So, you have a worn out motorcycle and need a quick repair? Or have you simply lost patience and want to attend to the maintenance yourself? In either case, a tune-up is what you need. Tune-ups are critical because they remove harmful particles from the engine, clean it and lubricate it.
So, what does it mean to tune a motorcycle? Most motorcycles need maintenance every 6 months. A tune up service is simply a comprehensive maintenance service. A tune up service ensures that all parts that are used for riding are working properly.
If a motorcycle owner wants to save money, they can perform a motorcycle tune up themselves. The necessary parts include but not limited to: spark plugs, spark plug wires, heat shields, air filters, oil filters, exhausts, fuel filters and carburetors.
What does a motorcycle tune up include?
Checking your motorcycle after every ride is a good practice. Make sure you look over your brakes, tires and exhaust system. Pay special attention to how you drive the bike as well, as there are certain ways you should be driving it.
However, there are higher level maintenance that you should do to your motorcycle periodically, and that is tune up.
A tune-up may sound intimidating, but it’s really not that bad. Often times all you have to do is adjust a few basic things, and before you know it, your bike will be running like it used to — only better.
- Engine Oil and Brake Fluid
- Air Filters
- Tires and Wheels
- Inspect the Chain
- Check Your Brake Pads
- Inspect Spark Plugs
- Check the Valve Clearance
Engine Oil and Brake Fluid
If you ride your bike frequently, you may want to check the condition of your motorcycle fluid.
Modern motorcycles have many fluids that require periodic replacement, such as engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, and gear oil. Some of these fluids are transparent, making it easy to monitor for signs of deterioration. However, other fluids must undergo a visual inspection, as in the case of the coolant, which has “low” and “high” notches on the reservoir cap.
When vehicles are not treated properly, it can have serious repercussions on their overall performance. One of the ways to avoid this issue is to check fluids regularly. Checking engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant are just part of the routine for tune ups.
Many motorcyclists like to keep their bike’s air filter clean, because it is an important part of the bike’s tune up. This will help the bike perform at its best.
Check your air filters regularly. Regular checking of your air filters plays an important part in your motorcycles tune up. In case, you notice your air filter to be full of grime, clean it and re-oil it.
When should you replace motorcycle air filter?
A dirty air filter can lead to reduced engine performance. However, a simple tune-up and changing the air filter may not fix the problem. If the air filter is too dirty, it needs to be replaced.
Tires and Wheels Inspection
Checking your tire treads regularly is important. You need to ensure that there are no cracks or damages to your wheels. You can replace them immediately if you notice that the tread depth has worn down.
New motorcycle tire treads have 8mm depth. Tires with shallow tread depth can tire you faster than necessary. It is suggested that you have your tires replaced when tread depths are down to 3mm.
Inspecting the condition of your tires and wheels on a regular basis is important for safety reasons. You can visit a tire shop or mechanic to have them professionally inspected.
If the treads are all good, check the tire pressure. Tires need to be filled with air. Tires need to be inflated to the correct pressure. Check both the inside and outside of the tires for defects. There is a thin strip of rubber between the tread of the tire and the bead that can wear down, causing air leaks.
Inspect the Chain
A motorcycle chain is instrumental in the performance and the longevity of your bike. While performing regular maintenance and tune ups, you should be inspecting your motorcycle’s chain for any slackness.
Read also: What Happens If A Motorcycle Chain Is Tight?
An important tip is to always clean the chain and wheels before performing any adjustment or replacement. There are various types of chain and wheel adjusters available in the market. Wheel adjusters are an axle clamps that adjust the wheel to the dropouts or frame. Chain adjusters on the other hand, are spring-loaded shackle rings that are tightened to secure cables and wires that connect to the shifters.
Check Your Brake Pads
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your brake pads is the key to your safety. The pads should be in good condition, and as described in the text, there are a couple of ways of checking them.
You do not want to have your motorcycle brakes fail you, as that is something that you will want to avoid at all costs. The brake pads should be replaced, and the brake fluid should also be checked to see if there are issues.
Inspect Spark Plugs
Spark plugs are a part of modern motorcycle engines, but many bikers don’t know about their importance. Spark plugs are the most important part of the motorcycle ignition system because they ignite the air-fuel mixture that turns the engine’s pistons.
For carbureted motorcycles, inspecting the spark plugs are important because it will give you an idea of how the gasoline is burned and if the carburetor needs tuning.
Check the Valve Clearance
When engine valves are adjusted improperly it can result in poor performance and a rough idle. Too little clearance can lead to a rough idle, poor drivability, and when the engine reaches operating temperature the valves may hammer. Too much clearance leads to noisy, troublesome valves.
When should you tune your motorcycle?
When it comes to bikes, how often you tune it up really depends on your cycling habits. If you’re just riding around casually, probably not so often.
Replacing your brake pads is one of the simplest maintenance tasks you can perform on your bike. You will usually know to do this. However, not all bikes are the same. If a bike is ridden hard, you should replace the pads more often.
Tuning your carburetor is something that you should perform depending on your preference. The time in between will often depend on the driving conditions. As long your spark plugs are sparking properly, your carbs are supplying fuel, and your engine is not running too lean or rich, you should be fine.
If you’re planning to go for a ride on your motorcycle, then you need to make sure that it’s in good working condition. An improperly working motorcycle can be dangerous and pose other possible problems as well.
If you don’t take care of your motorcycle, it can easily break down on you. Your motorcycle needs to be maintained regularly, so you need to schedule time for tune-ups, in addition to taking care of your bike.