There are many benefits to owning a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. For one, it’s a less expensive investment than a traditional car and other large vehicles. On the road, there is greater mobility and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze. While a Harley-Davidson motorcycle doesn’t come with some of the hassles of larger vehicles, it still requires routine maintenance like every motor vehicle.
Taking care of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle entails paying attention to any small or big changes experienced when taking it out for a ride. This means not ignoring smaller issues and waiting for them to escalate into bigger, potentially life-threatening problems. While much of a Harley-Davidson’s routine maintenance can be done at home. Other aspects should be professionally serviced by an experienced mechanic on a regular basis. When keeping a Harley-Davidson in top shape, these are the things to check for during routine maintenance:
Oil & Filter Changes
Like any other motor vehicle, Harley-Davidson motorcycles require routine oil and filter changes. This is essential for keeping the engine in excellent condition and running smoothly on the road. Not only do you not want parts to grind, but you also want to avoid carbon buildup by keeping the oil clean. Of course, how often you should change your Harley-Davidson’s oil and filter depends on the type of oil you use. For mineral-based oils, an oil and filter change is recommended twice a year or every 2000 miles if the motorcycle is on the road often. For Harley-Davidson motorcycles that use synthetic oils like AMSOIL, the oil and filter can be changed every 5000 miles.
Brake System Inspection
Just as important as an oil and filter change is a brake system inspection to ensure the safe operation of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on the road. This means ensuring the brakes are well padded and not too worn down to grinding and creating a safety hazard. This also means checking the discs and oil lines and any squealing noises that need to be addressed. A brake system inspection also entails checking the fluid reservoirs so they are adequately filled and won’t cause life-threatening problems. The last thing you want is for your brakes to fail you in the middle of a ride and get into a collision that can result in life-threatening injuries.
Tire Pressure & Condition
Additionally to a brake system inspection, it’s equally important to check the condition of the tires and ensure they have the recommended pressure. Look for any wearing and tearing of the tire’s treads and ensuring there is enough depth to avoid friction problems on the road. Other things to look for that can impact the tires’ functionality include. Cracks, uneven wear, and embedded sharp objects that can create holes in the tires and result in air leakage.
To ensure the tire pressure is at the recommended psi levels, you’ll need to refer to your owner’s manual and check the pressure using a tire-pressure gauge. If the psi levels are too high, this risks faster wear and tear of the tires, and at worse, can cause the tires to blow out. If the psi levels are too low, this causes the sidewalls to bend more and can cause the tires’ rubber to overheat and detach from its structure. In the worst-case scenario, a low psi can also cause tire blowout. Like bad brakes, poor-quality tires are also a safety hazard that can increase the likelihood of collision and/or serious injuries.
Perform routine maintenance on your own, it’s also a good idea to have your Harley-Davidson inspected professionally for good measure. While a professional mechanic will still perform the usual routine checks (tires, brakes, oil and filter), they will also provide additional services, such as:
- Air filter inspection and replacement
- Exhaust system inspection to repair any leaks
- Spark plug inspection and replacement as needed
- Transmission fluid replacement
- Primary chain inspection, adjustment, cleaning, and lubrication
- Clutch and throttle inspection, adjustment, and lubrication
- Rear-drive belt inspection and adjustment as needed
- Fuel valve, lines, and fittings inspection
- Air Suspension inspection
- Jiffy stand lubrication and tightening fasteners
Have a professional inspection and service should be done routinely to ensure your Harley-Davidson stays in top shape. The first inspection of a brand new Harley-Davidson should take place when the motorcycle reaches 1000 miles. After that, inspection should take place every 2000 to 5000 miles depending on the type of oil used. If any problems are experienced prior to the next expected inspection. Service immediately to diagnose and treat the problem early and prevent worse problems from unfolding further down the road.