A number of simple motorcycle repairs can be performed in your garage or on the side of the road (when it is safe to do so). These are useful skills to have, and they will make you feel more comfortable riding because you know you'll be able to handle whatever gets thrown your way.
But before you grab your tool case, check with your local Harley-Davidson® dealership. Conducting your repairs may void your warranty, in which case you're better off getting serviced by professionals rather than doing it yourself.
Before you do anything to your bike, you're going to want to read your owner's manual. Reading your manual is like taking a class. You'll learn most forms of maintenance and plenty of things you might otherwise never know. If you can't find your manual or want to dig deeper, you can purchase one from your Harley-Davidson dealer or you can purchase a digital subscription which you can read on a number of devices.
It's not uncommon for dealerships like Harley-Davidson, suspension shops, and parts resellers to offer courses during the year. You can learn about everything from fixing flats and general inspections to conducting your tune-ups or suspension tuning. These classes tend to be designed for new riders.
You can also take courses at your local community college if you want to take a deeper dive into how your bike works. If none of these options are available, bike conventions will occasionally offer workshops taught by industry professionals.
Lastly, you can go to your local motorcycle club on their "maintenance day." These are days designated by professional mechanics to help those with less knowledge gain some expertise. Nothing compares to hands-on experience.
Don't forget to check the internet. You can find everything from infographics to YouTube videos, and even podcasts about bikes. Forums and blogs , Facebook groups, and e-books are other potential sources of knowledge and wisdom.
Every several thousand miles you're going to want to change your bike's oil. Before you perform any maintenance, check with your local Harley-Davidson® dealership to make sure you won't be violating your insurance policy or the warranty on any of your parts. Here's how you change your oil. Note: If you need any tools or materials to change your oil, you can get them at your local Harley-Davidson® dealership or online.
Check your owner's manual for exact directions.
Replacing the air filter is easy in theory because all you have to do is take out the old air filter and put in the new one. That said, you may have to remove other parts of the bike to get to it. Follow the directions in your manual, and this task should take minimal effort. You can buy air filters from Harley-Davidson.
This is an easy one.
If you over-inflate, just let out the extra air. Replace the valve cap, check your tire tread, and your tire's wear indicator (that's the little rubber bar in the grooves of your tire). You'll know it's time to replace your tire if the bar is at the same level as the rubber that meets the road.
You can get coolant from Harley-Davidson. Coolant keeps your engine from overheating, freezing, and getting corroded.
Your bike's battery is likely under your seat. One reason why routine checks are so necessary is that once your battery is discharged, you need a replacement battery, which you can get from Harley-Davidson either online or in person.
Also, don't forget to make sure that the wiring on your lights is tightly secured.
Checking your wheel spokes is easy. Just grab them and squeeze. Alternatively, you can put your bike on a stand, spin the wheel, and give each spoke a gentle tap with a wrench.
Loose spokes make a dull thud while properly-tensioned ones make a ting sound. Harley-Davidson sells a variety of wheels you can check out online or at a dealership.
Check your brake fluid reservoir regularly. Use only sealed brake fluid when you are topping off because brake fluid absorbs moisture over time. DOT4 brake fluid must be changed every two years.
Also, make sure your brakes are the proper thickness to determine whether or not they need to be replaced.
Pro tip: brake fluid will eat through metal if you spill it on paintwork, so have a rag handy. Harley-Davidson sells brake fluid, brake pads, brake rotors, and more.
Now that you know your way around your bike, you're ready to know your way around the road. Equipped with knowledge, you'll be more capable and confident while riding, which means you'll be able to relax and enjoy every ride.