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Summer Motorcycle Maintenance Checklist

Summer Motorcycle Maintenance Checklist

Due to extremely low temperatures, the past few winters have proven difficult to endure, especially for motorcyclists. Many motorcyclists store their vehicles until the warmer seasons to bring their motorcycles back out. Summer is often considered a riding season, while winter is the season for food lovers. Leaving your motorcycle tucked away for months without riding might result in severe mechanical issues that must be resolved before hitting the road. In this article, you will learn about the best motorcycle maintenance checklist to ensure your motorcycle works optimally this summer!

1. Why is Motorcycle Maintenance During Summer Necessary?

Listed below are reasons why it is important to conduct proper motorcycle maintenance during the summer:

  • Temperature Regulation
  • Motorcycle Tire Traction
  • Dust and Debris
  • Longer Motorcycle Rides
  • Safety and Comfort

1.1 Temperature Regulation

During summer, temperatures are often high, making long rides difficult in hot weather. Maintenance will help keep your motorcycle's cooling system, including the radiator and coolant, in good condition to prevent overheating and engine damage.

1.2 Motorcycle Tire Traction

Hot pavement and high road temperatures can degrade tire traction. Regular upkeep ensures your tires retain appropriate traction, improving protection and maneuverability on roads.

1.3 Dust and Debris

Summer months usually mean more dust, debris, and insects on the road. Regular cleaning and upkeep can prevent grime buildup on your motorcycle, which can block air filters, impact engine performance, and reduce fuel efficiency.

Also Read: 18 Symptoms of a Clogged Motorcycle Air Filter
                    How to Clean Motorcycle Air Filter

1.4 Longer Motorcycle Rides

Summer is the best time for longer rides and road trips. Appropriate maintenance ensures your motorcycle is ready for extended journeys, lowering the risk of breakdowns and improving reliability.

1.5 Safety and Comfort

A well-maintained motorcycle is important for your safety and riding comfort. Frequently checking the brakes, electrical systems, and suspension parts will lower the chances of accidents.

2. Regular Summer Motorcycle Maintenance Checklist

2.1 Tires and Wheels

Tires and wheels ensure safety and durability while riding a motorcycle. The following is a list of maintenance checks you must make:

  1. Check Tire Pressure and Modify if Required
    Accurate tire pressure ensures optimal performance and safety. Use a tire pressure gauge to check tire pressure and increase or reduce the amount of air in the tires according to the manufacturer's suggestions.
  2. Inspect Tire Tread Depth and Replace if Worn Beyond Safe Parameters
    Inadequate tread depth can affect traction and handling. Use a tread depth gauge or examine for signs of wear on the exterior of the motorcycle tires. If the tread is worn beyond the suggested parameters, it's time to replace the tires.
  3. Check for any Indications of Wear, Cracks, or Bulges
    Carefully inspect the tires for any cracks, bulges, or punctures. If you detect any anomalies, fix them promptly or substitute the tires.
  4. Make Sure the Wheels are Appropriately Aligned and Tighten Any Open Spokes
    Misaligned wheels can affect durability and handling. Inspect the alignment of the wheels by carefully looking at the alignment marks or consulting a professional. Also, check the spokes and tighten any open or loose ones to ensure wheel integrity.
  5. Lubricate Wheel Bearings if Required
    Look at your motorcycle's manual for information on the recommended lubrication for the wheel bearings. Thoroughly clean and grease the wheel bearings according to the manufacturer's suggestions if necessary.

2.2 Fluid Levels

Ensuring the fluid levels are high will ensure your motorcycle’s engine and braking system run without issue. Here is the list of maintenance tasks you must complete to regulate the fluid levels:

  1. Inspect and Top Off the Engine Oil According to the Manufacturer's Suggestions
    Regularly inspect the engine oil level using a dipstick to measure and ensure its at the suggested level. If the engine oil level is low, add more of the right oil specified in your motorcycle's manual.
  2. Check the Coolant Level to Confirm it's Within the Suggested Range
    Coolant regulates the temperature of the engine. Inspect the level of coolant to confirm there is enough within the specified range. If there is less coolant, top it off by adding the appropriate coolant for your motorcycle.
  3. Check the Hydraulic Clutch Fluid to Confirm it’s Within the Suggested Range
    If your motorcycle has a hydraulic clutch system, inspect the fluid level to make sure it's at the suggested level. Like with brake fluid, examine for leaks or contamination.
  4. Ensure the Chain is Sufficiently Lubricated and Adjust the Tension if Necessary
    A well-lubricated and taut chain will ensure smoother power transfer and extend its lifespan. Clean the chain with a suitable cleaner, lubricate it with a motorcycle-specific chain lube, and alter the tension according to your motorcycle's recommendations.

