Routine Motorcycle Maintenance Checklist

Motorcycles have hundreds of moving parts, and many of them are critical to keeping your machine in prime, safe condition. 

Routine motorcycle maintenance

The most important way to keep your machine in top condition is to follow a regular maintenance schedule. You probably already know to change the oil and the air filter, but here’s a checklist to take care of some other (often overlooked) basic motorcycle maintenance tasks.

Motorcycle Maintenance Check 1: Tires

Motorcycle tires take a beating from direct contact with the road and trail, and experience all sorts of wear from acceleration, braking and turning. 

Routine motorcycle maintenance tire check

Having good tread and correct pressure are crucial to keeping your motorcycle’s tires healthy. Underinflated tires can lead to irregular wear patterns, and tires that are extremely low can come off the rim. Your motorcycle’s tires have wear indicators to help you see when it’s time to make a change. Check the tread on the tires often, and use a pressure gauge to stay on top of keeping the pressure level correct in each tire before each ride.

Motorcycle Maintenance Check 2: Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is a crucial part of your motorcycle’s braking system, and like other fluids in your machine, it breaks down over time. 

Routine motorcycle maintenance brake fluid

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water and mixes it in. It’s also sensitive to sunlight. Bleeding and flushing out the braking system helps keep your bike’s brakes in peak condition, so you can keep on riding safely.

Motorcycle Maintenance Check 3: Brake Pads

While you’re doing brake fluid maintenance, go ahead and check your bike’s brake pads and rotors

Routine motorcycle maintenance brake pads

Brake components can wear quickly on a motorcycle, so it’s important to stay on top of brake pad wear before it turns into severe rotor damage. Knowing how to change the brake pads on a motorcycle can help you save money on costly repairs down the line. Make inspecting the brake pads part of your motorcycle’s routine maintenance schedule, and learn how to swap them out when it’s time. 

Motorcycle Maintenance Check 4: Cables

Overtightened cables across your machine can create a wide range of problems. 

Routine motorcycle maintenance cables

A throttle cable that’s too tight can make it hard to turn the handlebars into full lock without pulling the cable and revving the engine. Clutch cables that are too tight pose their own set of problems. You could find yourself in a situation where your bike’s clutch is partially engaged all the time, which will burn the clutch up in a hurry. Inspect your motorcycle’s cables and make adjustments as needed.

Motorcycle Maintenance Check 5: Chain

You don’t expect something like metal to wear out quickly, but it happens to motorcycle chains, which stretch and wear with every ride.  

Routine motorcycle maintenance drive chain

One way to know your motorcycle’s chain has stretched is that you’ll start to feel slower acceleration. Motorcycle drive chains need to be cleaned and lubed on a regular basis, and you need to adjust them every now and then as part of their routine maintenance to keep slack out.

There are many other maintenance tasks to keep up with on your machine, including changing the oil, keeping the battery healthy and fixing broken parts before they create more problems. But don’t overlook any of the maintenance tasks listed above. Create your own maintenance checklist, set a schedule and stick with it!


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