7 SIMPLE SERVICES YOU CAN DO TO YOUR MOTORCYCLE
If you have some basic tools, you can do simple services on your bike. By referring to your owner’s manual or shop manual for your particular make and model of motorcycle. Like cars, all motorcycles have specific servicing specs. Your manual will give you some basic tips on how to perform these tasks.
Invest in some good tools to help with these services. Always refer to your manuals and if you get stuck ask questions of your dealer or someone you know who is more experienced than yourself. The tasks described below are simple to do even if you aren’t mechanically inclined. If you still feel that you are not confident to do these jobs leave it to the experts at the dealership.
The tools and chemicals that you will need to do these tasks are items that you can find at your local auto store.
- Quality air gauge
- Torque wrench
- Socket set (metric) (SAE)
- Spray lubricant
- Rust inhibitor
- De-ionized water
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil syringe
- Gap gauge
- Plug wrench
Your tires inspected before and after each of your rides. They are the only thing between you and the road. Riding with treadless tires or if you see the beginning of dry rot, you are setting yourself up for a catastrophic failure. So your tires need to be inspected for rocks and debris stuck in the tread, punctures and tread wear. And of course proper inflation.
Underinflated tires affect the handling and braking of the motorcycle. Tires underinflated will feel soft and will give you a feeling of floating instead of a firm grip on the road. Your tires absorb an exorbitant amount of stress while riding. And your tires need to have the correct air pressure to deal with these forces.
Over inflation can reduce your tires contact to the road, which will affect the grip on the road surface. Your tires have a small patch that actually on the road. Having a passenger aboard or luggage will affect the ride and comfort of the ride.
Refer to the owners manual for the correct inflation of front and rear tires. Also, the variances of air pressure when passengers and luggage or both are aboard. Weight affects the tire pressure. Always check your tires when they are cold. Use a good quality air gauge.
The chain tension monitored for lubrication and chain stretch. Not having the correct tension can lead to a premature sprocket and gearbox wear. It will shorten the chains life. It is important to note that when carrying passengers and a load can result in chain wear. When the bike is under a burden, the chain can tighten and cause excessive wear. Lubrication of the chain will prolong its life. Refer to the manual for correct tension and torque specs.
Your owners manual will detail the location of the battery. Take caution not to touch both terminals simultaneously. It can cause a spark or worse it can give you a shock. Visually inspect the battery for cracks, leaking or residue on the terminals. Batteries contain acid use caution removing and re-installing.
When reinstalling be careful of the tubes coming from the battery not to pinch or not locate them in the right place. Check the date for how old the battery is. Batteries do not last forever. And need to be replaced when they are out of date. You do not want to find yourself broken down on the road because the battery failed.
To top off the battery level use de-ionized water to do so. Careful not to overfill. You can use grease to resists corrosion on the terminals. Some batteries are maintenance free, and you will not be able to check the acid level.
Refer to the owners manual if you have questions.
Use the manual to the location of the coolant expansion tank if your bike is water cooled. The translucent tank will have hot and cold levels clearly marked. It is imperative that the coolant level checked only when the motor is cold. Removing the coolant cap when the engine is hot can cause burns or spillage.
If you need to change the coolant, this task can take some time. ( when I do mine it takes approximately 2 hours) Locating the coolant plug is usually near the water pump. (Some motorcycles can take several hours)
After finding the plug, remove and drain. After the coolant is removed replace the coolant cap and fill with manufacturers recommended coolant. If you refer to the manual, it will tell you how much to use. It will be a 50\50 mix of anti-freeze and de-ionized water. Fill to required level and squeeze the hose to relieve air trapped in the coolant hoses.
Start your motorcycle bring the engine to operating temperature. Your dash coolant gauge will give you the best indication of how warm your engine is when checking. Turn the motor off and check the coolant level. Adding additional coolant make sure the engine is stone cold again.
Refer to your shop or owners manual for the steps to perform this task. Read through the entire job before starting. The manual will give you the information on what type of lubrication to use, oil filter and how much your engine requires to operate properly.
Starting to change the oil start your motorcycle and warm the motor. Reference the position of the motor. Meaning does the motor have to be level. You can use the motorcycle center stand or another type of lifting device.
You will need a drain pan for the oil. Make sure it can hold the oil to be removed and be able to slide in and out from under the motor. Place it under the drain plug.
Locate the drain plug bolt and verify this is the correct bolt before removing. The drain plug bolt is a large bolt on the oil sump located on the bottom or side of the engine.
Remove the oil sump bolt, drain the oil. When the oil has drained, remove the oil filter either by hand or using an oil filter wrench.
Replace the oil sump bolt, refer to the manual for torquing the bolt. Before installing the oil filter smear the rubber gasket with clean oil and reinstall by hand snuggly and give a half a turn to ensure a good seal. Be careful not to over tighten.
Fill the crankcase with the required amount recommended by the manufacturer of fresh oil. I use a large measuring cup to ensure proper amount. I fill my measuring cup first with the appropriate amount, and then I fill the crankcase. Take care not to overfill.
Start your motorcycle, checking for leaks and then shut the engine off. Wait five to ten minutes to allow the oil to return to the oil sump and check oil level. You can top off the oil level if needed or remove the overfill with the oil syringe if you accidentally overfilled it.
Every motorcycle has its personality for changing the spark plugs. Refer to the shop or owners manual for spark plug code numbers to be used, gaping and maintenance intervals for replacement. Depending on the make and model this task can take a few minutes to several hours. You can call your dealership for more details about your bike.
Take the spark plugs out of the box and check for the correct gapping for your engine.
Take caution to change the spark plugs one at a time to avoid mixing up the HD wires. Care also needs to be exercised here to avoid over tightening the spark plugs.
Insert the spark plug and start threading the spark plug by hand. Preventing cross-threading the plug which can cause damage. After setting the spark plug, you can use your torque wrench to tighten to torquing specs. Torque ratio will be in your manual.
LUBRICATING and GREASING
Refer to the owners manual or call the dealer for grease specs and lubrication recommendations.
Caution should be taken here to keep lube sprays and grease away from brakes
You can lubricate foot rests, hinges, levers, cables, locks, kick stand, and shift linkages.
I use a dry lubricant sprays work well on locks and shift linkages because they resist dust and dirt build up.
Your manual will detail grease points such as wheel spindles or swing arm points.
These simple maintenance services can be done easily and without being mechanically inclined. They will keep you safe and prolong the life of your motorcycle. As with any job, if you are not confident about doing these tasks ask questions of someone who is more experienced to help or watch over your shoulder while you do them.
Get The right tools for your motorcycle!!