2.3 Electrical System

Whatever kind of motorcycle you own, you will need a functioning electrical system to ensure its functions operates properly. Here is the list of tasks you must fulfill to maintain a motorcycle electrical system:

  1. Test the Battery's Charge and Clean the Terminals if Necessary
    Use a multimeter to check the battery's voltage. Then, clean the terminals with a wire brush and use a protective coating if they are contaminated or corroded.
  2. Examine all Wiring Links for Tightness and Corrosion
    Inspect the wiring throughout your motorcycle for any loose links or corrosion. Tighten any loose links and clean or replace any corroded terminals.
  3. Check All the Lights to Ensure They Function Correctly
    Proper lighting is important for visibility and protection. Turn on your motorcycle's lights and check to see if the headlight, taillight, and turn signals are functioning correctly. Replace any broken bulbs if necessary.
  4. Inspect the Horn and Replace it if it's Not Functioning Properly
    A motorcycle horn helps alert other drivers and pedestrians of your presence. Press the horn button to see if it makes a loud sound. If the horn is ineffective or malfunctioning, replace it with a new one.
  5. Consider Taking a Portable Battery Charger for Long Motorcycle Rides
    To keep the battery charged during long rides, consider taking a portable battery charger. These devices are easy to carry and can provide extra power in an emergency.

2.4 Brakes

Make sure the braking system is functioning correctly to ensure safety on the road. Here is the list of maintenance tasks you must complete:

  1. Examine the Brake Pads for Wear and Replace them if Thin or Impaired
    Inspect the brake pads for any signs of wear. If the brake pads have frayed to a thin layer or display signs of wear, replace them instantly.
  2. Check the Brake Discs for Any Warping or Signs of Wear
    Examine the brake discs for any signs of warping or deep grooves. If you detect any notable damage or wear, have the brake discs examined by an experienced mechanic or replace them if necessary.
  3. Change the Brake Lever and Pedal
    Make sure the brake lever and pedal have the right amount of resistance and can apply the brakes smoothly. Modify them based on preference and the manufacturer's suggestions.
  4. Inspect the Brake Lines to Release Any Air Bubbles and EnSure Firm Braking
    Air bubbles in the brake lines can make the brakes less effective. If you experience a porous or less responsive brake lever, checking the brake lines can help you remove air bubbles and ensure firm braking.
  5. Check the Emergency/Parking Brake to Ensure it Functions Correctly
    If your motorcycle has an emergency or parking brake, inspect it to make sure it still works smoothly and can keep the motorcycle in place.

2.5 Motorcycle Cooling System

When hitting the road on hot summer days, it is important to make sure that your motorcycle’s cooling system is working properly. Listed below are tasks you must fulfill to maintain the cooling system:

  1. Clean the Radiator of Debris or Dirt Buildup
    Examine the radiator for any dirt, bugs, or debris that may block airflow. Then, gently clean it using a soft brush to ensure it works efficiently.
  2. Inspect Coolant Hoses for any Signs of Leakage, Cracks, or Bulges
    Examine the coolant hoses for signs of leakage, cracks, or bulges. Substitute any damaged or worn-out hoses to prevent coolant from leaking.
  3. Examine the Thermostat and Radiator Cap to Ensure They Work Properly
    The thermostat measures the engine’s temperature, while the radiator cap ensures it maintains the correct pressure. Check that both components are working correctly. Replace the thermostat if it's inaccurate and consider replacing the radiator cap if it's old or worn.
  4. Rinse and Refill the Cooling System According to the Manufacturer's Suggestions
    Over time, the cooling system will start to run out of coolant. Check the motorcycle manual for instructions on how to clean the cooling system and refill it with new coolant.
  5. Use Coolant with a Higher Boiling Point Suited for Hot Weather
    If you usually ride in hot climates, use engine coolant with a higher boiling point to prevent the engine from overheating. Consult your motorcycle's manual or a specialist for advice if needed.

