In the automobile segment, there is a huge need for proper education, which dealers never provide. By education, we mean the knowledge on proper maintenance and operational habits, care of the machine and so on, this is because of the fact that they are more oriented towards achieving a particular sales target and in the process forget about providing the new owner with useful information. Its actually rare to find someone who has been educated at the time of purchase about various aspects of the vehicle he is purchasing.

There was a time when 2 stroke engines ruled the roads and if you had a plan to buy a machine back then, the dealer would have said a lot about the machine even before you actually bought it, But they frequently missed out on informing the new buyer, after he has purchased the vehicle, about the grade of oil to be used in the engine. This reportedly caused a number or engine seizures as the owner simply did not have knowledge and caution on the type of oil to use.

All vehicles, be it big or small, need great care for extended service life and reliability, you would know that not everyone around is directly or indirectly related to the automobile arena so hence a lot of them would just simply follow the principle of ‘fill it, shut it, forget it’.

Each machine has a lot of moving parts and the reality is that most of them depend on each other for proper functioning, if one of them were to fail, then the resulting event would be like a chain reaction which would lead to failures of different kinds. There are spares which can and cannot be serviced and maintained by the average person, some of the spares which can be maintained also happen to be crucial components, they, can also be taken care of quite easily simply with a little spare time and a few basic tools at most.

So how can I maintain the bike myself, you might wonder? Well, here is a list of things which can you can take care of.

  • Main chain and sprocket
  • Battery pack
  • Greasing of joints
  • Adjustment of Brakes
  • Washing
  • Adjustment of Control levers
  • Adjustment of Hinges (if any).

The above is applicable for almost all kinds of two wheelers. So, come on let’s begin with the DIY…

Main Chain & Sprocket

This is a really important part of the bike, and as you might know, the bike won’t move at all if it’s in bad condition. During the monsoons, bike that have an open chain and sprocket against a covered one would need regular oiling, but at the same time, oiling for a closed chain and sprocket can be done just once in two weeks or something. The conventional way for lubricating chains was by using molten grease. This procedure was quite lengthy and used to take almost 12 hours to complete the job. But now you get special sprays for lubricating the chain system.

Along with the sprays, engineers would also advice on greasing the chain. But an open chain system requires either grease or spray due to the fact that grease or oil is a real magnet for dust and dirt; you might realize this when you look at a well greased chain after a week or so of riding. The usual interval for greasing the chain varies depending on the weather and the riding conditions. It’s usually recommended to grease it once in one or two weeks.

For people who can’t seem to find sprays, or prefer another way of doing it, follow the directions below. There are two methods that I’m explaining here:

1st method: Remove the chain from the machine; Dip it in clean diesel for at least 5-6 hrs. Then use the brush (plastic type bristles) for cleaning the mud out of it, and then re-wash it in clean diesel. If possible, hand it for about 2-3 hours to allow the diesel to drip out of the chain. This process would make the joints and the links on the chain free and smooth, the next step would be to dip the chain in EP90 oil or in 20W40 engine oil. There is no need to buy expensive or branded oils for it. You can buy oil which could be affordable, because the ultimate aim is to clean and lubricate the chain links in order to keep it from rusting, coming back to where we left off, after dipping it in the oil keep it that way for 4-5 hrs. And then allow it to hand in order for the oil to drip away, after you have done all of the above, simply install the chain back onto the machine.

2nd method: This is a more common method used for chain cleaning. Follow the same steps as above until the part where you allow the diesel to drip off from the chain, after that, take about half a kilogram of AP3 grease and heat it up so that it turns into a molten liquid. After its liquid enough, pour the same onto the chain and wait till the grease turns solid. After making sure that the grease is cold, remove the chain from the drive system and remove all the extra grease by wiping with the help of a soft cloth. This would make the chain ready to use again and so you can install it back on to the machine.

Battery

This happens to be an essential spare in a two wheeler. On our Indian roads, the horn and warning lights are an important element, these systems require the battery for functioning.

