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Motorcycle Safety | Maintenance Checks To Do


Beginner’s Guide: Motorcycle Maintenance Checks for Your Safety

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When was the last time you performed a full maintenance check on your motorcycle? As a motorcycle rider, it's pertinent to know how to check the important components of your motorbike before you hit the road. Not only will it keep your bike in tip top condition for years to come – even if it is in storage – a motorcycle in good condition is also safer for you.

So, make sure you run through our updated checklist of tips on how to maintain and do safety checks on your two-wheeler for a smooth ride. But, while our handy care tips will help you keep your bike healthy and safe, remember that it also needs regular check-ups and servicing by a professional mechanic. 

7 Motorcycle Maintenance and Safety Checks Every Rider Must Know

1. Tyres & Axle Shaft

Starting from the bottom up, the first thing you should check on are your motorcycle’s tyres. Riding on any kind of road conditions with bad motorbike tyres can prove to be fatal if you do not take the necessary precautions.  

You should check for signs of: 

  • Aging such as faded spots due to the sun. 
  • Wear and tear like smooth patches where you don’t see the tyre pattern, worn out tyre strips, dryness and cracking. These signs should be obvious to you just at first glance.
  • Uneven tyre pressure. Push down onto the tyre. If it feels soft and squishy, that means the tyre pressure is too low. If the tyre feels rock hard, meaning you are unable to push down on it at all, then it is overinflated.

Also ensure your axle shaft is secured and tight. The axle shaft is the rod that rotates the wheels and supports the weight of your vehicle — as shown in the image above — if it's broken, it’s a major repair. When you’ve bent or broken an axle shaft, one of the first signs you’ll notice is a slight wobble when riding. If you feel there’s an issue with your motorcycle’s axel, shaft or even if it’s just unbalanced tyres, take your vehicle to a trusted workshop for motorcycles immediately.

2. Brakes/Rotors

All vehicles have a braking system to slow down and come to a stop. The main component of the brakes on a motorcycle are the brake rotors. When you step on the brakes, your motorcycle’s brake pads compress against the brake rotors, creating immense friction to help stop your motorcycle.

Here’s a video on how to clean your rotors and what you should do to check if it’s working well:

  • Check the rotor for any bending or deep grooving due to excessive heat.
  • Check pad depth on brake pads. It shouldn’t be too worn out.
  • Make sure your bike’s brake lever can be squeezed properly.

3. Engine

Next check the engine’s fluids as well as:

  • Oil and filter
  • Coolant level
  • Air filter
  • Spark plug 

You’ll know if your engine’s spark plug is worn out by checking its tip. If the tip is encrusted, blistered or oily as shown in the image above, it’s time to get it checked by a professional and replaced if needed.

4. Shocks/Swing arms

Leaking motorcycle shock
Source: The Triumph Forum

It’s important to ensure that your motorcycle’s shock or swing arm is not leaking. If there is a fluid leak, the residue from the oil will reduce the performance. If the oil in your shock leaks, it can disrupt your braking force. You should also make sure there are no broken springs on your shocks.

5. Drive Chain, Drive Train & Drive Shaft

Motorcycle chain
Source: BikeAdvice

Regular checking and adjustment of your motorcycle’s drive chain, drive train and drive shaft is vital for its longevity and the smoothness of your transmission. Chains that break or come off the sprockets can destroy engine cases and, at worst, throw you off the bike.

Here’s what to check:

Drive Chain

  • Lubricate it sufficiently
  • Check the sprockets to ensure the teeth is not worn out
  • Ensure the chain is not rusty and there are no broken or stiff links

Drive Train - Belt

  • Inspect belt for any other damages like cracking 

Drive Shaft

  • Inspect for leaky seals or oil residue

6. Chassis

Cracked motorcycle chassis/frame (zoom out)
Cracked motorcycle chassis/frame (zoom in)
Source: Cycle Forums

A motorcycle's chassis is its frame. All the components of a motorcycle, like the suspension, wheels, fuel tank, seats, and handlebars are attached to this base structure which lends a motorcycle its strength and ability to handle well. Check if your motorcycle has any strain in the handlebars and turning parameters to ensure that it’s not rigid.

7. Controls/Gauges

Motorcycle gauge
Source: Unsplash

Finally, take a look at your motorcycle’s controls and gauges. Here’s what to check:

  • Throttle to ensure it rotates freely
  • Clutch lever works well
  • Gear shift – it should flow smoothly in and out of gears 
  • Front and rear brake feedback or “feel”
  • Head lights, flashers, all working properly
  • Gauges – ensure all the lights come on
  • Check tachometer for correct functionality
  • Battery – make sure connections are tight and there is no corroding

Motorcycle Maintenance Equals Safety

Ensuring that your motorcycle is in good riding condition by performing frequent maintenance checks could save your life! If you can’t clean, replace or repair any of the components yourself, then you should get it checked by a trained mechanic immediately.

Remember to also check for damage or corrosion to the body and wires, assure that there’s no visible leaks, check bolts and bearings for tightness plus ensure that your lights are working properly. Pay close attention to all these details, before getting onto your bike, to prevent an accident or injury in the future.

Just as important as the rest of the items on this list is a good insurance plan. DirectAsia offers three different motorcycle insurance cover types for maximum flexibility and affordability to suit every rider and budget. And to make sure every policyholder has access to the best help possible, you can contact an insurance specialist online or at +65 6665 5555.