Essential Motorcycle Maintenance

Daily and weekly checks of your bike will not only keep it in tip-top condition and help prevent accidents, but it will also add to its resale value when you decide to trade up. Here’s a quick list of simple maintenance tasks that you should perform regularly.

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Check the Tyres

Tyres should be checked on a weekly basis, but it’s a task most of us forget to do regularly. However, it’s one of the most important elements of bike maintenance and can make the difference between riding and sliding. If your tyres are underinflated, the handling of the bike and its braking capabilities will be affected. Over-inflation can also affect how it rides and brakes. Use the pressure gauge to check the pressure in both tyres when they’re cold; your owner’s manual will give you the correct psi. Remember to add pressure if you regularly ride with a passenger. You should also check the condition of your tyres and the tread depth to ensure they are legal.

Battery Check 

Most batteries are located under your bike’s petrol tank or seat so may get missed in routine checks. It’s important not to allow your battery to run dry or to discharge completely. Remember that batteries contain highly corrosive acid, so wear gloves before you start work. Remove the battery from its holder and place it on a level surface. Check the level and top up with de-ionised water if necessary, making sure you don’t overfill it; this will lead to leakage when you’re riding. You can then charge your battery with a car or bike charger. When it’s charged, grease the battery terminals, making sure you don’t touch both of them at the same time, to prevent an electric shock. Greasing will prevent a build-up of corrosion.

Braking Matters 

It’s vital that your bike can stop effectively when you need it to. Checking your brakes and brake pads should become a habit with you and could save your life. Apply the brakes individually to see if they engage fully without the lever or pedal reaching its full engagement point. See if they free off immediately and note whether the wheels rotate freely afterwards. Do your brake lights work correctly? You should also regularly check the brake fluid, making sure there are no leaks and top up if necessary. Also make sure the brake hoses are in good condition. Brake pads need examination for wear and tear; a simple check will indicate whether they need renewing.

Other Quick Checks 

•           Oil levels should never be allowed to drop below the minimum on the         reservoir – top it up if     necessary.

•           Check your drive chain and make sure it’s not dry, too loose or too tight.

•           Make sure your steering and suspension is smooth.

•           Check for coolant leaks and top up with a water and antifreeze mix.

•           Do all of your lights work? Check the headlights, sidelights and indicators.

Simple and regular checks are vital for motorcycle safety. However, you may decide to sell your bike if you find maintenance is becoming prohibitive and is costing you money. Keeping your bike safe and in good order will help you on the road and when it comes to moving up to a bigger or better model.

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