4 min read
Follow this maintenance guide before you hit the road.
What do you do when spring arrives? You find your helmet and your leather jacket. Then, you take your motorcycle out of hibernation.
Before you hop on and take off, prepare your bike with this motorcycle maintenance guide for riding season.
- Add Fresh Fuel
- Check Your Fluids
- Test Your Battery
- Check Your Tires
- Inspect the Brakes
- Keep Your Cable Oiled
- Test Lights and Controls
- Buy or Create a Motorcycle Emergency Kit
- Clean It Up
- Enjoy the Ride, But …
If you stored your motorcycle properly over the winter, you filled your tank with the right amount of fuel stabilizer. Your next step is easy: add some fresh fuel!
2. Check Your Fluids
When your motorcycle sits for an entire season, you need to check more than just the fuel.
Though you might see full reservoirs, you have to keep an eye out for degraded fluids that have changed in color and consistency. Make sure to check the motorcycle’s:
- Brake fluid
- Engine coolant
- Engine oil (and the oil filter)
If all else fails, turn to your manufacturer’s suggested fluid changing schedule.
3. Test Your Battery
Motorcycle batteries require a little more TLC than car batteries. It Still Runs offers the following advice for testing your motorcycle battery:
- Find the battery near or under the seat.
- Using a volt meter, clamp the positive lead to the positive terminal and the negative lead to the negative terminal. You should see a voltage of 12.5 volts in this stage.
- Start the engine while it’s in neutral. The voltage should drop to 10 or 11 volts on a good battery. A reading of 9.5 or lower means you need to replace the battery.
This is also a perfect time to check battery fluid levels.
4. Check Your Tires
Under-inflated tires make handling difficult and cause loss of grip on the pavement when braking. How to check motorcycle tire pressure:
- The tire sidewall will have a number followed by “PSI.” This will be the recommended PSI for the tire.
- Don’t measure your PSI when the tires are warm because this will affect the measurement. Let the tires cool down for two or three hours.
- A simple tire pressure gauge will give you an accurate reading.
5. Inspect the Brakes
Did you check your brake pads and brake lines before you stored your bike? Brake pads wear down, and brake lines develop cracks and leaks.
Check these things before you test your front and back brakes.
6. Keep Your Cable Oiled
The oil and grease in the cable housing dry up, causing problems with your clutch and throttle action. Invest in a cable oiler and re-oil every year during the riding season.
7. Test Lights and Controls
Test all controls, including the clutch, steering, and throttle. Test all lights, including:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
8. Buy or Create a Motorcycle Emergency Kit
When was the last time you checked your motorcycle emergency kit? Do you have one?
Your quickest option is to hop online and find an emergency kit that contains everything you need. You can put it together yourself, too! RideApart recommends the following items for a motorcycle emergency kit:
- Adjustable wrench
- Battery cables
- Combo screwdriver
- Duct tape
- Fold-up Allen wrench
- Multipurpose pocketknife
- Spare fuses and bulbs
- Tire repair kit
- Zip ties
9. Clean It Up
A good cleaning isn’t all about looks. Gunk builds up and damages your motorcycle’s paint and metal parts when you don’t do something about it. Here’s how Motorcyclist suggests you clean your mean machine:
- Gather these supplies: a sponge brush, two buckets (one for spongy water and one for rinsing the sponge), a stack of clean towels or a chamois, and a motorcycle-specific cleaner.
- Make sure your bike is cool.
- Work in the shade, if possible.
- Spray the bike with a hose or the motorcycle-specific cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Use the sponge brush to clean those hard-to-reach areas.
- Scrub the bike and rinse it as you clean.
- Dry it off with the chamois or clean towels.
10. Enjoy the Ride, But …
You could spend hours making sure everything is in working order. So, why wouldn’t you take the time to get proper motorcycle insurance?
Don’t worry. Your local Pekin Insurance agent will help you find affordable motorcycle coverage, including liability, motorcycle damage, and endorsements to cover your safety apparel, towing and labor expenses, passenger liability, and more.
Now that you know where to go for the motorcycle insurance you need, it’s finally time to hit the road and enjoy the ride!