TVS Vehicles | 08 Jan 2024

Best DIY Bike Maintenance Tips

If you look at roads in India, you’ll see that they are full of bikes used for daily commute. This preference for bikes is down to the fact that they are cheaper to run, easy to manoeuvre through jam-packed traffic and convenient to park in tight spaces.

Such frequent and extensive usage calls for periodic maintenance so that your bike stays in good running condition. But before you start with DIY bike maintenance, make sure you have a basic tool kit for your bike that has at least an Allen key set, wrench and screwdriver. Also, if the bike has tubeless tyres, keep a puncture repair kit handy.

Here’s what you should check in bikes for daily use in terms of routine maintenance: -

⮚ Check for wear and tear of brakes
Braking is the primary safety feature in any bike and hence, the braking system should always be in mint condition. Since most bikes today come with disc brakes, it is recommended to get the brakes checked twice or thrice a year to have a consistently efficient bite on the disc. Other than that, the brake pads need replacement from time to time. Usually, a set of brake pads can easily last 25,000-30,000 km with a normal riding style. So, whenever there is a drop in the bite, it is recommended to get them replaced.

⮚ Clean and lubricate the chain and sprocket
A bike’s drivetrain usually has an engine sprocket, chain, and a rear wheel sprocket. In many bikes, the chain set sprocket is exposed. This makes it prone to dust, water, grime deposits and corrosion. A clean, well-lubed chain is crucial for smooth riding and gear shifts. In fact, routine chain cleaning and lubrication can prolong the lifespan of the chain set and sprocket in the long run. For daily commuters, it is advised to have the chain cleaned and lubricated once a month. Doing so keeps your bike ready for commuting in the best condition.

⮚ Replace/Top-up fluids
There are a couple of fluids in the bike that riders should monitor regularly. Starting with the brake oil, the level should ideally be above the minimum mark to be on the safe side. If it’s a performance bike with a radiator, keep a tab on the coolant level. If the level falls, top it up with the recommended coolant.

When it comes to engine oil, OEMs generally recommend getting it replaced every 3000-5000 km depending on engine displacement. If it is 200cc + in displacement, then semi-synthetic and fully-synthetic engine oils are highly recommended. Once you have identified the engine oil filler port and oil flush cap, you can change the bike’s engine oil yourself at home.

The first step here is flushing out the engine oil which helps clear the sludge and carbon deposits. After that, pour in the fresh engine oil and add the engine flush additive. Once that is done, crank the engine and let it idle for a while. If you are riding your bike for daily office use, it’s best to repeat this process at the recommended oil change intervals.

⮚ Battery and Air Filter Check
Battery checkup is another crucial part of DIY bike maintenance. Usually, a VRLA (valve regulated lead-acid battery) has a lifespan of 3-5 years. Regularly check the terminals for any signs of carbon accumulation as it leads to loss of power. Always clean such corroded terminals as they can hamper the battery life cycle, and if not repaired at the right time, it will add stress to the ignition system and even damage it.

For air filters, the OEMs usually suggest getting it cleaned during every service and replaced every 10,000-12,000 km. For a DIY approach, read the owner’s manual to properly open the air filter casing and clean it with an air blower once every 3 months, especially if your daily commute on your bike is a good 40-50 km every day.

Bear in mind that DIY maintenance in bikes for daily use does not include modifications. Therefore, make sure not to void the warranty by wire-cutting in OEM fitted wiring harness, customizing the chassis or remapping the ECU.

These basic DIY tips are sure to keep your bike in great running condition, thereby making it the best bike for daily use. Remember, if you maintain your bike the right way, it will last.

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Also Read: How To Care For Your Two-Wheeler Battery

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