Before you get on the road, it’s always best to check up on your motorcycle. It’s better you find an issue in your garage than on the side of the road waiting for assistance, and motorcycle maintenance isn’t that hard – you just need to know what to look for. Here are five easy steps to making sure your bike is road-ready:
1. Walk Around Your Bike
This is the simplest and most effective way to check your bike: simply walk around it and look for wear. Inspect every part of your bike, whether it’s a dirt bike, an ADV beast, or a roadster motorcycle. Things will wear eventually, so look carefully and see if you notice anything unusual on your bike. You should look for any leaks, loose bolts, and worn wires.
People usually forget to check the swingarm, suspension linkages, and kickstand pivots. In addition, look out for any bearings or bushings that seem worse for wear. Next, turn the key and check if all the lights, turn signals, and horn are working.
Always check if your registration and insurance are up to date.
2. Check Your Battery
It’s safe to say your battery should be fully charged. If it’s not, go ahead and charge it now. There’s nothing more annoyng than saddling up for your first spring ride and finding your battery is flat.
You can get a good idea of the battery’s health if you’re using a multimeter. With the key off, you should see 12.5 V DC at the terminals. However, if you’re not using any meter, you should get a good picture of your battery’s life and how easily it starts the engine. If your motorcycle’s battery is more than 5 years old, you may want to replace it. Also, you can always find the date on the sticker of your battery.
Now, check out your fuses, clean your terminals, and prevent corrosion by adding dielectric grease.
Motorcycle tires have a greater life expectancy than people usually think. Usually, five years sell-by date is considered by manufacturers, but keeping in mind years of service after those five years. So before you get ready to go, especially for off-road riding, check if the tires haven’t been worn. Look after cracks, dry rot, or hardening from oxidation.
You should know this by looking if the wear bar is even with the surface of the tire. Another way you can do this is to look for the remaining tread depth in the center of your tire.
The easiest way to check for the brakes is while your motorcycle is on its center stand. Notice how comfortable the brakes are and see if the pads have any meat left on them. If you see that the brake pad is worn out, it may not be the safest, because you can damage the brake discs…or not be able to stop.
Brake fluid should be replaced every other season or if the fluid is overheating, but it’s best to look in your service manual. Remember that brake lines also can show signs of wear (as well as your clutch and throttle cables).
Often overlooked but important detail is to check your coolant. It’s usually done every other season, but it’s best to check in your motorcycle’s service manual. Don’t forget other fluids, like primary fluids, trans fluid, fresh motor oil, and filter.
Before you hit the road, don’t forget to do motorcycle maintenance with these 5 steps for a worry-free riding season. Warm up your engine, and enjoy the ride!