When you are caring for your motorcycle, a little do-it-yourself elbow grease can save you a bunch of money and help keep you safe but also empower you, especially if you own a machine like mine (check the post image!). Many of my friends who own motorcycles have said that they like knowing they are the caretaker of their own machines. They gain a sense of confidence knowing that their motorcycle is in good shape. It can also help to avoid accidents on the road (but check out this link just in case you are involved in an accident). Because of the benefits involved in regular maintenace, I am going to give you 3 motorcycle tips you can do yourself.
To keep your engine running properly, you will need to change the oil after several thousand miles, double-check the owner’s manual if you are not sure how often you should change it. To begin, you will want to ride the bike a little first to warm it. This will make the oil less viscous.
With the engine off and the bike standing upright, remove the drain plug as well as the oil fill plug, letting the oil runoff into a drain pan. (You may need to remove some fairing to reach the drain plug, your mileage may vary.) Also, take out the oil filter. Be careful, this can get messy! Try covering the engine and/or exhaust section with aluminium foil to protect against drippage.) Once the oil is drained, install a new oil filter, put back any bits and bobs you might have previously removed, and refill using a funnel to avoid spillage. Replace the oil fill cap and recycle the used oil at a bike shop or municipal facility.
Replace the Air Filter
If your motorcycle’s air filter, which works to keep your engine clean of debris, is full of dirt, your bike will suffer because of it. Swapping an air filter is not a difficult task, but it can be a time-consuming one. So, make sure you set aside the right amount of time to get it done properly. Sometimes the air filter is easily accessible, but you may have to remove the gas tank and other parts to get at it. Once you get into the airbox, take out and replace the air filter. Then reinstall anything you removed.
Maintain Tire Pressure and Tread
To check a tire’s pressure, find the valve stem on the inside of the wheel, remove the cap, and press an air pressure gauge onto the valve stem. Compare the pressure with what it should be, that information will be written on the side of the tire. Use an air compressor, you can find these at most gas stations, to fill the tire to the correct number of pounds per square inch (PSI).
Let out some air if you over-inflate. Do not forget to replace the valve stem cap when you are done. To see how your tread is doing, check the tire’s wear indicator, it is a little rubber knob that resides in the grooves of the tire. If the knob is at the same level as the rubber that meets the road, then you need to replace that tire. A professional mechanic should be your next stop with your motorcycle.
To conclude, all motorcycle owners, including myself, love the freedom our bikes give us – so why not treat them right with some immediate TLC. Changing the oil, replacing the air filter, and maintaining tire pressure are some of the easier DIY things you can do for your motorbike. If you take care of your bike and read your manuals to make sure you are doing it correctly, your bike will last a lot longer than it would otherwise. Giving you plenty more road trips ahead of you.