Beginner Motorcycle Maintenance Tips
Taking care of a motorcycle is like taking care of a pet. It's a fun companion to love, but you have to keep it alive!
If you just got your first very own motorcycle, there are a few maintenance tasks you should learn to do to nurture your ride. From checking the fluids to simple mechanical adjustments, there are basic jobs even a novice can do to save money on mechanical services. Follow these basic maintenance tips to keep your bike running great, and to get better acquainted with it.
Check and Adjusting Chain Tension
Some machines run on a belt; some use a drive shaft; and many have drive chains.
Regardless of which design your machine runs on, they all play a crucial role in transmitting power from the engine to the road or trail.
If your bike has a chain, knowing how to check if it has enough tension is essential. The chain stretches over time, and many bikes offer an adjustment that allows you to get that tension back even as the chain stretches, by moving the rear wheel backwards just a touch. The chain isn't just a single part, but a lot of tiny parts hooked together and moving against one another. Watch the video below to see how to adjust the chain on a motorcycle.
Check and Change Your Oil
Your motorcycle's engine won't last long without oil, and changing it regularly is crucial to your machine's health.
Checking the motor oil regularly is a great way to stay on top of your engine, and changing it is usually a breeze. It's also a great way to save a few bucks that you'd otherwise drop at the shop for someone else to change it for you. Every bike has a slightly different procedure — and your owner's manual will tell you how to go about it — but watch the video below to see how simple an oil change on a motorcycle can be.
It's a dirty job, but you really should do it on a regular basis. There are pivot points and hinges all over your motorcycle that need to be maintained.
The right kind of grease can reduce wear on those joints, and extend the longevity of moving parts. Check your owner's manual to find out what parts to grease and what type of grease to use on your bike. Some machines might even have zerk fittings to inject grease directly into pivot points. While the video below demonstrates how to grease zerks on an ATV, you'll see how to use a grease gun, a skill you can apply to grease your motorcycle's moving parts.
Check and Replace Brake Pads
Stopping power is an important part of the overall performance of your machine, and it's largely dependent on a good set of brake pads.
When you jump on the binders, the brake pads squeeze down on the rotors, converting scrubbed off speed into heat that needs to be dissipated. You should have at least an eighth of an inch of pad material for the brakes to be effective, or else they need to be changed. Every bike is different, but watch the video below to see how easy it is to change the brake pads on a motorcycle.
By taking care of your own motorcycle, you'll learn how to detect problems before they turn serious, and save money by doing the maintenance yourself. And just like with a pet, taking care of it yourself is also a great way to form a bond with your machine!