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Motorcycle Maintenance: Things to Remember

Motorcylce .

Before you hop on your motorcycle and head out on the open road, it's good to do a quick maintenance check. This will help ensure a smooth and, most importantly, safe ride. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, ( NHTSA) motorcyclists are six times as likely to be injured in a crash as those riding in a car. Here are some quick tips to get you started.

Check Your Tires

Before each ride, check tire tread depth and tire pressure. The pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure in your tires should meet your bike's specific requirements as detailed in your motorcycle's service or owner's manual. Under-inflated tires may impact how your bike brakes and handles, as well as reduce your fuel economy, while over-inflated tires can affect handling and grip on the road.

Chain Tension and Operation

The correct chain tension will help your motorcycle shift smoothly, so regularly check your chain and set it to the correct level of tension. Your owner's manual will include the correct amount of drive-chain slack. Make adjustments while someone is sitting on the bike, as weight changes tension levels. While you're checking the tension, make sure your chain is clean, rust-free and well-oiled to keep it shifting properly.

Running Smooth: Fluid Levels

Keeping your motorcycle's fluids at the proper level helps prevent mechanical degradation and other problems. Be sure to check the levels of:

  • Engine/transmission oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Clutch fluid

After a fluid check, lubricate hinges, levers, locks, footrests and non-structural bolts with spray grease. Check your service or owner's manual for a full list of parts to keep greased. Don’t forget to oil the cable using a hydraulic cable oiler to facilitate responsive operation.

Keep Air Flowing

In order to operate properly, your motorcycle's air intakes must be clear. Check air filters regularly; if filters are dirty, damaged or have holes, replace them. Give the exhaust system a visual once-over, checking the muffler and pipes for damage.

Battery Condition

Regularly check your motorcycle's battery, especially in hot weather. Batteries that won't hold a charge or that are more than three years old may need to be replaced. Look for corrosion near terminals or uncovered wires, as well.

Safety Checklist

The NHTSA recommends performing a safety check of the following:

  • Brakes (foot and hand)
  • Head, tail and signal lights
  • Mirrors
  • Levels of fluid
  • Tire tread depth
  • Tire PSI

Even the best-maintained motorcycles may sometimes experience problems. Check with your local independent insurance agent to see if your policy includes Roadside Assistance and to help ensure you are protected before hitting the open road.

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