Motorcycle Maintenance

Keep your motorcycle or scooter up to date on repairs – just like you would with your car. Talk with your mechanic to get maintenance tips specifically for your brand, make and model of your scooter or motorcycle:

Get in Gear

Before each and every ride, do a quick maintenance check make sure things are in working order.
  1. Take a look at or test:
    • Brakes
    • Chain – check lubrication and if aligned properly
    • Lights, turn signals
    • Oil and fuel levels (not all machines have fuel and oil gauges so you may need to check these manually)
    • Safety gears
    • Tires – check the pressure, traction, look for tears or holes. (Prevents cupping, premature wear, and poor handling)

    WHN TIP: Lights and Safety Features

    Make sure the lights work, specifically the brake lights (both front and rear) and the headlights. You must be seen!!
    – Mark Alsip, Expert & Service Manager for Fox Valley Cycle, Aurora, IL

  2. If you notice a problem, don’t ignore it. Either fix the issue or call your mechanic to see what action steps you’ll need to take.
  3. Schedule a tune-up or regular maintenance check each year. “We recommend getting a tune-up before the cycle is put away from the season,” says Thom D’Angelo of Motosport brokerage. “That way, you’ll get rid of old oil, check for problems and get the battery charged so that way the motorcycle will be ready to go in the spring.” Also, if you’ve reached over 3,000-4,000 miles you should schedule a tune-up.

Common Motorcycle Problems

We asked motorcyclists and mechanics from across the country for a list of the top maintenance problems they encounter. For sound mechanical advice, talk to your mechanic about your motorcycle questions:

  1. Fuel contamination.
    “The most common problem we see is the fuel system suffering from stale gas because the motorcycles or scooters aren’t used enough. The gas just sits and clogs the fuel system,” says D’Angelo. “If you don’t use your motorcycle on a regular basis (less than 25 miles a week), there’s an additive called a fuel stabilizer and you can add that in.”
  2. Premature tire wear.
    “To prevent tire wear or cupping, you must regularly check and run the proper tire pressure,” says Mark Alsip, Expert & Service Manager for Fox Valley Cycle, Aurora, IL “Follow your Owner’s Manual and you may even want to go a pound or two over if you ride with passengers or if your motorcycle is heavily loaded (saddlebags, etc.).” You should plan to replace your tires every three years, regardless of the mileage, says D’Angelo.
  3. Neglected batteries.
    “If you do not use the machine more often 25 miles or at least 5 hours per week, then you may need to have a battery tender/charger hooked up,” says Alsip. “You need to plug the machine into this every time you finish using it or within a day or two.”
  4. Not reading the manual.
    “Follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. Maintenance may just be as simple as an oil change or cleaning filters, to an advanced valve adjustment,” says Alsip.

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust when making your purchasing decisions.

Last Updated: 5/2009