over unstable surfaces.

The air filter on your motorbike is used to prevent debris from reaching the engine. If this is clogged up and dirty, the motorcycle's performance will be impaired. Switching out a broken air filter for a new one isn't too difficult of a task; however, it can be time-consuming if not checked for extended periods. 

With some prior research, you should be able to avoid lengthy waiting times or costly mistakes. Access to the air filter is relatively easy, although the gas tank may need removing to gain clear entry. Parts needing removal will depend on the type of bike you own. After gaining entry to the air box, remove and replace the air filter, putting the removed parts back on afterwards. 

Checking tire pressure is a fundamental task when owning a vehicle, including a motorbike. To do this, you should first locate the valve stem- this should be inside the wheel, and remove the cap. Next, press an air pressure gauge against the valve stem to take note of each tire's current pressure; once the tire pressure is measured compare the values to what they ought to be. Check the suggested measurements for your motorbike, these can be found written on the sidewall of the tire.

To fill the tire to the correct number of pounds per square inch (PSI) you can use an Air Compressor; these are often found at service stations. If you surpass the suggested values, then release some of the air to deflate slightly. Once you have reached the perfect amount of air, replace the valve steam cap and test it out. To test the tire's air pressure, you can check the tire's wear indicator; this is the small rubber knob found in the tire grooves. If the knob is at the same level as the rubber that meets the road, then your tires need replacing. For tire replacement, go to your trusted and professional mechanic, as this is a difficult task to perfect.

The motorcycle cooling system not only prevents your engine from overheating but also protects against freezing and corrosion. To gain access to the coolant drain bolt, you may need to remove some outer bodywork. Once you have access, place the drain pan under the engine and release the bolt, using a radiator cap to ensure everything gets drained. After the coolant has entirely drained out, reinstall the drain bolt, and use a funnel to refill with the correct measurements of coolant.

Finally, reattach the radiator cap and any removed bodywork. Finally, start the engine of your motorcycle and allow it to warm up for a short time before cutting the ignition. After the engine has had a chance to cool, remove the radiator cap to check the coolant's current levels. If required, use this opportunity to add more coolant and met the specific amounts mentioned in the owner's manual. Once completed, your motorcycle's engine's cooling system should work perfectly.

Although having a clean motorbike may seem unimportant apart from aesthetic reasons, it can reduce the risk of clogged, coated and corroded parts. The rock salt used on UK roads during winter can cause invasive damage to your metal motorcycle components. Tubes can easily become clogged up, and metal pipes can begin eroding if salt is left on parts too long. If you use your motorcycle for off-roading or in desert-like environments, cleaning your bike is vital to maintain peak useable life.

Get in the habit of checking your motorbike for damages and washing the chassis after riding in winter with some warm soapy water; even this simple mix will prevent continuous damage. Do not use a pressure jet washer to clean your bike, although it may seem tempting and a quicker solution to handwashing. The high-pressure jets can cause damage to rubber seals and flatten the radiator's slanted fins. Damaged flat radiator fins can allow water to become trapped, or a hole can form, weakening the structure of your motorcycle. 

More modern Motorcycle chains are often O-ring chains, these require significantly less cleaning than the old-style and unsealed chains. You should clean the bike's chain when suggested in the owner's manual or when it is clearly dirty. A dry or rusty chain can severely impact the control you have, so it must be kept clean for safety purposes.

To begin cleaning the chain, first, elevate the rear wheel and ensure the transmission is in neutral for easier chain movement. Remove any grime from the chain using a soft bristle brush. To ensure the chain is properly lubricated, rotate the back wheel whilst applying a special formula chain lubricant. Aim for an evenly coated chain so that the lube passes the O-rings to meet the joint. Once lube is applied, allow the bike's chain to sit for five minutes, wiping excess off using a paper towel or something similar. 

One of the most important jobs concerning Motorcycle maintenance is ensuring your brake pads are thick enough and work effectively. Without properly working brake pads, your vehicle can be incredibly dangerous to drive as well as being illegal. If your brake pads have worn down to 2mm or less, then it's time to replace them. Worn-down brake pads prevent the car from stopping effectively, endangering yourself, passengers and pedestrians and potentially causing a fatal accident.

Its recommended by mechanics that brake pads should be checked every 6,000 to 9,000 miles, although this is subject to various factors. The level of brake wear depends on personal driving habits, and the environments rode in. Areas with more slopes and frequent starts and stops will wear your brake pads down quicker, making breaking more difficult, which can be deadly in hilly landscapes.

Ensure you check your brake pads periodically if you drive on sloped roads regularly. For those who ride their motorcycles on regular roads, it's recommended you change the brake fluid every one to two years, depending on the type of fluid. To find exact times, check your service schedule or owner manual. 

Typically a motorcycle battery's usable life lasts around two years. No matter how well you treat the battery, once it quits, there's nothing you can do to fix it. Although keeping it well maintained and not leaving internal electrical systems on for extended periods, it can last longer than a poorly treated battery. To test your motorcycle's battery voltage range, you can use a multimeter. When the bike is off, the battery should sit around 12.6 volts, and whilst the motorcycle is running, you can test voltage using a range of RPM.

Use a multimeter and test your battery's voltage range. You can test the bike while it is off to see if the battery sits around 12.6 volts at rest, or you can run the bike and test voltages through a range of RPMs (Revolution/rotations per minute). As the RPMs increase, so should the battery voltage. Do not attempt to replace a battery before consulting a professional mechanic, as this is dangerous from a safety perspective. To achieve maximum usable lifespan, ensure you regularly charge the battery, especially during winter months when the motorcycle gets less use.

As with most electric batteries, recharging it before it hits rock bottom will benefit the battery's lifespan. Make sure to dispose of your battery. You must ensure old batteries are responsibly and legally disposed of. It is illegal to dump old batteries, whether in your household rubbish bin or on the roadside. It can cause irreversible damage to local ecosystems and wildlife. Using a reputable and professional car battery replacement service will avoid these unwanted worries, ensuring the battery is recycled and manufactured into new products.

Jap & German Motorcycles provides the best services in and around West London. Whatever you require, our team can assist you with everything from BMW motorbike repairs to providing motorbike spare parts.