Points To Keep In mind if you own a bike; how to do self maintenance


GUWAHATI: The best way to keep your motorcycle running fresh is to do regular maintenance. The maintenance may differ from bike to bike and scooter to scooter, so, the best way is to go through the owner’s manual and gather proper knowledge about the bike you ride.

Having good knowledge about your bike will not only educate you about your bike but will also tell you many things including, what type of engine oil to use, how often to change it, air filters, carburetors, and other parts that require regular cleaning.

Every motorcycle needs basic maintenance such as chain adjustment and cleaning. Failing to do it in time may lead to damage of chain or chain sprockets. Also, brake tightening, lubrication, lubricant level maintenance, and so on. In some cases, some parts may need immediate replacement and failing to change it on time may damage some other connected parts.

Most of the riders love their vehicles and follow the preventive type of maintenance periodically. Rest will wait till for breakdown for changing the parts. So, it is important to check your motorcycle periodically.

Here are some points, one can follow to keep their bike in good condition:

                           1. Engine oil level:

Your motorcycle’s oil needs to be changed regularly to ensure long engine longevity. Engine oil must be changed even if the bike is not being run for a long period of time.

Oil filter must also be changed every time the engine oil is changed. It works as a barrier between the engine oil and the unwanted particles inside the engine. Changing the oil filter frequently will also increase the engine’s longevity.

                            2. Coolant levels:

The coolant level should remain constant. So, one must regularly check the level indicator. If the coolant level is low it may overheat the bike’s engine easily.

                           3. Air Filter:

The air filter is an initial part of your motorcycle. It is the part that supplies air to your bike’s engine and keeping it clean means you are indirectly providing fresh and clean air to your engine. This part may not need frequent change as it can be cleaned using a high-pressure air blower. It should be changed when the filters inside it turn black.

                           4. Spark Plug:

Over time, spark plugs will show signs of damage and the gap between the electrodes may go out of adjustment. One must measure the spark plug gaps with a feeler gauge and adjust the gap by bending the side electrode. Also, build-up deposits(black mud and dust-like particles) on its firing ends may appear, it must be cleaned using sharp tools. If in case the spark plugs are too dirty or badly corroded, it is better to replace the spark plugs.

                           5. Drive chain adjustment

The drive chain may stretch with use and one should check the amount of slack in the drive chain, the normal amount of slack required is usually about 30mm, but it is better to check the bike owner manual as it may differ in some bikes.

                           Here is how the drive chain can be adjusted:

i) Measure the total amount of slack in the drive chain at a point midway between the sprockets on the lower run of the chain.

ii) If you need to adjust the chain tension, loose the rear axle nut.

iii )Use the adjusters on the ends of the swingarm to adjust chain tension. Adjust each one by the same amount.

iv) Check that the wheel alignment marks are the same on each side, and then tighten the rear axle nut.

                          6. Oiling cables and levers

The cables stay inside the outers which may become dry due to weather conditions and age. So, they must be lubed regularly to ensure smooth operation. Also, brake levers, gear levers, parking stand, needs lubrication for smooth operation. One can apply a few drops of light oil or special lubricants to the exposed ends of the cables, handlebar levers, brake pedal and gear lever.

                         7. Clutch adjustment

Correct adjustment of the clutch is important for smooth gear change and prevents clutch slip. It can be adjusted using the threaded adjuster, but asking a mechanic to adjust it, is a better option.

                       8. Brake pads:

It can be easily accessed if a bike’s brake pad has worn out. Normally the brake pads start making noise when its condition is bad. Nowadays most motorcycles have  wear indicator and if the indicator is not available, one can view the pad material via the mouth of the caliper but if due to some reason it is not visible, one can remove the pads from the caliber and examine it.

If you follow these points and do a regular check-up of the mentioned parts, you don’t need to visit a mechanic frequently to access your bike’s condition.