A battery is made up of lead, which is dipped in acid water. Acid water also means electrolyte, this means that the battery acid can actually damage the paint job and cause corrosion to other parts as well, so when you handle a battery, make sure you do so with care. Also, one common problem that batteries face is the oxidation or terminals. Each battery has a positive(+) and negative (-) terminal and overtime, the reactions in the battery cause these terminals to oxidize and that in turn reduces the voltage it can deliver.

So, how this can be avoided? Well in the market there are special sprays available for battery terminals. ‘Battery Coat’ is the best spray in my opinion and this can be sprayed on the terminals to remove or avoid oxidation. The spray avoids the terminals from direct contact to the air. If the spray is not readily, available then the best and the most conventional way to solve this problem is by using VASELINE petroleum jelly. By applying some amount of petroleum jelly the oxidation will not take place. The main drawback of this jelly is that it has a low melting point and during summer seasons, you might find that you need to do it a little often.

Greasing Points

Control levers, brake springs, brake pedals are some of the common points where its advisable to apply grease. Different climates also dictates the use of different types of lubrication. When it rains, it would be unadvisable to use oil for lubrication as it would get washed away easily. Grease would be the best for the monsoon. In summer as we know the temperature is high and its usually always dry. Generally air flows with dust particles. So in summer using oil is the best option for some of the spares. In rains, generally, the temperature becomes very low. At this time greasing would be the best option rather than oiling. Grease attracts dust very fast and could create resistance in moving parts.

Brake Adjustment

This process is very simple and can save you a lot more than money. Every vehicle would have its own basic tool kit. Generally all motorcycles, scooters have 13mm nut size for adjusting the rear brakes. A suitable tool for this bolt would be in the tool kit. There needs to be a little caution applied when tightening the brakes as a tight setting can jam the brakes and cause a lot of problems like engine and brake overheating and also low mileage, at the same time a loose brake setting can slow your reaction time down. So adjust it as required.

Washing

One of my friends used to wash his Bullet for at least 6-7 hours. Well yes 6-7 hours, wondering why? Passion. He used to wash with brush, diesel, cleaning soap etc.

Many washing centers simply use a soap mixture and a dirty towel (which can really scratch your paint job). They would just do it for the money. You, on the other hand, know your vehicle well and so it would be easy for you to clean it, here are a few tips that can help you. Oil stains can be removed easily by using solvents like diesel or kerosene. First spray some water on the machine and then use diesel or kerosene. Then spray water for cleaning it. If you own a new machine, you can keep its paint looking like that everytime by following some simple steps. Use a soft, clean towel and try to wash the mud (on the painted parts) out rather than scrape it off. Also, as much as possible, use a Ph neutral shampoo. Look on the label before purchasing it. After washing don’t forget to oil or grease the joints or parts as told above. Avoid greasing or oil before wash as it may become useless.

Control Levers

These levers are made up of some kind of alloys. But since it is a moving part that a rider would use frequently, make sure you grease the joints well.

Hinges

These are usually found on Royal Enfield Bullets and Honda scooters. These hinges always require oil and rust cleaner spray to keep rust away and they can break loose if not well maintained.

I have explained how you can easily maintain your bike rather than spend money by sending it to the workshop. No dealer would keep reminding the rider to service the bike all the time. These are factors which the riders would need to keep track of in order for the machine to be in service flawlessly for a long time and always remember, respect the machine, the machine respects you.

– Chinmay Dangre

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  • Excellent writeup !

    Bring more technical stuffs like these.

  • Pulkit

    DIYs !! I love them … They are the best things to learn if you love your bike …

  • Another awesome DIY. Its best to service your bike, thats a superb way of spending sundays, if your unmarried that is!!

  • Anand

    Great article…. It would be useful to all if you shed more light on how remove the chain from the bike….

  • Max

    I have a unicorn-ES (2006 sept) with 28k km on the odo.
    With the terrible service from honda dealer, I am left with a fluttering and woobly motorcycle. No brakes.. The fuel consumption is below 43kmpl. how can the oil filter be changed??

    • harsh

      hey i hav cbz extreme …few days past im hearing the sound as if the main chain is rubbing to some part or the chain guard pleeez tell me hw to fix it and wat r more tips dat i can use it fr my bike????

