Before going long trip, you should check these basic steps in your bike to make sure that you can save you lots of time, money, problems, and potentially injuries.
We recommend inspecting after a ride so your bike is warmed up. However, for tires, it is best to check when they are cold as heat will increase tire pressure.
- Check air pressure. Fill as needed to recommend PSI.
- Check treads for wear. Tread depth should be higher than suggested designation.
- Check for visible dry cracks, chicken strips, uneven wear, cuts in sidewalls, nails, screws, bulges, ply separation or punctures. If you find anything on this list, you should replace your tires.
- Inspect valve system, core, and cap.
- Check spokes to see if they need tightened.
- Don’t wait until your brakes are screeching at you to check your bike brakes.
- Check front and rear brake pads. It is easy and inexpensive to change on your own. Check & Consult your manual or a trained mechanic for this process.
- Check brake fluid. Most bikes will have a sight in the master cylinder to easily know if you need to add fluid. Refer to your manual or the top of the brake fluid reservoir cap to find out if you need DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid. Note: It is important not to mix the two.
- Squeeze brake lever to feel that pressure is normal. If it is not responsive, you may need to bleed the brakes. Consult your manual or a trained mechanic for this process. It is a good practice to occasionally bleed your brakes and replenish with fresh fluid.
- Chains and sprockets wear out over time. Check sprockets to see if teeth have become hooked, cupped, dulled down, or missing. Check the chain for slack, stretching, or flattening out where it contacts the sprockets and sliders. If any part of it is worn, it is best to replace the entire chain drive system. If it’s in good shape, check the tension. Owner’s manual will guide youth through the appropriate amount of tension for your chain. Adjust by sliding the wheel forward or backward, making sure the sprockets are aligned. Keep chain lubed with chain lubricant. To apply lube, lift rear wheel and manually spin the tire forward and apply the lube. Consult your manual or a trained mechanic for this process.
Oil is the lifeblood of your bike engine. It’s not that hard to learn to do this yourself. Your manual will walk you through the process, as well as indicate the proper oil viscosity to run along with the appropriate oil filter to use. Check & Consult your manual or a trained mechanic for this process.
- If you’re up to date on your bike engine oil changes, check your oil level using the dipstick or engine oil sight to see if you need to top it off. Fill with less than required amount of oil, button up the bike, and start it. Let it run for a few minutes and then turn the bike off. Check oil while engine is hot and add more as needed.
- Give the engine a quick inspection for any leaks or oil dripping.
- It’s a good practice to check all your fluid levels such as primary and transmission oils and coolant for liquid cooled bikes. Give your radiator and oil cooler a good cleaning with a bristle brush.
- While looking over your motorcycle, check for any loose nuts and bolts that might need to be tightened.
Air is just as important as fuel to an engine, so you want to make sure your air filter is clean & change. Check & Consult your manual or a trained mechanic for this process.
- If your bike has a paper filter, it is a good practice to replace with a new one when it gets dirty.
- Oiled cotton filters like K&N are designed to last longer. Periodically clean and re-oil with proper chemicals.
BATTERY AND ELECTRIC
- Check to make sure your battery is fully charged before you ride off into the sunset.
- Check electrical functions, such as instruments, horn, headlight, brake lights and turn signals.
- Check spark plugs and replace as needed. Your service manual will suggest replacement intervals. Inspecting spark plugs can reveal the health of your fuel system. When you have properly balanced fuel system, the spark plugs should have a slightly brown base. If you notice a white, powdery base then your bike is running lean (not enough fuel). If you see a black, oily base then your bike is running rich (too much fuel). Check & Consult your manual or a trained mechanic for this process.