You’ve bought your brand-new motorcycle and you’re really happy with how she works. After all she’s brand new, and after the initial run-in period the engine should be at its peak performance.
After all the attention and care of the first few days or even months, you’ll probably start to overlook some key maintenance points about the engine. You hop onto the bike, turn the key and off you go to your destination.
But there are things you really need to look after to make sure your engine continues to perform at its highest.
So, we’ve put together 5 ways for you to help protect the engine. Nothing too difficult, just simple things that will make your bike’s engine last longer and probably will save you some money over time.
1 – Visually check your bike chain / belt
This is at the top of the list of things to do before you go out and ride your bike. The engine transmits its power to the back wheel through the chain or in other cases through a belt. This key element in your bike suffers a lot because of this.
A chain that’s too loose or too tight will cause a lot of noise, wear out the sprocket and the chain itself, cause extra tension in the transmission system and also may inhibit the rear suspension action. Not to mention how the engine performs, because it will create power loss and affect gear changes.
A belt also suffers from some of these problems, and because of the material it’s made, it will wear out in time, and sometimes cracks will start to appear on the surface. In worst case scenario, they may even brake!
So, make sure you verify the deterioration of chain links and adjust your chain or belt slack to match the manufacturer specifications. In the motorcycle instructions manual you’ll find an explanation on what you need to do to correct any problem, and for the chain or belt slack, motorcycle manufacturers put a sticker on your bike, usually on the swingarm, with the maximum slack allowed.
Do this at least twice a month, and you should avoid any problems.
2 – Be sure to use the recommended octane of fuel by the manufacturer
The octane rating is a measure that allows us to know the resistance of a fuel to premature detonation during combustion. You should always use the octane rating required by the manufacturer of your motorcycle, and you can find this information on a sticker on the fuel tank, but also on the instructions manual.
If you use a fuel that has lower octane rating than the one your engine is supposed to work with, the engine will run poorly and in time the “knocking” effect (pre-detonation) will surely cause excessive damage to engine internals and also to the emissions control system. If you use a fuel that has a higher-octane rating, the engine won’t suffer any problem, and you may even see a slight increase in engine performance.
Petrol stations like the ones from Shell give you better fuels that are developed to maximize engines performance and also protect it at the same time.
3 – Remember to replace your coolant every two-years
Engine coolant does more than just keep your engine running in extreme weather conditions. This liquid, a mixture of glycol and water that depending on the brand has different colors, helps to keep the engine running at an optimal temperature, prevents rust formation inside the engine and also prevents mineral deposits on engine parts.
The coolant circulates through your engine when the thermostat determines that the engine is getting hot and needs to be cooled down. The water pump then pulls coolant from the radiator, sends it into the engine block and then back out to the radiator to be cooled back down.
If by any chance you need to fill up the coolant reservoir, you can use plain water. But be aware that that’s just a last case scenario, an emergency, and if you use water, because it has a lower evaporation point than coolant, you’re going to be filling your radiator more often and subjecting parts to more frequent expansion and contraction, causing more wear. Over time you will also find a buildup of lime, sodium, or calcium deposits that are left behind as the water evaporates. Not good at all!
Check your engine coolant level often and make sure the coolant is above the minimum mark but below the maximum mark, and change it every two years or so. This depends on how and where you ride your bike: in extreme conditions you should change coolant more often. Also, look in your motorcycle instructions manual to see exactly which coolant to use.
4 – Inspect the condition of the spark plugs between 6000 to 12000 km
Spark plugs play a crucial role in the way your engine runs. Without them the engine wouldn’t start, or there wouldn’t be any ignition in the cylinder.
Spark plugs get electrical current from the distributor, and then create a spark that ignites the air / fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. They get a lot of use, so they don’t last so much without showing signs of wear.
It is easy to tell if you have a bad spark plug. If your engine sounds like it’s having trouble starting, the spark plugs are the first things you should check. When checking the spark plugs, look for any corrosion and heat wear on the electrodes. The electrodes are the bottom end of the spark plug.
Premium spark plugs make use of precious metals, like platinum or iridium, in place of the nickel alloy. They cost more but offer better performance with a higher melting point and so resist more to the heat generated inside the combustion chamber.
Always refer to your bike’s service manual to see when the manufacturer says that you need to change spark plugs. The mileage you do on your bike, and the way and conditions you ride her, have great influence on the mileage a spark plug can handle before it’s damaged.
5 – Change your engine oil
Engine oil keeps all internal parts of your engine well lubricated and prevents overheating, keeping it from seizing.
That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on the engine oil level, and also make sure that your engine gets a fresh dose of oil at the change interval specified by the manufacturer of your motorcycle. That interval will vary a lot, and while some engines require oil changes every 5000 or 6000 km, some of the newest engines only require an oil change at 10000 or even at 15000 km.
This oil change interval will also need to be adjusted according to how you ride your bike. For example, if you use your motorcycle often on track days, it’s better to change the oil even if you haven’t passed the oil change threshold.
Also worth mentioning that every time you change oil, also do the same to the oil filter. As the name says, it’s a filter, it grabs all the dirt that the oil moves inside the engine. Using the same oil filter will contaminate the fresh oil that you’ve put in the engine.
Whatever you do, make sure you change oil every year and respect the manufacturers specifications!
Shell Advance engine oils are developed to resist to higher temperatures, retaining horsepower, improving fuel economy, cleaning engine internals better and also lubricate every single part of the engine so that it runs in top shape.
For those motorcyclists that need to change oil on your bikes between the 1st of April and 31st of May, Shell is now running the Shell Advance Ducati Contest!
With the purchase of any Shell Advance 4T motor oil you can unlock the chance to win a Ducati Monster 797 bike or a pair of Oakley sunglasses.
What do you have to do to be in the chance to win these prizes?
Purchase any Shell Advance 4T motor oils where purchase value is at least RM25 in a single receipt (before GST), snap a photo of the original receipt, answer the following true or false question: “Shell Advance and Ducati are global partners?”, and then submit your details – Name, IC No, Answer, Receipt, Mobile No. and WhatsApp to 018-3791326 or Email to [email protected] .
Shell also gives you the opportunity to have a better chance to win the prizes!
If you buy Shell Advance Ultra / Ultra Scooter 4T (1L) you receive 5 entries, Shell Advance AX7/ AX7 Scooter 4T (1L) gives you 3 entries, while the Shell Advance AX5/ AX5 Scooter 4T (1L/0.8L), Shell Advance AX3 4T (1L) and Shell Advance Gear Oil (0.12L) gives you 1 entries each.
There’s two Oakley sunglasses up for grabs, and the grand prize is that sweet Ducati Monster 797. The list of weekly winners will be announced in Facebook and Shell Malaysia website.
Buy now your Shell Advance motorcycle engine oil at Shell Official Store .