If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you’ll know that it isn’t likecollecting stamps or fishing. This isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion, sometimes even an obsession.The potency of this relationship between biker and motorcycle does have one drawback though. A lot of times, a rider tries to upgrade, repair, and service his bike on his own. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, learning how your bike works is important, and that first lubed chain, or clean air-filter is like a rite of passage. The problem is that amateurs who aren’t as familiar with a bike’s upkeep tend to cause damage rather than improving the bike a lot of times, sometimes permanent damage.
8 common mistakes untrained bike mechanics make
- Quick disassembly. In their eagerness to get to the root of the problem, rookie mechanics often power through the parts where they have to take components off the bike. Instead of taking it slowly, understand where everything goes, and storing the nuts, bolts and parts carefully.When they decide to put the bike back together, parts and fasteners go missing, causing unnecessary delays.
- Cutting corners. Home mechanics, after they have gained a little confidence often tend to look for quicker ways out. This becomes an issue because there’s a very good reason for long winded processes to be included in repair instructions, and if not followed to the tee can make things a whole lot worse rather than improving the bike’s performance.
- Adding incompatible parts. Sometimes, when a part goes bust, it’s easy enough to replace and can be done out of the garage. When the novice home mechanic decides to experiment with a higher grade part because “its better.” Take engine oil for example. If the manual specifies the use of conventional oil, using synthetic oil, regardless of its benefits is not a good idea. If anengine is incompatible with synthetic oil, its performance can suffer immensely.
- Replace rather than repair. A lot of parts that go bad can be mended and reused, extending their lives for a lot longer in the process. The nous, judgment, and methodology required to execute such an operation though isn’t common knowledge, so untrained mechanics end up buying new parts when a small repair would do, thus driving up upkeep costs unnecessarily.
- Misdiagnosing a problem. Something as common as a knocking sound from the engine bay could be the result of a myriad interchangeable problems. The manual, the internet, and other bike repair literature might still mislead the rookie. Diagnosing a problem accurately requires professional training.
- Not checking to see if the problem is resolved. A follow up to the misdiagnosis is a lack of follow up. The untrained mechanic takes apart the bike, replaces the part he thinks is at fault, and puts it back together without checking to see if the problem is fixed or not. This means that if it isn’t, he must go through the whole time and painstaking process of taking apart the bike again.
- Not looking for related problems. Since a lot of parts in bikes are interconnected. A fault with one could result in another malfunctioning too. For example, a problem with the electricals could affect the headlamps. Even if the mechanic identifies a particular wire as the problem, his inexperience means he’s very unlikely to even know what else could have gone wrong, meaning the bigger picture is ignored, and the problem has time to fester, becoming more complicated and expensive to fix.
- Using the right tools. For some components, they have to be adjusted at a precise point to function properly. A brake cable, for example, often needs to be tightened to a certain limit only. This requires a torque screwdriver with a preset tightening limit. A newbie mechanic might not comprehend the depth of the importance of this, and might tighten it too little, causing the breaks to malfunction, or tighten too much, causing the cable to snap and the brakes to fail completely.
Home schooling rarely works when it comes to taking care of your bike. So if you really interested, you’re better off enrolling in a motorcycle mechanics school and receiving proper instruction so that you can understand and treat your bike more effectively. These schools don’t just have qualified professors teaching you the minutiae of bike building, some of them even have impressive industry experts coming in for guest lectures and imparting valuable industry knowledge. Take for example YTI, as the York Daily Record reports, champion stock bike racer and team owner Steve Johnson took time out to visit YTI’s Motorcycle Technology Center and impart some invaluable tips to the students there.
These courses are typically short-term and teach you everything you need to know about motorcycle repair, so why not learn a valuable life skill, and acquire the means by which you can keep that love story between you and your bike going forever.