Preventing The Need For Costly Repair
Proper motorcycle maintenance and preparation before riding will prevent the need for costly repair jobs. The Internet abounds with motorcycle repair videos, DVDs, books and magazines. If you prefer not to go to an authorized repair center, it is possible to learn how to do-it-yourself.
A quick pre-ride check of your bike will help prevent the need for repair, especially if you are going on a long road-trip, and even if you are just riding to the store.
First check the oil and the oil filter. Learning how to change your own filter will save time and money. If you do change your own oil make sure to dispose of the old oil properly. It should be sealed in an approved container and taken to a legitimate oil disposal facility. This is a good time to check the other fluid levels as well.
Next check the controls to make sure they all operate properly. Controls include front and rear brakes, throttle, clutch and shifter. Also check to see that the steering mechanism works smoothly. This may be done by turning the handlebars through the full operating range.
You should check your tire pressure often. If you are touring, carry a tire gauge and check it daily. The owner's manual that comes with your bike will tell you what the correct tire pressure should be. Remember that air pressure can change with air temperature. When you check your tire pressure you should also check the condition of your tires. Replace any tires that have less than 50 percent of the tread left. Also replace tires that have cracks, cuts or signs of wear. You should not try to repair a tire unless there is no other option. Even then it is a short-term solution.
Make sure to check for any fuel, oil, or hydraulic fuel leaks. Check both the cases and the lines for leaks. Running out of oil out in the middle of nowhere will definitely mean costly engine repair or even replacement.
Check your headlights, taillights, and turning signals and brake lights. Get into the habit of doing this every time you ride. This is for your own protection letting other drivers see you as well as letting you see them. Instructions on replacing bulbs should be in your owner's manual. Oh, by the way, if you bought a used bike and the owner did not give you a manual, try looking on line.
Now check your battery. You may actually double the life of your battery by checking and maintaining water levels regularly. This is as simple as shining a flashlight into the opening and filling to the indicated level. You may also consider installing a battery charger with a convenient disconnect.
Finally before you start out, check the position of the mirrors. Do this while you are sitting on the bike to ensure that they are correctly positioned.
Following this simple maintenance plan can save you time, money and the need for repair. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, find the closest Harley Davidson dealership to help you out.