Preparing your motorcycle for summer rides: A maintenance guide

Man maintaining motorcycle
Man maintaining motorcycle
Author Michael Milbourn
Product Manager – Dairyland
12 de marzo de 2024

As a motorcycle rider, you know each season comes with unique challenges and considerations. A sunny summer day can be the perfect backdrop to a motorcycle ride, but it's up to you to make sure your bike is ready for the heat, unpredictable weather, and busy roads that come with the season. Here's what you need to know:

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The importance of motorcycle maintenance

Routine motorcycle maintenance is essential year-round to keep your bike running safely and efficiently. Regular service like oil changes, brake inspections, and tire checks are the only way to spot small issues before they become major problems.

Summer heat combined with more frequent, longer rides is harder on bikes. Tailoring your maintenance plan to summer conditions is crucial.

Summer motorcycle maintenance to-do’s

When getting your motorcycle summer-ready, make sure your maintenance checklist includes:

Check and replace fluids

Oil and funnel illustration
  • Inspect oil levels and top off if needed.

  • Change oil and filter per manufacturer specifications.

  • Check brake fluid. Flush and refill if fluid is murky.

  • Ensure coolant level is between maximum and minimum fill lines. Change every two seasons, or if the fluid appears murky.

Inspect and change tires

Tire wheel illustration

Check and adjust brakes

Motorcycle brake pedal illustration
  • Test your motorcycle brakes at low speeds.

  • Adjust your bike's brake levers/pedals to so you can easily reach them.

  • Check your bike's pads/shoes to ensure at least 1/4” of friction material remains.

  • If brakes appear worn, their responsiveness is choppy or inconsistent, or if you notice any irregular sounds or feelings when applying them, bring your bike to a mechanic right away.

Check and adjust the chain

Purple gear and gray motorcycle chain
  • Clean the motorcycle chain thoroughly and apply fresh lubricant along its entire length.

  • Check the chain tension by pushing up on the lower half mid-span. You should have about a half-inch of play. If the chain is too loose, it can derail or break. Too tight, and it will bind. Adjust the chain slack per your manual’s directions.

  • Inspect the chain and sprockets for excessive wear, such as stretched or kinked links, frayed edges, or hooked teeth on the sprockets.

Clean and test lights

Motorcycle headlights illustration
  • Replace any burnt-out or dimming bulbs—this will help improve your visibility.

  • Turn on your lights and walk around the motorcycle to make sure they are aimed properly and functioning correctly.

  • Wash off grime from the lenses of your headlight, brake light, and turn signals using soapy water and a soft cloth.

Check the battery

Battery illustration
  • Clean any corrosion from the battery posts and terminals.

  • Re-secure any loose connections.

  • Inspect the battery for cracks, leaks, or bulging sides.

  • Ensure it is held down securely to avoid vibration damage.

  • Check the charge level. Recharge if below 12.4 volts.

  • Have the battery load-tested at a shop. Replace if failing.

Motorcycle front view illustration.
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Summer motorcycle riding safety tips

Getting your bike in ride-ready shape is obviously essential, but you also need to set yourself up for a successful, safe summer ride.

Wear the proper gear

Full face cycle helmet

Protect yourself on summer adventures with up-to-date and well-fitted riding gear, including a jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. Look for lightweight, ventilated options made of abrasion-resistant materials. Don’t forget a helmet that fits properly and meets DOT standards.

Protect against dehydration and sun exposure

Open water bottle illustration

Pack plenty of water before heading out under the summer sun. Hours on hot blacktop and glare from passing motorists can cause a lot of stress on your body, including heat exhaustion. Apply sunscreen regularly and wear eye protection, especially if your helmet doesn’t have a UV shield.

Take regular breaks

Rest arrow illustration

Long stints in the saddle lead to fatigue, enhancing risk. Schedule regular stops to get off the bike, stretch your muscles, and recharge your mental focus. Don’t push to unsafe distances without adequate rest periods.

The importance of motorcycle insurance

Summer on the open road presents hazards like increased traffic, glaring sunshine, dust, and bugs. A minor tip-over or collision can lead to expensive repairs and medical bills. A motorcycle insurance policy can help provide financial protection if the unexpected occurs.

Most states have minimum motorcycle insurance requirements, including must-have coverages and coverage limits. Beyond these requirements, you can increase your protection by adding a range of optional motorcycle insurance coverages to your policy.

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