For motorcycle riders, warmer days mean it’s time to ride. If your motorcycle has been cooped up inside a garage all winter, you know that there are a few things to do in order to get it ready for the road. Having a motorcycle maintenance checklist can help you make sure that you don’t skip any steps — and that you can hit the open road with complete confidence in the safety of your motorcycle.
Motorcycle maintenance checklist
When it comes to motorcycle care and maintenance, there are various tasks you can do yourself to ensure your bike is being maintained properly. Whether you’re buying your first motorcycle or are a seasoned rider, knowing how to maintain your bike is crucial.
Before you take your bike out for that first ride of the season, use this motorcycle maintenance checklist to help keep yourself (and those around you) safe on the road.
- Start with fresh fuel1
If you didn’t drive your motorcycle all winter, the first thing to do is change the fuel. Gasoline gets stale when it sits in the tank too long. Use a siphon pump to get rid of the old gas and then fill the tank with fresh fuel.
- Change the oil2
Just as you need clean fuel, you also need to change the oil and replace the oil filter before you take your bike out for your first ride. Neglecting this step can affect the performance and longevity of your motorcycle.
- Check the battery life3
Some riders disconnect their motorcycle batteries for the winter and recharge them every month or two. Once you reconnect the battery, you’re probably ready to roll. However, if it’s been sitting all winter long, you might have a dead battery on your hands. If it’s a fairly new battery, charging it up is fine. If it’s three or four years old, you may find it doesn’t keep a charge or you might have a hard time charging it. In that case, you’re probably better off purchasing a new battery and playing it safe.
- Check the tire pressure
Tires are some of the most important pieces of any vehicle, so they deserve your time and attention. When it comes to tires, it’s not just what’s outside that counts. Air pressure plays a significant role in your safety and in the overall performance of your motorcycle. Fill your tires to the proper pressure and inspect them carefully before you take your motorcycle out for a test run.
- Inspect tire tread4
Once your tires are properly inflated, check tire tread and look for bald spots, sidewall bubbles or any other warning signs that the tires are unsafe for driving. You can use a tread wear indicator to measure it, or you can use the “penny trick” to make sure your tires have enough tread on them. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy a new set of tires, remember that it’s much easier and much less expensive to replace tires than to repair a bike after a blowout or other type of tire failure.
- Get plenty of fluids5
Oil and gas aren’t the only fluids your motorcycle depends on. Brake fluid and coolant are important for motorbike maintenance, but they can sometimes leak if your bike is left standing for a long period of time. Double-check your levels and refill or top them off. Or, flush out the old fluids and replace them with fresh ones; that way, you know your motorcycle is completely ready to take on your next ride.
- Don't forget your cables6
Oil and grease in your cable housing can dry up after a certain period of time, and that can affect the performance of your clutch and throttle. Use a hydraulic cable oiler to restore the oil, or take it to your local mechanic and ask them to do the job for you.7
- Make your bike shine8
As a final step, make sure you give your motorcycle a thorough cleaning. Not only does it protect your paint and make your bike look fantastic, but cleaning your bike frequently keeps it in better working condition.
Motorcycle maintenance is an important part of staying safe on the road
Following this motorcycle safety inspection checklist helps ensure your bike is ready to take on the road. Without a helpful service checklist to refer to, properly maintaining your bike over time becomes more difficult. More so, not having a well-cared for motorcycle on the road becomes less safe for you to drive, and for other drivers to drive around you.
Before you take to the road, make sure you have a motorcycle insurance policy that meets your needs. Get a quote today.
1“Spring Motorcycle Maintenance Checklist: 5 Tips Before You Hit the Road,” NAPA Know How Blog, http://knowhow.napaonline.com/spring-motorcycle-maintenance-checklist-5-tips-before-you-hit-the-road/, April 21, 2018.
7“10 maintenance tasks to do yourself,” Visor Down, https://www.visordown.com/features/top-10s/10-maintenance-tasks-do-yourself, Jan 11, 2017.