Prevent personal injury accidents by properly maintaining your motorcycle
Motorcycles are wonderful for long or short trips, for the camaraderie of other cyclists, and for their economy. While it is true that most motorcycle accidents are caused by unaware drivers, some personal injury accidents are caused by the lack or improper maintenance of the bike.
Unique causes of motorcycle malfunction
Motorcycle riders may experience the same types of malfunctions as cars, such as flat tires, running out of gas and dead batteries; however, there are some problems that are unique to motorcycles.
A bike’s exposed mechanisms accumulate a lot of dirt, sand, dust and other debris when riding on the road. This can create corrosion, causing the motorcycle to run poorly or break down.
If you don’t lubricate your chain, you could be looking at a terribly dangerous situation for yourself and/or others. An unlubricated chain can cause the chain to snap or lock unexpectedly. This can result in major engine damage. If you are on a busy road or highway, you could be involved in a serious accident.
Check your chain tension (your owner’s manual should have the correct tension for your tires). Incorrect chain tension can cause premature sprocket and gearbox wear, rough gear-shift changes, reduce rear suspension travel and limit the life of the drive chain.
Regularly replace the fuel hose; otherwise, it could cause fuel to leak from the gas tank and cause the whole fuel system to break down. This could result in a sudden accident accompanied by fire because of the exposed fuel.
Important motorcycle maintenance tips
Here are some basic, but very important maintenance tips you should follow to keep your motorcycle up to snuff.
Comprehensive annual inspections of the body, engine and tires. If you ride your bike a lot, you may have to do this more than once a year.
Check the tread and pressure of your tires weekly.
Check your battery discharge level so you won’t run out of juice.
Change the spark plugs when needed.
Lubricate foot-rests, hinges, levers, locks, stand hinges and cables. (Just don’t accidentally lubricate the brakes.)
Perform brake pad maintenance.
Schedule oil changes.
Monitor liquid coolant.
Change “fork oil” regularly (which will help the motorcycle absorb road irregularities).
If you keep your bike in tip top shape, you can relax, enjoy the wind in your hair (although please wear a helmet – so just enjoy the wind in your face), and feel confident that your well-maintained bike will safely take you where you want to go.
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