Dirt Bike Maintenance Guide
The age old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” stands true even today. It is especially true in the case of dirt bikes because they require maintenance and repair work to stay in their top form. Not only can a routine dirt bike checkup prevent a catastrophic mechanical failure, but may also prevent damages from accidents and injuries. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gotten yourself a brand new or a used ride; you’re just gonna have to take good care of it.
Luckily, taking care of your wheels is not as complicated as some may have led you to believe and can be done right at home. Sure, a trip to the mechanic is undoubtedly the safer choice, but you can get a lot done with the right tools and set of skills.
This guide, we will talk about everything related to maintenance of your bike so that you always step in with confidence. So, keep on reading below! For helpful illustrations visit GrindTV.
Tips For Cleaning Your Dirt Bike
The first step to proper maintenance begins with having a clean bike. The bike that is by mud, sand, dirt and all other types of animal feces will undoubtedly cause premature corrosion in many places. This will lead to breakage of the sprockets, chains, axel joints, suspension parts, seals and lever cables, etc. So clean up all that junk ASAP!
Begin by using a spray to get the thick layer off. Avoid being too close to the edges of the graphics as the force might peel them off. Also, remember to plug the exhaust to prevent water from damaging the muffler.
Spray some high-quality truck wash and give it some time to soak. Use a sponge to wipe off the spray so that it doesn’t cause stains and make use of a brush to scrub out each corner of your bike.
Using a hose, clean your dirt bike from top to bottom while being careful around the radiator. We advise that you backwash the fins at a lesser force of spray. Otherwise, you may end up damaging them. Avoid putting direct pressure around the swing arm linkages, steering hub, and the seals and axles.
It's good practice to remove the magneto cover after 4-5 rides or so depending on how much waste it has accumulated. Just spray inside with a water dispersant in order to prevent corrosion. You may also need to spray the electrical components and replace the gasket if there is any tearing.
With a stiffer brush, run across the bike chain but be careful on the X and O ring chains as it may damage the rubber inside. Scrub off all the fine dirt out of the links to keep it clean and possibly even extend the life of the components. Also, don’t forget to lube up the chain before setting out for the next ride.
To make your bike look even prettier, consider giving it a light spray of silicone. This will not only make the dirt bike look more attractive but also protected from natural elements. However, avoid displaying around the seat cover and the radiator shrouds as it may lead to many inconveniences.
Good maintenance of dirt bikes is a lot about prevention. If you make it a habit to clean your bike frequently, you’ll also get to check for loose nuts and bolts, plastics, spokes, etc. Besides, your precious ride will be ready to perform at the top of its game.
Maintenance Throughout The Year
Now that we’ve got cleaning out of the way, it’s time to focus on other maintenance tips to keep your precious bike in top shape. These easy maintenance tips will not only extend the life of your dirt bike but also keep it clean enough to impress others. So, let’s get right into it.
Give Your Bike An Overall Wash After Every Ride
This is not tough to do at all because all you need is a bucket of water and a choice of brushes to remove mud. You can either pour the bucket of water or use a pressure washer to deflect the water away. Also, don’t force water and dirt into places where it can cause electrical damage. You may use an airbox cover to seal off the carburetor before cleaning.
Don’t Forget To Try
If you have to head out for a ride immediately, make sure that the bike is clean and dry. Otherwise, use a leaf blower or a dryer to fasten the drying process.
Check The Chain Tension
The chain of your dirt bike should never be tight! There should be some amount of slack that will compensate for suspension movement. However, it should not be too loose as well to the point where the chain can be removed from the rear sprocket. Regardless of the condition of your bike’s suspension, 1/2 inch of chain free play is ideal when the swing arm runs parallel to the ground.
Check For Leaks
Never go out on a ride without inspecting for leaks as the consequences can be deadly. Check for oil spills on the ground as well as drops of brake fluid and coolant. Be sure to check underneath the motor as well to be completely safe.
Check The Control Cables Properly
Inspect the throttle and clutch cables of your bike and replace them if you find the signs of damage or fraying. Next, check for the throttle control to see if there is enough of free play. You can check the free play is lead by placing your dirt bike on a work stand, starting it up and letting it idle. Then, you must rotate the handlebars to their full range and listen to any increase in RPM.
If you notice any increase, add some free play to the throttle cable to make it just right. Also, test the throttle to see if it’s operating responsibly.
Check The Tire Pressure In Between Each Ride
To check for tire pressure, use a pressure gauge to set the right amount of pressure based on trading conditions. Our recommendation would be 8 psi for front tires and 6 psi for rear tires when the terrain condition is muddy. In the case of dry terrain, 14 psi in front and 12 psi at the back should suffice.
Inspect And Clean The Air Filter
It is necessary to maintain a clean air filter at all times to not only protect the engine from damages but also to improve your bike’s performance. You can clean the air filter by either using a spray-on or a combination of household cleaner or water. Once the filter has dried, use high-quality air filter oil to make a layer of coating.
Change The Oil
If you spend riding in dirt or mud most of the time, you’d have to change your motor oil much more frequently than those who don’t. While some people are of the opinion that all should be changed after every ride, some say changing all should be okay every 8 to 10 operating hours. It’s a good idea to go by the manufacturer’s advice as well as to change oil frequently to maintain engine health.
Check For Fluids
It’s important to replace brake fluid periodically because it inherently absorbs moisture. Most manufacturers recommend DOT-4 brake fluid, which is alcohol-based and made especially for dirt bikes. Also, check for the level of coolant and top it off if necessary. Changing the cooling system once every year can be a great way to maintain the overall bike health.
Grease not only seems out water and dirt but provides lubrication for essential components. Inspect the ceiling area of your air filter, wheel bearing, and seals, swing arm, and hardware, steering head bearings, and use a petroleum-based grease to keep them working smooth.
Winterizing Your Dirt Bike
Since most people prefer to store away their dirt bikes in the winter season, making sure that the motorcycle is properly protected is very essential. To make sure that your bike is ready to rumble as soon as the snow starts to melt, consider following the advice mentioned below.
Remove old oil before putting away the dirt bike or else the contaminants may corrode certain parts and cause serious damage.
Drain the fuel lines, tank, and carburetor bowl if your bike has a carburetor to prevent blocking of the Jets that may affect the motorcycle’s performance and efficiency.
Start up the bike for a few minutes each week to prevent the fuel from what is known as sleeping.
Check your bike’s tires and preferably store it with the tires off the ground to prevent putting the entire weight of the bike on the wheels.
Clean, dry, and wax your dirt bike before storing it for the winter.
If your bike is battery powered, make sure to charge it up every once in awhile to prevent it from sleeping.
See, now this doesn’t sound hard, does it? In fact, taking care of your dirt bike doesn’t have to be hard at all because you can do it at home and with very basic tools. Now that you know how to keep your bike prepared for all occasions, what’s your excuse to not start doing it right now?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.