2.6 Miscellaneous Checks

Listed below are other parts you should check during maintenance:

  1. Clean and Lubricate the Sprockets and Chain
    A clean and well-lubricated chain enhances more efficient energy transfer and extends its lifespan. Clean the chain using the appropriate cleaner, lubricate it with a motorcycle-specific chain lube, and examine the sprockets for any damage.
  2. Examine and Change the Suspension System if Necessary
    A working suspension setting will ensure a stable and controlled ride. First, examine the suspension parts, including the forks and shocks, for any leaks, damage, or wear. Then, modify the suspension settings according to your preferences and the manufacturer's suggestions.
  3. Inspect the Throttle Cable and Lubricate it if Necessary
    The throttle cable should move smoothly without any resistance. Examine the throttle cable for any signs of fraying or wear, and lubricate it if necessary to ensure smooth throttle operation.
  4. Examine and Change the Air Filter if Contaminated or Clogged
    A clean air filter assures proper air intake and keeps the engine running properly. Check the air filter and change it if it's dirty, clogged, or damaged. Regularly cleaning or changing the air filter is essential in dusty or dirty riding conditions.
  5. Confirm All Nuts, Bolts, and Fasteners are Fully Tightened
    Examine the nuts, bolts, and fasteners throughout your motorcycle every day. Confirm they are correctly tightened to keep any components from coming loose or becoming potential road hazards.
Note: It is possible to provide motorcycle maintenance on your own if you have adequate knowledge of your model’s construction and use of repair tools. If you require professional help, try to contact a mechanic who can perform maintenance on your motorcycle.

3. Summer Maintenance Guide for Electric Motorcycles

Electric motorcycles have gained popularity in the motorcycle community due to their being eco-friendly. Listed below are the parts you will need to maintain and the required tasks for each one:

3.1 Battery Maintenance

The battery is responsible for powering electric motorcycles. A malfunctioning battery can cause your motorcycle to run sub-optimally. Provide maintenance for the parts listed below:

  • Check the battery’s current charge to make sure it has adequate power according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • If you feel your battery is not charging or running correctly, change out the battery.
  • Make sure the battery terminals are clean and without corrosion.

3.2 Tires

  • Examine the tires for any damage.
  • Check the tire pressure.

3.3 Brake System

  • Examine the brake pads and discs for any damage. Replace them if the brake pads are too thin or the discs look like they are about to break.
  • Check the brake fluid level and make sure it is within the suggested level.
Note: If you find contaminated brake fluid, remove the dirty oil and refill the container with new oil. This will help you ensure your brakes work optimally.

3.4 Cooling System (if installed)

  • Check for any leakage.
  • Clean the cooling fins or radiators.
  • Remove debris or dirt.

3.5 Electrical Components

Examine all the electrical components, including:

  • Headlight
  • Tail light
  • Turn Signals
  • Horn

Check the wiring if you notice any damage or malfunctions in the following parts.

3.6 Software/Firmware Updates

Make sure to update the firmware or software to ensure optimal functionality. The latest updates will help improve performance, fix errors, or enhance safety features. Make sure your electric motorcycle has the latest software updates.

3.7 Safety Checks

Perform a thorough visual inspection of your electric motorcycle for any damaged parts that may need to be replaced.

Note: If you have little experience handling motorcycles, especially electric motorcycles, it is best not to make any changes. Try to consult an experienced mechanic to help you fix any issues.

4. Yearly Motorcycle Maintenance

Here is a table to help you determine when to provide maintenance to different parts depending on mileage:

