Harley-Davidson® of Dallas
304 Central Expressway South, Allen, Texas 75013

214.495.0259
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Motorcycle Maintenance You Can Totally DIY

July 19, 2019

Motorcycle Maintenance You Can Totally DIY

DIY Motorcycle Maintenance for Harley®

Some jobs take an expert. At Harley-Davidson® of Dallas in Allen Texas, we have some of the best in the area. But the nice thing about your Harley® is that many of the components that require DIY motorcycle maintenance are out in the open. It's not like a four-wheeled vehicle where you have to disassemble half of it to perform basic maintenance tasks. 

If you don't have the time or the inclination to mess with it, we're always happy to help. However, if you have basic tools and basic background knowledge, here are a few ways you can save with DIY motorcycle maintenance for Harley®.

DIY Motorcycle Oil Changes

It's going to take getting your hands dirty, but you can save some cash if you handle motorcycle oil changes yourself. Your bike needs an oil change every few thousand miles. Aim to get it done around 3,700 miles, and if it's not something you can get to, don't put it off. It's worth the cost of having it done to ensure your bike stays running the way it did when you first brought it home.

You'll like the first step of a DIY oil change, because it involves going for a ride. Get your engine warm before you change your oil. then, follow the process for your specific bike. You'll need a filter wrench, engine oil and a filter to complete the process. 

Chain Check and Adjustment

Protect your rear suspension and transmission by keeping your motorcycle chain adjusted to the recommended torque. Check your manual to find out what that is. Check, lubricate and adjust your chain about every 500 miles. Again, you want to perform this DIY motorcycle maintenance when your bike is warm, so take it for a ride first.

Then, round up the following:

  • Wrenches
  • An o-ring compatible chain cleaner
  • A new cotter pin if you're adjusting chain tension
  • Rags
  • A soft bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Optional: a rubber mallet, rear-wheel stand and tape measure

Inspect your motorcycle chain and sprockets. Clean with an o-ring approved cleaning agent by spraying the chain and sprockets or applying with your soft brush. Use the rags to wipe off any excess and roll the rear wheel to distribute. Lubricate your chain, then adjust tension if necessary. The, evenly tighten your rear axle, making sure both sides are aligned. If you adjusted chain tension, replace the old cotter pin with a new one. 

Maintain Tire Pressure

When was the last time you checked? This is one thing that's easy for anyone to do, but the truth is, most of us don't do it often enough. So get a tire pressure gauge and take care of this one today.

We have the best motorcycle tire prices in the state, but no tires for Harley-Davidson® are cheap. When you check regularly, you catch little problems before they become big ones, make your tires last longer and improve your chances of staying safe when you ride.

When tire pressure is off, your tires don't offer a predictable grip. Over-inflated tires have less surface area to make contact, and under-inflated tires feel squishy. They also wear out faster. 

Consult your bike manual for the correct pressure and check when tires are cold. While you're making adjustments, check the overall tire condition and make sure you have adequate tread depth. 

Battery Maintenance

If you have safety gloves, protective goggles and a trickle charger you can take steps to prolong your motorcycle battery life. Battery life depends on a range of factors, but if you take care of it, your bike battery could give you five years or more of service. The thing to remember is, on many bikes the battery doesn't stay off just because your bike isn't running. It's continually sending miniscule amounts of power to your anti-theft system and other components.

New H-D® bikes come with an Advanced Glass Mat (AGM) battery specifically engineered for Harley®. They never need added electrolytes and never leak. However, if that's not what you have battery maintenance involves checking your electrolyte level and making sure it matches what your manual recommends. 

While you're performing battery maintenance, check clamps, cables and the battery case for damage, rust and loose connections. Buy a trickle charger and make sure to charge your bike battery fully at least once a month. If you have to store your battery, place it on a non-conductive surface (not metal or concrete) or the charge will slowly trickle out over time. If you store your battery during winter, keep your battery in an environment that stays well above freezing.

Check/Replace Your Air Filter

This one doesn't require extensive mechanical background knowledge, but it's time consuming, so it may not be a DIY motorcycle maintenance task you want to tackle, which is why we're putting it at the bottom of the list. The thing is, it's important to performance. Your air filter traps dirt, dust and debris to keep it out of your engine. Your engine needs air for combustion. If you ride around with a dirty air filter, your bike won't run right and your engine has to work harder than necessary.

For a small handful of bikes, the air filter is easy to access. For others, you have to take off the seat, gas tank and other components to get to the air box. Once you disconnect everything, it's a pretty simple swap, and you just put your bike back together again. If you have to take your bike apart and this is a task you're comfortable doing, make sure your petcock is off first and label wires and hoses as you disconnect them. Then you won't be scratching your head trying to remember what goes where later on.

Harley® Motorcycle Maintenance Made Simple

DIY motorcycle maintenance isn't for everyone. For some people, it's not about saving money. They feel more connected to their bike when they take care of maintenance themselves. For others, they'd rather be riding their Harley® than wrenching on it. To each his (or her) own, this is about living the life you dream.

If you have questions about DIY motorcycle maintenance, we have staff on hand fully qualified to answer them. If you want us to just make it happen, we offer competitive pricing on all service and maintenance. Book your motorcycle maintenance online today.