3 Steps for Motorcycle Maintenance

by Susan Evans

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 and about any questions you may have.

Step 1: Maintenance Check

Before each and every ride, do a quick maintenance check of the following to make sure things are in working order.

  • Brakes
  • Chain – check lubrication and alignment
  • 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 – Check All The Lights: Make sure the lights work, specifically the brake lights (both front and rear) and the headlights. You MUST be seen, says Mark Alsip, Expert & Service Manager for Fox Valley Cycle, Aurora, IL

Step 2: Fix, Don’t Ignore

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.

Step 3: Schedule Regular Tune-Ups

Schedule a tune-up or regular maintenance check each year and/or when it’s reached the  3,000-4,000 miles mark. “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 the motorcycle will be ready to go in the spring.”

Common Motorcycle Problems

We asked motorcyclists and mechanics from across the country for a list of the top maintenance problems they encounter.

  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.

Watch this video for some basic motorcycle maintenance tips!


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.

Photo Credit: Kzenon

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