Myths about servicing motorcycles at home busted

A motorcycle irrespective of the engine size big or small needs timely care and servicing. There are people who only prefer going to service centers to get their bikes checked, and there are people who know their motorcycles from inside out and prefer getting the service done at home. Then comes the third set of people who actually want to learn the tip and tricks of bike servicing but end up not doing so because of the anxiety related to some myths about getting the home service done. So in the article today we bust some myths related to home servicing, and also point out reasons why you need to go for it. Also, if you are a beginner, make sure to read the article till the very end as we write down the steps you need to follow in order to get the servicing done.

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Myth 1 – You need a host of tools:

This isn’t purely right as it only depends upon the kind of motorcycle you own. Until and unless you ride a Bimota, or a Honda RC213 V, things are just fine. Just make sure you have a couple of important tools which fit on your bike. To know more, open up the service manual and you’ll find the right info on the required tools. Servicing isn’t as complex as it may look. Just stick to the manual and you won’t face any major issue and at the same time, we can promise that it doesn’t required more than 6-7 tools altogether.

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Myth 2 – You’ll mess things up:

All you really need to do when it comes to motorcycle servicing is change a couple of filters here and there, and get your hands dirty in the engine oil and then fasten the require nuts and bolts and you are done. Servicing doesn’t get complex until and unless you have got the valves open and wiring spilt over the ground. If such is the case then you might require an extra hand that has some sort of similar experience. But all that can really go wrong is that you might fill some extra engine oil, or use the wrong type. That’s it, and such small mistakes will get ironed out in time.

Myth 3 – It will obliterate the warranty:

While it is true that warranty of your motorcycle might get affected if you get it serviced at home or outside the authorized service centre, but it depends upon the warranty terms and conditions. Since some firms do not consider it a factor and your warranty stays intact.  So it is safe in this case, but it’s better to get your terms and conditions checked.

Myth 4 – You don’t know the right technique:

There is no such thing as the right technique. All you need to do is drain the used engine oil, let the chamber turn dry for at least 10 minutes, and then fasten the oil bolt and then fill-up the fresh engine oil. While you are at it, make sure you also change the oil filter as per service manual and check the condition of the air filter, and that’s it.

Still if you feel you need detailed information on the steps you need to follow then below is the information which will come handy while you are working on your motorcycle:

Before the servicing, make sure you have your motorcycle service manual booklet handy. The reason why it is so important is because it has all the information in close details. The service book will guide you about all the tools that you may require for opening certain panels of your bike, also it has the details regarding the time of replacement of certain spare parts such as clutch plates, spark plugs, and most importantly the service intervals of your bike. It will inform you regarding the spare parts which need urgent replacement as per your current usage or distance reading on your odometer.  For example, there is no need to change spark plugs or air filters during first 10,000 kms in most of the bikes but still service centers insist that you replace the same, why? No other reason apart from sheer profit and easy money.

If your bike is under initial years of running, then the only parts that will need replacement is engine oil and oil filter. That aside, in the later years of running, parts like spark plugs, air filter, brake pads, chain set and clutch plates will need replacement.

Once you’ve taken assistance of the service manual booklet, you will need the spare parts which can easily be bought via online stores or you can directly contact the service center to provide you the same. Make sure that you buy only those parts which are designed for your bike. For example there are a wide variety of engine oils present in the market today but only go for the specific oils which are recommended as your bike’s engine cubic capacity and design. Using non recommended engine oil may alter your bike’s performance which can later on affect the engine life.

Apart from the spare parts you will also need a paddock stand on which your motorcycle will be parked while getting serviced. It is not advisable to park the bike on the side stand as it will restrict proper oil drainage from the engine and will only make the servicing procedure tricky.

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Once your motorcycle is set on the stand, allow the bike and the engine to cool down if you have just arrived from a ride. Let it cool down for at least 15 to 20 minutes as oil might still be hot from the run.

Once the bike is cooled down, start with draining out the oil in a pan. Allow the settled oil to drip out completely ensuring there is nothing more left in the engine chamber. At the same time, loosen the oil filter attached and discard it along with the drained oil. Please note, do not throw out the used oil down the basin of your bathroom as it is a serious health hazard, and hence follow proper recommended techniques to discard the used oil. 

Next step you need to follow is taking out the air filter of your bike which is usually located underneath the fuel tank. Clean it and shake off all the dust and dirt it has blocked from entering the engine chamber. If your air-filter is wash type, you can quickly rinse it in water to allow the dirt and muck to get loose and come off quickly, else if you use basic air-filter do not even think about putting it anywhere close to water. Once the filter is clean and dry, fit it back into its compartment and assemble back the panel.

By this time the engine chamber is almost dry, now fit back the nut that was loosen for draining the oil. Once the nut is in the position, start pouring down fresh oil and fill exactly the quantity as per recommendation.  Filling down more or less will only prove to be dangerous for the engine. At the same time, make the new oil filter wet by splashing some fresh engine oil on it and fit it inside its place in the engine compartment.

By this time your engine oil and oil-filter is replaced, and you have cleaned your air-filter. Now take a quick look at the motorcycle chain if it is too untidy, or loose. Make sure you clean and lubricate the same.

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Now basic maintenance of your motorcycle is done and it is good to cover another 4,000 to 5,000 kms on the road. It is always fun to learn how to service your own bike, also there is no harm if you can save some extra bucks in the process. Right?

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