Motorcycle Maintenance Essentials

The modern motorcycle has changed from bikes made just 20 years ago. Today's bikes are more reliable, thus requiring less maintenance, but they still need to be regularly maintained. Most of the basic motorcycle maintenance essentials can be done by the bike's owner without a trip to the shop. The suggested maintenance intervals should be listed in the bike's owner's manual.

Drive Chains and Belts

Expert bikers will often lube the drive chain after each ride or at minimum, each time they fill up for gas. A commercial spray lubricant should be sprayed liberally, ensuring that both sides are covered. Lubricating while the chain is warm helps the spray get into tight spots more easily. Wait approximately 10 minutes before removing excess lubricant. An important motorcycle maintenance essential is checking the tension of chains and belts regularly.

Tires

Motorcycle owners should make it a habit to check their bike's tire pressure at each gas fill-up. Tires that are under-inflated can lead to a tire blowout from excessive heat or cause premature wear. The last thing a cycle rider wants is a blow-out, so replace tires before they show wear -- not after.

Fluids

A motorcycle has various types of fluids -- engine oil, brake fluid, anti-freeze and fork oil. Some bikes will also have clutch brake fluid that needs to be changed. Before starting your bike, check the oil level and add oil as needed between changes. With the exception of engine oil, most fluids are generally changed every one to two years but always check your owner's manual for the correct intervals. TotalMotorcycle.com also recommends changing the shaft drive oil when changing the engine oil.

Brakes

The brakes and brake fluid will need to be checked regularly. Brakes should never be allowed to get down to the metal. When replacing brakes, always use the correct type of pads for the bike you own. Brake fluid should be changed every two years. When adding or replacing brake fluid, use a new, unopened bottle. Opened bottles tend to absorb moisture, which can damage your bike.

Electrical System

Never overlook your bike's electrical system especially the most essential part -- the battery. The electrolyte level should be kept filled with distilled water -- never use tap water. Check the battery's terminals, cables and clamps for proper connections.

Bearings and Bushings

In general, any bearing or bushing that moves should be lubricated. Parts like the steering neck bearings, shock linkage bushings and wheel bearings will either need lubricated and/or checked during maintenance. Damaged or worn bearings and bushings should be replaced immediately.

Fuel System

Fuel filters and fuel lines should be checked during routine maintenance. Fuel filters are generally replaced every two years. Fuel lines can become damaged from outdoor weather. Cracks are one of the more common problems found with fuel lines. Any lines that appear worn or cracked should be replaced immediately.

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