A mechanic checks over a motorcycles brakes and rotors.

As a motorcycle rider, there’s nothing better than getting out on the open road. Taking a nice motorcycle ride can help you clear your mind and de-stress. Even though you may want to just hop on and take a ride, motorcycles are complex machines that require regular maintenance to keep them running safely. Ignoring maintenance tasks can lead to costly repairs, breakdowns on the side of the road and even accidents. Keeping up with proper maintenance and looking for signs of problems can help you stay safe and keep enjoying your riding lifestyle.

Here are five signs that your motorcycle needs maintenance:

1. Your engine oil is dirty or low. 

Engine oil is essential for keeping your motorcycle's engine running smoothly and preventing wear and tear. Dirty or low engine oil can lead to your engine failing, which will cause you to lose power while riding. Losing engine power can be extremely dangerous, especially in traffic or on winding roads. If your engine oil is dirty or low, it's time for an oil change and filter replacement. You can take your bike to a qualified mechanic or change the oil yourself. Here’s a helpful Behind the Handlebars video on how to change your motorcycle’s oil.

2. Your brakes are spongy or making noise. 

Your brakes are one of the most important safety features on your motorcycle because when they’re working properly you can stop quickly. If they're spongy, feel less responsive when trying to stop or making creaking, grinding or other noise, it's a sign that they need to be inspected, and probably serviced or replaced. Faulty brakes can make it difficult or impossible to stop in time, which can lead to a serious accident. At the first sign of any brake problems, get them checked out right away.

3. Your tires are worn or damaged. 

Making sure your tires are in good condition is important because they are the only things that connect you to the road. Check your tires regularly for wear and tear, damage and dry rot to make sure they are in good condition. Also make sure that they are at the proper air pressure. If they don’t hold air or need replacing, get new tires immediately. It’s not worth risking an accident to get a few more rides out of worn tires. A blown-out tire can lead to a loss of control and serious accidents, risking your life and the lives of others on the road.

4. Your chain is dry or rusty.

Your motorcycle's chain is what transfers power from the engine to the rear wheel. If it's dry or rusty, it can wear out prematurely and even break. A broken chain can cause you to lose power and control of your motorcycle, leading to a crash. Inspect your chain for rust, corrosion or signs of cracking, especially if it has been sitting for a long time.

5. Your lights are not working properly.  

Your motorcycle's lights are essential for visibility at night and in poor weather conditions. They’ll also help you stay visible to other drivers on the road in all conditions. Make sure all of your lights, including headlights, taillights and brake lights, are working properly before you ride. They should stay on when switched on and not flicker. Faulty lights can make it difficult for other drivers to see you, which can lead to an avoidable accident. Replace them right away if there are any problems.

Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your motorcycle reliable and yourself safe on the road.  By following these tips, you can keep your bike in the best possible condition and help ensure your safety while riding your motorcycle. Developing a routine to check over your bike before each ride is always a good idea. Using the acronym T-CLOCK can help make sure that you check all the necessary components on your motorcycle. You can learn more about T-CLOCK here.

Hupy and Abraham is dedicated to keeping motorcyclists safe. The firm’s “Watch for Motorcycles” campaign promotes motorcycle awareness and we also work to inform riders of the safest practices while on the road. HUPY.COM includes a variety of videos and articles containing motorcycle event recaps, safety tips and information articles for riders. 

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, we’re here to help, call 800-800-5678 or visit HUPY.COM today.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.