Motorcycle Part/Component Procedure 1,000 MI 1,600 KM 5,000 MI 8,000 KM 10,000MI 16,000 Km 15,000MI 32,000 KM 20,000 MI 32,000 KM 25,000 MI 40,000 KM 30,000 MI 48,000 KM 35,000 MI 56,000 KM 40,000MI 64,000 KM 45,000 MI 72,000 KM 50,000 MI 80,000 KM
Electrical equipment and switches Check operation X X X X X X X X X X X
Front tire Check pressure, inspect the tread X X X X X X X X X X X
Front wheel spokes (if equipped) Check tightness with a torque wrench X X X X X
Front brake fluid Inspect sight glass X X X X X X X X X X X
Clutch (hydraulically operated) Inspect sight glass X X X X X X X X X X X
Cover screw, front brake and hydraulic clutch Check torque X X X X X X
Hand control fasteners Check the switch housing screw torque X X X X X X
Check clutch lever handlebar clamp screw torque X X X X X X
Check the master cylinder handlebar clamp screw torque X X X X X X
Steering head bearings Inspect, lubricate, and adjust X X
Windshield bushings (if equipped) Inspect X X X X X
Air cleaner Inspect, service as required X X X X X X X X X X
Engine oil and filter Replace X X X X X X X X X X X
Engine coolant Check freeze point, inspect for leaks X X X X X X X X X X X
Replace coolant Replace every 30,000 mi (48,000 km)
Clean radiators X X X X X X X X X X X
Primary chaincase lubricant Replace X X X X X X
Transmission lubricant Replace X X X
Right front engine mount end cap screws Check torque X X X X X X
Engine mount to front crankcase screws Check torque X X X X X X
Oil lines and brake system Inspect for leaks, contact, or abrasion X X X X X X X X X X X
Fuel lines and fittings Inspect for leaks, contact, or abrasion X X X X X X X X X X X
Rear brake fluid Inspect sight glass X X X X X X X X X X X
Rear brake reservoir cover screws Check torque X X X X X X
Brake pads and discs Inspect for wear X X X X X X X X X X X
Front axle nut Check torque X X X X X X
Jiffy stand Inspect and lubricate X X X X X X X X X X X
Clutch cable Check adjustment X X X X X X X X X X X
Brake and clutch controls Check, adjust, and lubricate with recommended lube X X X X X X X X X X X

5. List of Tools that You Need for Motorcycle Maintenance

Before providing maintenance for your motorcycle, you need to have the following tools:

  • Tire Pressure Gauge
    A tire pressure gauge lets you properly measure the air pressure in your motorcycle's tires.
  • Chain Lubricant
    Chain lubricant ensures the motorcycle chain produces less friction, ensures smooth power transfer, and extends its lifespan.
  • Motorcycle Lift or Stand
    A motorcycle stand/lift helps raise the vehicle off the ground. Lifting a motorcycle helps make it easier to access and work on the parts along the bottom.
  • Brake Bleeder Kit
    A brake bleeder kit helps release excess fluid, cleans the brake system, and removes air bubbles to ensure optimal brake performance.
  • Multimeter
    A multimeter is an electrical instrument that helps with voltage, current, and resistance.
  • Chain Cleaning Brush
    A chain cleaning brush helps remove dirt, debris, and old lubricant from your motorcycle chain.
  • Safety Gear
    It's essential to have the right safety gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and ear protection to ensure safety and convenience while operating on your motorcycle.
  • Set of Wrenches
    A collection of different wrenches, including standard or metric sizes, can help you tighten or loosen nuts and bolts on your motorcycle. It is useful when trying to work in hard-to-reach places.
  • Set of Sockets
    A bundle of sockets with different sizes will help tighten or loosen nuts or bolts on the engine, wheels, or frame.
  • Set of Screwdrivers
    A bundle of screwdrivers, including a Phillips, flat-head, and other screwdrivers in multiple sizes, will help you remove and install different motorcycle parts, such as fairings, panels, electronics, etc.
  • Torque Wrench
    A torque wrench helps you tighten and loosen the bolts and screws to the recommended torque.
  • Pliers
    Pliers help grip small parts such as wires, cables, etc. while inspecting and performing maintenance.
  • Set of Allen Key
    An Allen key, or a hex key, helps tighten or loosen bolts or screws with hexagon-shaped heads.
  • Chain Tool
    A chain tool helps install or remove master links and adjust chain tension.
  • Flashlight
    If you need to illuminate crevices or look for leakage or damage in hard-to-reach places, you will need a flashlight to make it easier to see while you work.
  • Clean Rags
    A good bundle of clean rags that are helpful for a multitude of reasons.

6. Conclusion

If you follow this summer motorcycle maintenance guide, you will ensure your motorcycle will be ready to hit the road in optimal condition. Regularly inspect and make changes to improve your motorcycle’s performance and longevity. This will also help ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience even on hot summer days. Lastly, don’t forget to consult an experienced mechanic if you need professional advice on how to fix a problem. If you are facing motorcycle luggage storage problems then you can get saddlebags, swing arm bags, tank bags, and sissy bar bags from Viking bags.

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