Basic maintenance is essential if you want to get the most out of your motorbike and avoid time off the road. That’s why Moneybarn has sent us its list of top tips for maintaining your motorbike, including which professional services to consider and how to spot warning signs before major problems occur.
Motorcycle tyres are essential for keeping you and your passengers safe on the road. The pressure in your tyres influences how your motorbike handles, brakes and accelerates, and under-inflated tyres can have a big impact.
Once a week, or before you take your motorbike out, be sure to check tyre inflation pressure, condition and tread count. Check for signs of damage, uneven wear, splits and cracks, the legal tread depth requirement for motorcycles over 50cc is 1mm minimum and the recommended inflation for your tyres should be stated in your motorcycle manual.
KEEP IT COOL.
Fluids such as the coolant and oil should be checked and replaced regularly to increase your motorbike’s performance and longevity. Your manufacturer’s guide can advise you which type of oil you should use depending on the time of year and variations in temperatures.
Ensure the engine isn’t hot before adding coolant to avoid cracks occurring from the sudden change in temperature. If the engine’s too hot, you’ll also risk hurting yourself so replace any fluids before your journey or wait for it to cool down.
Ensure your chain has the correct amount of slack (about one inch of play) at the tightest spot; too much tension can cause havoc with your wheels and gearbox bearings. Add lube to your chain when you return from a ride while it’s still warm, so your chain can absorb it as it cools down. Don’t forget to clean your chain whenever you change your oil.
LIGHT IT UP.
Checking your lights frequently is essential for road safety. A faulty or broken light means your motorbike isn’t road-worthy and you’re at risk of being stopped by the police and issued a ‘vehicle defect rectification notice’. This allows you 14 days from the date of the notice to get the problem fixed and provide proof to the police it’s been fixed. Even if your bulbs are in good condition, if you drive your motorbike often collected dust and dirt can affect their visibility, so make sure you clean your front and rear lights regularly.
The condition of the battery can affect your motorbike’s performance, particularly during a heatwave or a cold snap. To avoid any problems or power failure, check your battery once a month and clean the terminals using a terminal post, clamp brush and battery cleaner to prevent any corrosion. Ensure vent caps are tight to prevent the cleaner entering the cells. Once the terminals are completely dry, you can apply anti-corrosion spray around each terminal to deter future corrosive build-up.
Taking your motorbike out for regular short journeys and occasional long runs is the best way to keep your battery charged.
PLAN FOR AN MOT.
Your motorbike doesn’t require a MOT until it’s three years old. After this point, it’ll need to pass a MOT every year to be legal. Make sure to add a reminder to your calendar a month before your MOT is due to give yourself enough time to book an appointment.
Riding without a valid MOT certificate can result in a hefty fine, points on your licence and it’ll invalidate your insurance too.
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