Ready to hit the open road again? Keep your bike riding smooth all year round with this motorcycle maintenance checklist for every season.
It's time to hit the road again. No more re-runs of Easy Rider; no more obsessing over YouTube videos while imagining yourself on the windy roads of exotic places. Your prized possession is ready to rumble, and so are you. If you want to make the most of the riding season, you have to keep your bike in its best shape. Do you have your motorcycle maintenance checklist completely thought out and organized?
Motorcycles depreciate just like every other piece of machinery. To keep them alive and running well, you have to take good care of them, and not just during the summer, either. You need a fully stocked motorcycle maintenance checklist that covers the whole year. Keep everything in working order to stay safe on the road and enjoy the ride. Before we jump into it, let us first give you the most important piece of advice: read and study your owner's manual!
Smooth sailing: how to take care of your motorcycle on the road
Check your tires. Chances are you're taking your bike for long rides during the busy season. Make sure your tires are at the correct pressure every time you ride. Under-inflated tires make handling difficult and cause a loss of grip on the pavement when braking.
Keep your cable oiled. Over time, the oil and grease within the cable housing will dry up, causing problems with your clutch and throttle action. Invest in a cable oiler and re-oil every year during the riding season.
Make like John Travolta and grease it up. Your beautiful piece of machinery needs to stay greased up to perform correctly. Easy parts to include in your motorcycle maintenance checklist include:
- Footrest hinges, levers, and locks
- Wheel spindles and swing arm
- Brake caliper bolts and other non-structural bolts
Consult your owner's manual to stay away from areas that shouldn't be sprayed (such as your brake discs).
Wash your bike every time you use it. Wash it down with hot water and good quality car shampoo. Take a sponge and scrub the bodywork and in-between spots by hand. Wash it off with fresh water and avoid spraying the bearing or electronics directly.
The long slumber: how to store your bike for safekeeping
Change your oil and oil filter and add fuel stabilizer to prepare for cold weather. It's pretty simple and straightforward: drain the old oil and remove the filter, then replace them with new oil and a filter. Buy some fuel stabilizer to keep your fuel from going stale and gaining moisture over the winter. Add the amount suggested on the container's instructions.
Remove the battery. Keep it in good condition by storing it in a cool, dry place. Every four weeks or so, hook it up to a battery tender to re-charge it. If you let it sit for too long, it will build up sulfates over the winter and be useless come spring.
Fill up all your fluid levels. If you store the bike in a cold temperature, make sure to fill in the appropriate amount of antifreeze in the coolant system. Change your brake and clutch fluids if needed, too.
Clean up, and cover it up. Once you've completed the proper tasks for winterizing your motorcycle, make sure you give it a thorough cleaning. Scrub off all the debris you can find, wash it down, and clean the chain of any excess build-up. Finally, your motorcycle maintenance checklist would not be complete (or worthwhile) without using a quality cover. Don't let rust and dust destroy your baby while it sleeps.
Uncovering the beast: how to get your bike on the road again
Add fresh fuel for the new season. Your fuel stabilizer should have done its job over the winter, but nothing works better than a fresh refill of high-octane, quality fuel.
Check your battery. If you've stored it correctly, your battery should be working fine. However, run a few tests to see if it's up to par. Every battery has a lifetime of three to four years, so make sure you replace it if necessary.
Check your tire pressure. You should be rotating your tires during the winter while it sits. Otherwise, the tires will become warped. Make sure you get them up to proper pressure before taking off, and change the tires if the treads and grip are worn out.
Clean it up and take it out. Cleaning your bike is a recurring theme in your motorcycle maintenance checklist. Well, it's not a coincidence—constantly cleaning keeps your bike in good working order. Follow your usual steps for getting rid of any debris, and go on your first ride!
If you prefer two wheels instead of four, we urge you to play it safe! Keep your motorcycle in top order, and invest in the right motorcycle insurance.
Do you have any maintenance tips to add? Share your thoughts in the comments!