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A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Motorcycle Maintenance

Knowing how to drive a motorcycle and having the ability to maintain it are two very different things. You’re probably so excited about your bright new motorcycle that you don’t even think about maintenance as a new motorcycle owner.

That is a novice mistake. As a beginner rider, knowing how your bike works and how to perform some basic motorcycle maintenance on your own gives you more confidence.

Even if you aren’t mechanically inclined, learning how to maintain your bike provides peace of mind and can save you a lot on servicing.

If you’re putting a lot of miles on your bike, you should do a fast once over monthly or every couple of weeks. Even with brand new motorcycles, some parts may begin to show wear sooner than planned.

You can perform the majority of the work on your own. Use this basic motorcycle maintenance checklist to ensure your bike is in good working order.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

It’s critical to check your tyre pressure to guarantee you’re travelling safely. You risk a flat tyre or a blowout at high speeds if the pressure is too low. On the other hand, having too much pressure may impact the bike’s handling.

The recommended air pressure measurements are usually found in the tyre manufacturer’s manual. Measure the PSI level in your tyres with a tyre pressure gauge and inflate as needed.

Watch Your Engine Oil Level

Your engine’s oil level should be full at all times. Warm up your bike for a few minutes before checking the oil level. Then, place your motorcycle on the centre stand or have a friend do it for you.

Inspect the engine oil glass at the bottom of the engine. Fill it up if it’s not full; if the oil is dark, it’s time to change it.

Be Careful with Your Chain Slack

Ignore this section if your bike has a shaft drive.

Your chain may droop more than it should due to wear and long miles. Push the chain towards the swingarm to check for slack. It shouldn’t sag more than 40mm.

If the chain is too slack, release the axle nut and adjust the feature bolts as needed to decrease or extend the slack. In the manufacturer’s handbook, you’ll find the specific measurements for your bike.

Double-Check Your Air Filter and Oil Filter

Air filters on street and sport bikes can last up to 5,000 kilometres before they need to be cleaned or replaced. If you ride dirt bikes or in dusty, sandy conditions, your air filter may require more frequent cleaning.

Open the airbox and remove the filter to inspect the condition of your air filter. Replace or clean it if it appears filthy and clogged.

As a general rule, your oil filter should be updated at the same time as the engine oil. Unless your manufacturer’s handbook specifies otherwise, replace the oil filter every 4,000–5,000 kilometres.

Replace Your Coolant When It’s Time

The coolant fluid in your motorcycle should be replaced every two years or so. Because the coolant liquid can deteriorate over time, it’s preferable to change it fully within twenty to twenty-four months.

Remove the fairings to provide access to the radiator, then drain the old coolant from the radiator top and refill it with new fluid.

If you check these things on your motorcycle regularly, you’ll be able to maintain it yourself, avoid wear and breakdowns, and save money on servicing.


It can be quite costly if you rely only on dealership mechanics for motorcycle maintenance. You can do some simple jobs yourself if you have your manual, YouTube, and this detailed motorcycle maintenance guide.

That’s not to suggest you can’t have your bike serviced at the dealer. If you don’t have the time for or interest in motorcycle maintenance, leaving it to the pros is perfectly acceptable.

If you’re looking for a reliable motorcycle service in the UK, you can trust York Motorbikes to deliver excellent work. We offer a full range of services for all makes and models of motorcycle, from MOTs to servicing and repairs. Contact us today to book an appointment!

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