7 Ways to Ruin a Motorcycle
Unless you opened up this article actually looking for ways to ruin your motorcycle, don’t do any of what you’re about to read. Seriously, don’t do these things to your motorcycle.
Keeping a motorcycle healthy is a lot of work, especially on the maintenance side of things. However, it’s not uncommon for motorcycle owners with little to no experience or expertise on motorcycle maintenance and repairs to try to service their own bikes. Other times, motorcycle owners abandon their bikes or just stop caring about them altogether and let them fall into ruin. Whether it’s through ignorance, laziness or willful neglect, here are 7 surefire ways to ruin your motorcycle.
Don’t Change the Oil
Oil is basically the lifeblood of a motorcycle’s engine. It protects moving parts by lubricating them and keeping them cool. Let old oil sit, break down and get stale, and eventually the sludge it’ll turn into will fail to protect the engine. Not changing the oil regularly is a guaranteed way to ruin a motorcycle. Why waste a handful of minutes of your time with this simple maintenance task? Forget about fresh oil, ignore that dipstick or sight glass, and keep the same oil filter in there forever and you’re guaranteed to ruin your bike in no time.
Keep Old Fluids Intact
Besides the oil, other fluids need to be changed as part of a motorcycle’s routine maintenance. Those “other oils” like transmission fluids (final drive oil, rear differential oil, etc.) need regular changes as well. Forget to change those and other vital fluids if you want your motorcycle to gradually fail. Take brake fluid, for example. Not bleeding the brakes and changing out the brake fluid for the front and rear brake master cylinders is another easy way to wreak havoc on your bike. And what about the coolant? Simply leave it intact and don’t ever do a coolant flush, and your motorcycle’s radiator and cooling system will overheat and deteriorate in time.
Neglect the Air Filter
If oil is the lifeblood of a motorcycle, the air filter is essentially its lungs. Cleaning or replacing the air filter in your bike helps the engine breathe. A dirty air filter eventually loses its ability to block contaminants from getting into the engine, which of course leads to serious damage. If your bike has a reusable foam air filter, washing and oiling it is essential to the longevity of your bike. A paper air filter, on the other hand, should be replaced, not cleaned, when it’s dirty and clogged. Ignore either type of air filter and you’ll be successful in ruining your motorcycle. While you’re not at it, don’t inspect or thoroughly clean the air box either if you want to speed up the ruination process.
Don’t Change the Brake Pads
Brake pads last forever, right? Think that way and you’ll be sure to ruin your bike’s entire braking system. Brake pad material wears down to the point where metal scraping metal destroys the rotors. Allowing the brakes to wear out eventually kills your motorcycle’s stopping power, making your machine incredibly unsafe to ride. Don’t routinely inspect the brake pad material’s wear indicators or even swap them out regularly if your mission is to ruin your motorcycle.
Forget About Chain Maintenance
Chain maintenance involves more than just cleaning and lubing the chain to protect your motorcycle’s drivetrain. Since we’re talking about ways to ruin your motorcycle here, start by ignoring chain tension. A chain that’s too loose can jump off a sprocket or wear the sprockets out quickly, and a chain that’s too tight can cause it to snap. Forget about measuring with a digital caliper or that handy chain slack tool that only takes a minute to use. Ruining your motorcycle can also be done by not cleaning and lubing the chain properly. So go ahead and let all that dirt and grime accumulate on the chain if you want it to quickly wear it and the sprockets out and mess up the entire drivetrain. And leave that filthy chain on without ever replacing it for a surefire way to ruin your bike.
Don’t Inspect the Tires
Checking the tires for pressure, tread and wear-and-tear helps ensure their longevity and ability to contribute to the safe handling of your bike. If your goal is to create more mayhem for your motorcycle, just go ahead and ignore them. Not checking your motorcycle’s tires for low pressure or inflating them properly ensures they wear out faster. Get in the habit of not inspecting the tires and wheels on your bike before riding and you’ll be on the fast track to ruining your motorcycle.
Ignoring Manufacturer Specifications
Motorcycles come with manuals for obvious reasons, including not overtightening or under-tightening nuts, bolts, screws and other parts. Overtightening components can lead to stripping threads and breaking parts, while under-tightening them can lead to components coming apart. Forget the digital torque wrench. Any old wrench will do for tightening parts without precision. Manufacturer’s specifications? Why bother? If you truly want to ruin your motorcycle, throw out the service manual and wing it.
Popping wheelies and doing stunts when you don’t know what you’re doing is another surefire way to ruin your motorcycle. Leave that stuff to the pros! ... But seriously, if you invested in a motorcycle, why ruin it? Stay on top of your bike’s maintenance and follow the service manual so you can get many years of enjoyment out of it. You'll also be able to sell your bike down the line if you don't ruin it altogether.