A Checklist for Safely Maintaining Your Motorcycle

A responsible motorcyclist understands the importance of maintaining their motorcycle from a safety perspective, as well as to keep it running in top condition. Riding a fully functional motorcycle reduces the likelihood of your losing control when it counts, such as when you have to take a sudden evasive maneuver to avoid crashing into a car. Mechanical failures and poor maintenance might not be the top causes of motorcycle crashes – that would be accidents involving larger motor vehicles – but it is one aspect over which a rider has significant control.

1. Change your oil

While this seems obvious, some riders neglect to follow the schedule provided in their ownership manuals. You can do this yourself if you know how and have the resources, including an environmentally safe way to dispose of the oil. Any oil change should also include installation of a new filter.

2. Check the coolant

Coolant keeps your engine from overheating or freezing, depending on the season. It might be challenging to change on your own, as you need to know how to access it and exactly what kind of coolant your bike requires. Your owner’s manual will tell you how, along with providing the proper level at which it should be maintained.

3. Change your air filter

Speaking of changing filters, make sure to change the air filter regularly. This is key to maintaining your engine, as it catches debris that could significantly affect throttle and your motorcycle’s overall performance. Again, this is an item you can take care of yourself assuming you’re comfortable removing and replacing the parts necessary to gain access.

4. Maintain proper tire pressure

Tire pressure is easy to check, and you should do so frequently to ensure it remains steady. The better your tires adhere to the roadway, the greater your control while riding. Also check the valves that regulate air pressure to catch any possible leaks.

5. Check tire tread

Tread ensures your tires grip the road tightly – both the height of the tread and the depth of the grooves. If you’re uncertain how to do this yourself, consult your manual or have a tire expert do it (or show you how).

6. Replace your battery

This is one where you’ll likely need to go to a shop, unless you’re proficient at motorcycle repair and maintenance. Follow the guidance in your owner’s manual as to how frequently you should check your battery and the mileage at which a replacement will likely be necessary. Some older motorcycle models allow you to refill the battery with de-ionized water, but if you have a newer bike, it’s more likely you’ll need to replace it entirely.

7. Clean the chain

This is probably the most important item to remember if you want to keep your motorcycle running safely long-term. Your manual should advise you how frequently to do this. Alternately, if you have ridden through muddy areas or see the chain looks dirty, clean it. You can do this with a soft, bristled brush according to the directions in your manual or have it done. Follow up your cleaning by lubricating the rings with motorcycle chain oil.

If you’re injured in a motorcycle crash in Los Angeles

Maintaining your motorcycle is one good way to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, it won’t be enough if a car crashes into you while riding. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, please contact Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney Scott J. Corwin at (310) 683-2300.