Whether you're a motorcycle romantic or a mechanically minded bike enthusiast, understanding how to take care of your motorcycle can help you maintain it well and keep it on the road for years to come. While maintenance visits with a professional mechanic are helpful, there is also a wide variety of do-it-yourself maintenance tips that can help you care for your machine at home. Here are eight useful tips to try out next time you're in need of a tune-up.

Grease Your Motorcycle


Motorcycleby David Hilowitzis licensed with CC BY 2.0

Greasing your motorcycle can help it run smoothly and look great for years to come. To do this, all you'll need is a bottle of grease and a rag to wipe your hands on when you're finished. You'll also need to know where to grease. A few standard spots to try greasing include the footrests, locks, hinges, cables, and levers.

The spot that you're working on dictates the type of grease that may be best to use. For example, if you're greasing up chassis applications, like exhaust clamps, use copper grease. For the gear shift, brakes, and bearings, softer grease might be the better option. You can also use spray grease for areas that are hard to reach, like lever pivots or cables.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Checking the tire pressure in your wheels is something you should do once every one to two weeks. It can help ensure your tires are not under-inflated, which may make the motorcycle less responsive, or over-inflated, which can make the tires skid on the pavement. To check the tire pressure, you'll need a pressure gauge.

Find the valve stem cap on the inside of the tire and remove the cover. Next, press the pressure gauge into the valve and look at the reading. It should match the ideal pressure written on the side of the tire. If the tire is under-inflated, you can fill it with an air compressor until it reaches the recommended level. If it's over-inflated, let some air escape.

Change Your Oil

Over time, oil can build up dirt and residue. To avoid dirty oil, which might affect performance, change your motorcycle's oil every 2,000 or 3,000 miles. When you're ready to do so, first warm up the bike by driving it for about five minutes. Then, turn off the engine and remove the drain plug. Place a pan beneath the drain, then remove the oil fill plug. This will let the oil drain into the pan. After all the old oil has drained, replace the oil filter and refill the oil using a funnel. Finally, replace the oil fill cap.

Clean Your Chain

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The chain on a motorcycle helps translate power from the engine to the wheels. To clean the chain yourself, lift the rear wheel of the motorcycle off the ground and shift the transmission to neutral. This makes it easy for the chain to move. Next, use a brush to clean away any grime, then apply chain lube to keep it lubricated. When you've finished, let the bike rest for five minutes, then wipe off any excess lube. You're ready to roll.

Check and Change Your Coolant

The coolant in your motorcycle can help keep the engine from overheating. To check the coolant level, compare the fluid level to the markers on the exterior of the translucent tank. If the level is low, or if it's time to change the coolant, you can do so by removing the coolant drain bolt and letting the excess coolant escape into a drain pan you place below the motorcycle. To let it drain completely, remove the radiator cap as well. Next, replace the drain bolt, use a funnel to pour in new coolant, and replace the radiator cap.

Replace Your Air Filter

The air filter in your motorcycle may build up grime and dirt over time, making it less effective. To replace the air filter, you first need to locate it on your bike. In some models, the air filter is located next to the engine, while on others, it's beneath the fuel tank. Once you find it, remove the cover and take out the filter. You can clean the filter or replace it, depending on its composition. Once you're done, double-check that it's oriented correctly and replace the filter cap.

Perform Battery Maintenance

The battery in a motorcycle often lasts between two and five years. When it comes time to replace the battery, you can do so by removing the battery carefully from its holder. If you're not sure how to remove it, you can find directions specific to your model in your service manual. Batteries are often located under the motorcycle seat, beneath the fuel tank, or under the side covers. When you remove it, disconnect the negative cable first to break the battery circuit, then disconnect the positive cable. When you install a new battery, connect the cables in reverse order.

Replace Your Brake Pads

Brake pads are vital because they help you control how quickly and easily the motorcycle stops when you apply the brakes. This means it's important to replace your brake pads with supervision or assistance from an experienced mechanic the first time you do so. Once you understand it, the process is fairly simple.

To replace your brake pads yourself, consult your user manual to identify and purchase the correct type of replacement pads. Next, remove the brake caliper mechanism by unscrewing the bolts that hold it in place. Once you're done, you can remove the brake pads. To install the new brake pads, push the caliper pistons out of the way with your finger and slide the new pads into place. Finally, replace the bolts and reinstall the brake caliper mechanism.

Your Auto Source

We hope you've enjoyed this list of 8 fantastic DIY motorcycle maintenance tips and that it's helped you realize how much you can do yourself as a motorcycle owner. By performing routine maintenance, you can ensure your motorcycle is safe, clean, and effective for as long as possible. Do you have a useful motorcycle maintenance tip to add to our list? You can let us know by giving us a call at 855-828-2665 or sending us an online message.

While you're at it, you can check out our selection of used motorcycles available on our website. If you have more questions or want to give one of our cars a test drive, you can always stop by our lot at 2249 Bannister St., York.

Categories: Service, Parts