Regular maintenance checks will help to keep your vehicle running smoothly year on year. Whether you love two wheels or four, it is important that you maintain your vehicle and make appropriate safety checks before every trip to keep you and other road users safe.
Before you ride
We’re all guilty of hopping on our bike and riding off without a second thought to checking the basics. And, why not? After all, if the bike was okay yesterday, or the day before, it’ll fine today, right? Well, actually, wrong. Although accidents due to mechanical failure are less common than they used to be, they do still happen. Before each trip, especially a long-distance one, it is vital that you make a few simple checks:
- Fuel: it’s a no-brainer, but it is surprisingly easy to find yourself caught out on the fuel front. Check that you have more than enough to get to where you want to go; if you’re running low, factor in a fuel stop.
- Oil and other lubricants: you will probably have some idea of when you last checked and changed your oil, but if you are unsure, it is even more important to check the oil level in the sump. Check that the control levers and cables function smoothly. If you have a choke lever, check that it works properly; also check brakes, clutch and throttle.
- Coolant: Check your coolant levels and walk around the bike, looking for puddles of water or oil – if you do see a puddle, find the source! You may need to contact a local mechanic for assistance.
- Wear and tear: Check for damage and chips that you may not have noticed previously; check your tyres in case you picked up a nail on your last outing.
- Electrics: lights, indicators, horn and display panel need to be checked – you don’t want to find out that you have an electric problem after dark.
- Rubber: check tyres, footrest rubbers and hand grips for wear and tear as well as other issues (such as oil) that might cause a danger to you or other road users.
- Suspension: Finally, check front forks and rear suspension; look for leaks and any other obvious issues.
The list may seem extensive, but in reality, it will take just a few minutes to do and it could save lives. If you have any doubt about the condition of your motorcycle, get in touch with a local, trusted garage. For more advice or to find a motorbike mechanic near you, follow Trust A Garage on Facebook or Twitter.