Motorcycle Maintenance Tips

  • Motorcycle Long Term Storage

    1. Fill your fuel tank with fresh premium fuel that contains no ethanol. Premium fuel is recommended with the recommended amount of fuel stabiliser added. Make sure the tank is completely full for final storage… it will prevent condensation during temperature fluctuations.
    2. Either take your bike for a short 5 to 10 minute ride or warm your bike up in the driveway before you do an oil and filter change (this will also make sure that the fuel stabiliser has worked its way through the entire fuel system). Refer to your owner’s manual for oil change info.
      Always be careful of warm or hot components.
      Unless you have recently changed your oil (1,000 kms or less), it is a good idea to store your bike with fresh oil … it will also save you having to do it after a storage period. A bike should not be stored with old, well used oil … its acidity levels will be elevated and could harm your engine internals. Start your bike after the oil change for a minute or so to get the fresh oil circulating.
    3. Once your bike has completely cooled down, if the float bowl drain screws can be accessed (not EFI ) drain the float bowls (this may not be necessary since you should have already added fuel stabiliser… but if the drain screws are easy to get to it is a bit of extra ""insurance"").
    4. Wash your motorcycle before storing. A coat of wax on the painted parts is a good idea. Always inspect your bike as you wash it … this is a great time to look for damaged, loose or missing parts. If your bike is being stored in a damp environment, consider using some light oil on the chrome bits… just make sure you remove it prior to starting the bike in the spring.
    5. Lube your chain (if applicable) after you have washed and dried your bike. Once again, it is not a bad idea to adjust your chain at the same time… it will save you having to do it after storage period. Please note, chains are not tightened, they are adjusted to a specific tension spec which will be outlined in your owner’s manual.
    6. Find a safe, secure spot to store your bike. If your bike has a centre stand, it is best to put it on this stand in order to get as much weight off the wheels and suspension as possible. If you own a sport bike, there are various types of stands available that can raise the wheels off the ground. If not, the side stand will have to do. Remember to store your bike in a well-ventilated area away from open flames, sparks etc. and electric motors.
    7. Remove the battery and if applicable check the electrolyte level and top it up to the correct level with distilled water. Put the battery on charge and fully charge it. The battery should then be stored in a warm, dry place. Never store your battery directly on a concrete floor … this could damage or permanently kill the battery (use a 2x4 to keep it up off the concrete). The battery should be charged every 4 to 6 weeks while in storage. Note: Some MF (maintenance free) batteries require a special charger.
    8. Since you have warmed the bike up to change the oil, double check if the fuel tank needs to be topped up again. If so, make sure you use stabilised premium fuel … this will help prevent condensation and corrosion in the tank. If your bike has a fuel tap, make sure it is in the off position during storage.
    9. Cover your bike with a breathable cover to help protect it and keep it clean. Careful of using a non-breathable cover (plastic tarp etc.) which could cause condensation and corrosion.
    10. Depending on where your bike is being stored, if vermin (mice – rats etc.) are a concern, take the time to tape up the intake opening and exhaust outlet and put some moth balls under the cover … this will help keep them away. Make sure you remove them before starting after storage.
    11. You can go an extra step and remove spark plugs and put a small amount of oil (about a teaspoon) into each cylinder then rotate the engine a few times to prevent rusting. If you are storing your bike for more than 6 months, this would be a good idea.
      Note: Be careful… removing spark plugs can be a tough job on the newer high tech bikes, and do not put too much oil into the cylinders.

    Finally, keep your bike locked up at all times and if possible for security reasons, out of view of prying eyes during long term storage periods.

  • Off-Road Motorcycle Storage

    If your machine is to be stored for 90 days or more, some preventative measures must be taken to avoid deterioration. After cleaning the machine thoroughly, prepare it for storage as follows:

    • Drain the fuel tank, fuel lines, and the carburettor float bowl.
    • Remove the spark plug, pour a tablespoon of SAE 10W-30 motor oil in the spark plug hole, and reinstall the plug. With the engine stop switch pushed in, kick the engine over several times to coat the cylinder walls with oil.
    • Remove the drive chain, clean it thoroughly with solvent, and lubricate it. Reinstall the chain or store it in a plastic bag tied to the frame.
    • Lubricate all control cables.
    • Block the frame up to raise the wheels off the ground.
    • Tie a plastic bag over the exhaust pipe outlet to prevent moisture from entering.
    • If the machine is to be stored in a humid or salt-air environment, coat all exposed metal surfaces with a film of light oil. Do not apply oil to rubber parts or the seat cover.
  • Additional Off-Road Motorcycle Long-Term Storage Tips

    This information is can be applied to all models of off-road and competition machines:

    1. Before storing the machine, disassemble and grease the steering headset swing arm pivot and all suspension linkages.
    2. Change the engine/transmission oil and install a new oil filter on 4-stroke models.
    3. Spray the entire machine (except the brake disks) with Yamaha Silicone Spray (Part Number ACC-11000-74-00), or a WD40 type lubricant.
    4. Inflate the tires to 20psi each (remember to adjust the pressures when the unit goes back into service).
    5. Storage periods are a good opportunity to service (change fork oil, change shock oil and nitrogen recharge) competition machines.
    6. Store 4-stroke models with the piston on the compression stroke to take the load off the valve springs.
  • Motorcycle Cleaning Tips

    Before washing the machine, block off the end of the exhaust pipe to prevent water from entering. A plastic bag secured with a rubber band may be used for this purpose.

    If the engine is excessively greasy, apply some degreaser to it with a paintbrush. Do not apply degreaser to the chain, sprockets, or wheel axles.

    Rinse the dirt and degreaser off with a garden hose; only use enough pressure to do the job.*

    After the majority of the dirt and degreaser have been hosed off, wash all surfaces with warm water and a mild detergent. Use an old toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach places.

    Rinse the machine off immediately with clean water, and dry all surfaces with a soft towel or cloth.

    Immediately after washing, remove excess water from the chain with a paper towel and lubricate the chain to prevent rust.

    Clean the seat with vinyl upholstery cleaner to keep the cover pliable and glossy.

    Automotive wax may be applied to all painted or chromed surfaces. Avoid combination cleaner-waxes, as they may contain abrasives. - Do not apply polish to matt finish surfaces.After completing the above, start the engine and allow it to idle for several minutes.

    *Note: Excessive hose pressure may cause water seepage and contamination of wheel bearings, front forks, brakes and transmission seals. Many expensive repair bills have resulted from improper high-pressure detergent applications such as those available in coin-operated car wash facilities