  • manoj kumar

    Hi I have a TVS RTR 160.
    Whenever i tend to accelerate the throttle without changing the gear from 5th to 3rd or so, it makes a hitting sound.

    Kindly tell me what kind of sound is this? How can i correct it and is it serious?

    It gives me a mileage of 42 , is it fine or it should be arround 50? I drive it at a uniform speed of 45-55.
    Please guide me. THANKS
    BYE!

  • Aditya

    hey i wanan some help regarding the battery info, if u cam pls clear my doubt.

    23 dec 09 i purchased a new exide battery for my p150 2005, since my stock battery got weak. After 10 days of purchase my self starting was not improper as if d new battery not ok, i thought it need charging but my bike was running normal kms so i guess as far as my riding battery shud get charge properly if it needed.
    So i went to d exide dealer he send my battery to d company to check whethers its faulty or not, an today 6th feb 10, i got it back, an d company pple examined it saying battery is ok wid no faults.
    So now they hav also charged it properly will all cell charge level stated in d examined papers report of d company, so now my bike is taking proper self an it feels d battery is working properly, but i need to obeserve after 10 days does again my self starting goes of or not. if it happens then may b there is probs in bike relay or charger i guess so may b some wiring.
    I wanna ask u that in d report papers they hav written d observation reading abt gravity of my battery , so hey hav stated that CELL1 & CELL2 NIL Gravity, an gravity for other cells is around 1240.
    So wats d meaning of NIL gravity in those 2 cells, does it means it not normal ?? giv me some idea, will that affect my batteries life ?? or is it normal ??

    an when my bike was not taking self start that time i use to get sound frm d relay which is located below d seat, so if d battery problem occurs again an if d battery is proper then do i need to change d relay ??? if not then wat might b d problem ??

  • Andy

    Hi I have a TVS RTR 160.
    Whenever i tend to accelerate the throttle without changing the gear from 5th to 3rd or so, it makes a hitting sound.

    Kindly tell me what kind of sound is this? How can i correct it and is it serious?

    It gives me a mileage of 42 , is it fine or it should be arround 50? I drive it at a uniform speed of 45-55.
    Please guide me. THANKS
    BYE!

    Hi, i too had a similar problem in my bike and the source of the sound is from your Rear wheel’s sprocket rubber. It will cost you around 200Rs max to replace it. The sound will be gone.

    Take Care,
    Andy

  • Santhosh

    @andy, its called as engine Knocking sound…. its common in TVS RTR. For more details http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_knocking

  • Kola.Shiva Rama Krishna

    Nice & well……..Tips are really usefull….

  • Naveen

    Good Work!!

  • sandy

    hi i have a bike p150 purchased 7 days back it is doing ok but suddenly my self
    starting is not working i started the engine with kicker. Now what to do
    is it because of the battery or other things. All lights and horn doing ok.
    pl advice

  • vijay kp

    Great info!!! please add some pictures for more clarity…

  • sonny imperial

    Great advice…needs more articles on caring ones bike..thanks..

  • Shankha

    Have a simple query. Can car-shampoos available readily in the market be used for bikes too?

  • SUNIL THAKUR

    nice tips.but i cant believe it that i can do it indivisual or not…………

  • Krishna

    Really, its very informative. Thank u – Chinmay.

  • arvind swadhin

    thanx bro..i really liked the way u hav described the ways to mantain a bike.i read this article and now i m maintaining my bike as u told.i own a cbz xtreme 2010 version.i love my bike and i take care of it. after checking n cleaning all the parts my bike is giving a mileage of 60kpl and a top speed of 125 km/hr..thanx again bro..keep it up..all the best n gud luck..

  • suresh

    wel its really use ful and from today i am starting out door service for general care as you have guided thanks a lot

  • sir I use the hero passion pro 2012 model bike. there is a problem in the speedometer, it is not showing the speed of the bike when it is running i changed cable wire but after changing the cable wire again the problem is repeating. the mechanic told change the speedometer. whats the solution for it . plz tel me

  • shivaraj

    Hi, I have Hero Honda splendour there is problem in the accelerator i.e. there is a sudden rise in the speed. Two time I changed the accelerator cable even though the problem is not solved. So please help me