Maintaining a motorcycle is no easy task. There are quite a few things to look after on a motorcycle in order to make sure that it doesn’t slowly fall apart over time. As such, looking over the maintenance of your motorcycle can be a bit confusing and motorcyclists are bound to end up making a few errors along the way. If you’re looking to maintain your motorcycle a little bit better, here are a few common maintenance mistakes that can easily be avoided.
Wrong engine oil
Using the wrong engine oil for your engine can be detrimental to long-term reliability and performance. Running a fully synthetic oil can cause premature damage to engines that were designed to run with mineral oil or semi-synthetic oil due to larger clearances and tolerances within the engine. The same logic can be applied to oil weight such as 10w-40 or 15w-50, where using the wrong specification may cause premature wear. Dig into your owner’s manual or call up your dealership’s service center in order to find out what specification of oil works best for your engine and remember to stick to it in order to keep your motor healthy for the long haul.
Forgetting to inspect
Regular inspection of your motorcycle can go a long way in making sure that breakdowns don’t occur during a ride. Forgetting to inspect a motorcycle is a mistake many riders tend to make since it’s easy to assume that your motorcycle will be just as reliable for the next ride as it was on the previous ride. However, it’s important not to fall into this trap. Make sure to inspect your motorcycle every 1 to 2 weeks and follow the easy 6-point checklist which covers main components for when you decide to inspect your bike: tires and wheels, fluids, chassis, controls, electrical system, and the rider.
Poor chain lubrication
Motorcycle chains are one of the most abused components of the motorcycle—having to spin many thousands of times on a given ride with great exposure to the elements. As such, it's important to attend to proper chain lubrication. Riders often forget that chains need to be thoroughly cleaned with a degreaser or kerosene prior to lubrication. On top of this, it can be a bit confusing to know exactly which lubricant is best, with hearsay suggesting that WD-40, engine oil, and all-purpose oil could be used as a lubricant. When lubricating your chain, always make sure to follow the proper protocol of thorough cleaning, drying, and lubrication using a branded lubricant or 90 weight gear oil.
Skipping wheel alignment
Making sure your wheels are aligned will not only save you expenses on a worn-out tire, but can also make your motorcycle much safer on the road. Wheel alignment is often overlooked since the early symptoms of a misaligned wheel can be a bit hard to detect—nevertheless, it’s important to ensure that you don’t skip out on regular wheel alignment checks in order to keep yourself safe on any given ride. Make sure to attend to wheel alignment for both the front and rear wheel every 4-8 months depending on usage. If you have a spoked wheelset make sure to have your wheel centered to the hub during your alignment in order to complete the job.
Purchasing the wrong battery
The motorcycle battery is a consumable which is typically replaced every 1 to 2 years, and like many motorcycle consumables, batteries also come in many different shapes, sizes, and specifications. When your motorcycle battery goes out, it’s important to make sure that your battery not only fits your compartment physically but is also rated with the proper amp-hour (Ah) rating. Make sure to check your owner’s manual in order to find out what the proper Ah rating of your battery is in order to keep your electrical components from breaking down prematurely.