10 Things to keep in mind while getting your bike serviced
It is that time of the month when your bike is in desperate need of pampering and you need to take it for a nice spa session in the service station. But not all spas give massages and some turn out to be brothels instead, and really bad ones at that. The same applies to the service stations. The rich have taken up franchisees and opened a showroom/service station but for them, you are just another customer and it is just another bike. However, we know what it means to you so here are some tips to stay in control.
1. Spark plug conditions
Big things come in small packages. The spark plug is one such thing in your motorcycle. Don’t go by the size of this champ. It is responsible for all the combustions inside the engine and hence provides life to your motorcycle. While getting your bike serviced you should always check spark plug (s). Do check if it has some life left, clean it and put it back. If not get it replaced with a new one. You can also upgrade your spark plugs with platinum-iridium ones as they have much better performance and generate more sparks than the regular ones.
2. Carburetor or throttle body cleaning
Carburetor and throttle body are almost the same things. They take commands from the throttle and send a precise air-fuel mixture to engine through intake valve. The basic difference between them is carburetor is mechanical unit and throttle body or fuel injector on the other hand is a fully electrical setup. The impurities in the fuel can make them dirty hence you should get the carb or injector(s) cleaned at every third or fourth service. It does not get dirty too often so you can politely refuse when the service station guy acts all smarty pants trying to make your bill bigger.
3. Engine oil level
Check the company’s recommended oil capacity for your bike and get it filled strictly according to it. Oil above or below the recommended quantity can cause many problems. For eg, some bikes have a capacity of 1.1litres of oil, but mechanics put 1litre straight so as to save money of another litre oil for just 100ml. In situations like these, you can save your bike by carrying an extra can with you. Just use this to top up after what the mechanic has added to your bike.
Also replace the engine oil after the time recommended by the company, even if it hasn’t clocked the desired kilometers, as oil kept for a long time also loses its viscosity.
4. New oil/air filters should be used.
More often than not, people end up being penny wise pound foolish. One example of this is when they try to save money by not replacing the oil/air filter. You should be replacing your oil filter and air filter on each and every service. Although the air filter looks fine, don’t just clean it replace it. As most of the paper air filters are one time use product, you can’t clean them. The story is different with high-end aftermarket filters. The can be cleaned by special cleaners.
5. Chain cleaning and lubrication
In a bid to deliver more bikes in lesser time, the service center people apply the chain cleaner, brush the chain and apply the lube simultaneously. All of this is done under less than five minutes.
Rather we suggest you to clean the chain and leave it for almost half an hour for so that the dirt can drip off and let the chain dry. After this, apply the chain lube and let it set for another five minutes. That’s the perfect way of doing it.
Also be very cautious while working with the chain. Either turn off the engine or use a chain cleaning brush or you’ll be left with more count and lesser fingers.
6. Authenticity of products
The products to be used for your bike should be genuine weather be it engine oil, filters or cables etc. In India there is a huge market of copy and local cheap quality products. Always buy stuff from authentic traders or from the company itself.
Also no matter how good condition is of the old spare part always get a new one for your bike.
Else you may end up as Sasta roye baar-baar, mehenga roye eik baar. (The miser suffers often while the wiser suffers only once)
7. Warranty extensions
This could be a very helpful thing for some but not for all. You have to pay a hefty amount just for extension of warranty. Though the price will not be more than any big damage but the warranty comes with so many terms and conditions. Some of them are really very hard to maintain. It due to some reasons you have to delay the service of your bike even for just one day, all your invested money is wasted as the warranty voids by it.
8. Switches, lights checkup, reinstalling all opened terminals, circuits etc.
Even the switches of your bike needs lubrication. The internal components of switches are made up of metal which gets corroded after some time. To prevent it you can spay WD40 on the internal side of switches just after every wash. The water can lead to more rust to the metal components.
Check out all the lights including headlights, tail light, turn signals etc. and other electrical components like horn as if they are working properly or not. If something is not good, you can get it repaired or replaced at the workshop at that time only. Else you have to give them another visit after detecting the issue later.
Also check whether the opened circuits or terminals were put back together tightly so that it won’t disturb you. As the hanging of wires look ugly and is dangerous as well.
9. Check for any leakage
Sometimes you can find some leakages at some parts of the engine. It could be due to the broken or damaged seals or packing. Some leakages could be due to loose nuts. At every service, the oil drain nut has to be opened and put back again. It should be tightened very carefully as it can cause leakage. Most commonly the leakage happens through oil drain nut only.
10. Carburetor tuning
While working on cleaning of the carburetors, the carburetor is removed and hence it needs a re-tune. If not done properly it can edit the ratio of fuel and air in air-fuel mixture needed for combustion in the engine. The Electric Fuel Injectors (EFI) on the other hand does not need any tuning. You need to get your carburetors retuned so that your bike can perform well, else it could lead to a rapid drop in performance as well as mileage. Your bike may feel your bike is behaving like something serious is wrong with it.