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How to Maintain a Motorcycle on Your Own

How to Maintain a Motorcycle on Your Own

Posted by Wiley Moody on Oct 2, 2020

Getting hands-on with your V-twin cruiser motorcycle may be easier than you think. You don’t need a motorcycle technician’s mechanical know-how to learn how to maintain a motorcycle or perform any home-servicing tasks. With some knowledge and easy-to-use and available tools, you can easily keep your bike in tip-top shape.

Maintaining a motorcycle regularly maximizes its life and minimizes the chances of breaking down unexpectedly. Here are some tips on how to maintain your bike on your own.

Build on Your Bike’s Knowledge

Body of a red Indian Scout

The more you understand your bike, the better you can understand potential issues and know how to diagnose them. Get your motorcycle maintenance manual and read it to get helpful information on how to maintain a motorcycle. You can also join a local motorcycle club. Fellow V-twin cruiser bike owners and enthusiasts can be a useful resource for help and extra information.

Change Your Engine Oil Regularly

Close up photo of a yellow motorcycle’s engine

Your motorcycle requires regular oil changes. The requirements vary depending on your bike make and model. Typically, you’ll need to change the oil every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. Your annual bike checkup at the local mechanic should always include an oil change - that should take care of your needs. You can do this yourself. Oil filters also need to be changed along with the oil.

Check Your Tires

Man adjusting motorcycle tire

Tire maintenance is a critical part of learning how to maintain a motorcycle. Do a quick check before any long ride and look for signs of holes, cracks, tears, and bulging. Also, make sure the tire pressure and tread depth are within the recommended OEM levels. Different road and weather conditions affect the lifespan of your tires, so replace your tires when needed.

Check Your Battery Regularly

A picture of a motorcycle battery pack

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a dead battery just when you’re about to ride. Use a multimeter to get a good picture of your battery’s overall health. If it’s hitting five years, it’s time to replace it. Clean your battery terminals regularly and coat them with dielectric grease to prevent corrosion. Charge your battery regularly, especially during winter, to ensure it lasts longer.

Clean Your Air Filter Regularly

Up close photo of the front of a white Harley Davidson from the driver’s point-of-view

Don’t forget to clean out or replace your air filters as you learn how to maintain a motorcycle. The air filter protects the more delicate internal parts of your bike’s engine from dust and particles that could cause damage. If you ride in a dusty environment, you’ll need to clean your air filter more regularly. Replace it as per the recommended timeline in your bike’s manual.

Check Your Brake Pads

Close up of a motorcycle back tire

Your brakes are vital in ensuring riding safety. As part of maintaining a motorcycle, you have to ensure the brake pads are thick and effective. Worn brake pads can easily lead to a fatal accident. Replace the brake pads if they wear down to 2 millimeters or less. You’ll want to check your brake pads every 6,000 to 9,000 miles. Brake wear depends on the environment and your driving habits so keep that in mind as you learn how to maintain a motorcycle.

Replace Your Coolant Every Two Years

Close up of a Harley Davidson chrome engine

If your V-twin cruiser bike’s engine relies on liquid coolant, which manages temperature changes and prevents damage, be sure to replace your coolant around every two years. As with any other motorcycle fluid, you may use the engine coolant faster if you ride longer and more frequently. Always check levels and use the recommended coolant in your owner’s manual.

Keep Your Chain Healthy

motorcycle chain

If your motorcycle has a chain, it needs to stay lubricated to prevent excessive mechanical wear and rough gear shifting. Bikes’ chains last around 18,000 miles or more, so bear that in mind. Frequently check your chain’s tension with a full load on the bike that is approximately your weight. Check the condition of the chain too, and replace it if there is any damage.

Keep Your Bike in Great Condition

Learning how to maintain a motorcycle and following the right maintenance procedures will go a long way into extending its lifespan, saving you recurring service costs, and preventing issues. Don’t ignore any signs of problems like unusual engine sounds. Take action and consult a mechanic to have it fixed.

Want to improve your bike’s style, riding comfort, and performance? West End Motorsports is your leading aftermarket supplier of customizable V-twin cruiser bike parts and accessories from brands you trust. Shop exhaust systems, seats, tires, fairings, windshields, and more. Order maintenance kits for your bike and get free shipping on orders over $99 and guaranteed fitment on our custom parts.