We are now getting back to a semblance of normalcy with the implementation of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in many parts of the Philippines. Granted that things will not necessarily be the same as before the ECQ took effect, there will be some liberties that we can take advantage of as we gradually open the economy. One of these is the use of personal transportation.
A lot of you use motorbikes to get around the city, or to go to work, or to do errands. And like many of us, we were not able to ride our steeds all that much these past two months. Getting your motorcycle back to tip-top shape is not really that difficult nor cumbersome. It just takes a keen eye and a little bit of your time to check and tidy things up before you go out on the road. With the COVID-19 disease still pretty much around us, we are sure you would rather be on a motorcycle than in a crowded PUV.
So, here is a basic checklist to go over as you get your motorcycle ready for those long trips ahead.
Give your bike a wash
If you are one of the many who were not able to take out your motorcycle or have not gotten into the habit of cleaning your bike, this is the best time to do it. Washing your bike with water and car or motorcycle washing liquid frees it up from gunk and dirt that may have accumulated while it was in storage.
Wash from the top down using running water. Use a dedicated sponge and brush for both the wheels and chains because they will most likely be dirtier than the rest of the bike. Diesel or kerosene fuel paired with a brush can be a good degreaser too if a chain-specific cleaner is not available. Make use of a second sponge for the rest of the body including the cockpit and seat. Dry your motorcycle with a clean microfiber cloth to bring out the luster of the paint and chrome bits.
Park and inspect
A typical modern-day motorbike will have a center stand to keep it lifted off the ground and stationary while parked. When locked in place, you can now give the mechanicals and electricals a once over to see if everything is in order.
Check the oil level. Your motorcycle’s center stand should keep it from slushing over to one side. You should start the bike for about 3 minutes and let it cool down for about the same amount of time before pulling out the dipstick, wiping it down and inserting it again to get a good reading. The oil level should be in the middle of the markers. Less than that, you will need to top up a bit.
If you missed a preventive maintenance schedule over the quarantine period, you may want to change the oil or consider setting an appointment with the shop to get this done before you go out for extended rides.
Also, remove the spark plugs and inspect if these and the ignition wires are in good condition. A light-tan or grey color of the spark plug tip means it is operating at an optimum temperature. If it is too white, or too black with carbon deposits, then you may need to have the ignition system checked and the spark plug replaced.
Check the thickness of your brake pads or brake linings. If they are about as thick as a 1-peso coin, then they need to be changed as well.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual on how to access, maintain and trouble-spot these different components as well as the specifications of key items and parts you need to replace.
Clean and lubricate
If you were able to get the mucky bits off the chain with your brush and degreaser, do not forget to re-lube the chain again before use. WD-40 is a popular option if chain lube is not readily available. Make sure to inspect the sprocket for wear and tear as well while you are at it.
To give your ride an extra bit of shine or even a fresh new look, have a try at using coconut oil in polishing the bike’s fairings. You can even use adhesive removers to clean off glue gum from old decals and stickers. And metal pieces like the gas cap, even old hazy headlight housings, can regain their luster with the help of toothpaste and some elbow grease.
Check the tire pressures
Long periods of storage can see tire pressure drop as air seeps out of the rubber. If you have not already, raise the tire pressure a bit if you are going to store the bike for a bit more of time. Just remember to bring back the tire pressures to their normal levels once you are riding again. And since you are looking at the tires, do check their condition and the depth of the grooves. The rainy season is upon us, and you will need those tires to channel out as much water on the road to enjoy a safe and stable ride.
Keep the battery charged
That extended quarantine of two whole months can drain your motorbike’s battery. Make sure you start it for a few minutes at least twice a week. That way, once you need to go out and ride your motorcycle, it will come to life with just one click. While idling the bike, do turn on the lights and test the horn if they are all working well. These are essential electrical items that are needed when riding your motorcycle.
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Providing tender loving care to your bike is part and parcel of the motorcycle ownership experience. You cannot expect it to run flawlessly if you do not do your share in understanding and maintaining your ride. Carousell is loaded with listings of parts, items and services that can get your motorcycle up to shape. The items you are looking for to get your ride purring healthily is just a few clicks away. And if you are considering shifting into the world of two-wheels, Carousell is ready and able to take you on a journey to find the perfect ride for your budget and needs.