Harley-Davidson® Of Ocean County Rider Tips

Do's and Don'ts of Service and Safety

You can only "Live to Ride" if you keep yourself safe and your motorcycle in top condition!

Your safety is our primary concern. Period. Motorcycles can be replaced, but you can't. Therefore, the professionals in our Service Department have put together a comprehensive list of service and safety tips to help keep you out of harm's way and your motorcycle humming along. Here are some tips that cover everything from getting your motorcycle ready for the road in the spring, to putting it away for the winter. Of course, always refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions.

Pre-Ride Checklist

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. This pre-ride checklist - called T-CLOCK - is included in many rider-training manuals nationwide.

T - Tires and Wheels

Your tires are the only thing between you and the road. Check your overall tire condition regularly, looking for tread wear, bulges, weathering, uneven wear, and other problems. Regularly check your air pressure, spokes, rims, and wheel bearings. Your tires are not the place to save money when you're talking about your safety.

C - Cables and Controls

Check your throttle, clutch, and brake linkages for wear and smooth operation. Also, check the operation of your shifter, your brakes, and the proper operation of your kill switch.

L - Lights and Electronics

Check your battery regularly as well as the wiring in general. Also, check your switches, lighting, and the operation of your horn. Keep extra fuses and bulbs handy, just in case.

O - Oil and Fuel

Look for fluid leaks, keep an eye on your oil level (check with bike upright and  with the engine cold), and regularly inspect your air filter, fuel lines, your brake/clutch hoses, and fluids. Check water levels in your battery.

C - Chain and Chassis

Check your chain for proper lubrication and tension. Give a once over to check your chain guard, your footpegs, all accessory mounts, all your pin and clip attachments, your frame, and your shocks and forks. Turn your steering back and forth a few times to make sure there's nothing wrong with your steering head bearings.

K - Kickstand

For your jiffy stand, make sure it's secure, retracts fully, isn't bent, and leaves you with enough ground clearance when retracted.

Springtime: Check Your Tire Pressure!

For riders of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles in New Jersey, the onset of spring makes their hearts pump a bit faster because they know that journeys on the open road are close at hand! But before you take your bike out of the garage for the first time, make sure that you check your tire pressures and adjust if required. Most Harley-Davidson® motorcycles are equipped with Dunlop® tires; the tire pressures (cold) should be 36psi front and 40psi rear.

Also, check your tires for uneven tread wear and any deterioration in the sidewalls and in the tread itself. This will usually show up as tiny cracks. If your tires are affected, you should consider replacement as soon as possible. Potholes and roadway heaving are things that happen every spring and can be unpleasant if you are not paying attention. In the spring especially, motorists are not used to looking for motorcycles, so be conscientious. Also, beware of winter sand that has collected in and around intersections.

Hot-Weather Motorcycle Riding

Ah, summertime! Considered by many to be the prime time to set out for distant towns. But keeping your bike cool is almost as important as keeping yourself cool! Here are some tips on maintaining your bike for hot-weather riding:

  • Keep a close watch on your oil pressure - especially on very hot days and particularly if you're sitting in heavy traffic.
  • Get more frequent oil changes in the summer. Nothing breaks down oil like summer heat combined with Harley-Davidson® heat!
  • Check your battery water levels more often. It will not only keep you fired up, it will help extend the life of your battery.
  • Monitor tire pressure daily. Temperature changes can impact your tire pressure drastically. A good investment is a small, portable compressor specially made for automotive use. Many have on-board tire gauges but don't trust them. Keep a good quality tire gauge on hand and use it!
  • Remove fairings and other obstructions during high-heat seasons. Anything that restricts airflow in and around the engine will increase operating temperature.
  • Your controls - particularly your brakes - will feel and operate differently at different temperatures. On really hot days, increase your scanning and following distances until you get the feel for the way your bike is operating under those specific conditions. Don't take anything for granted.

Winterizing Your Motorcycle

The opposite side of the summer-cruising coin for Harley-Davidson® motorcycle riders in New Jersey is getting their motorcycles ready for winter storage. Always be sure to follow the steps outlined in your Harley-Davidson® owner's manual, or better yet, bring your bike to us where our certified technicians can perform a full winterization. Basic steps to winterize a motorcycle include:

  • Fill your tank to the top.
  • Put in the correct amount of fuel stabilizer.
  • Run the bike at a fast idle for a few minutes, to make sure all the oil is in the oil tank. Watch that your exhaust pipes don't run red hot!
  • Remove the air filter and its cover. Spray fogging oil into the carburetor while holding the bike at a fast idle. Continue spraying until pipes really smoke then allow it to stall. (If you don't have fogging oil, put 2 tablespoons of engine oil down each spark plug hole). To splash oil around, put your bike in 2nd gear and rock back and forth.
  • Drain fuel from the carburetor. (CV-type carb only)
  • Put cotton rags into mufflers to keep out moisture and any unwanted guests.
  • Charge battery every month with a 2 Amp or less charger.
  • Fill tires to recommended pressure. (Most are 34-36 psi for the front and 40 psi for the rear)
  • Check your bike frequently for mouse/squirrel nests. Rodents love to crawl into small spaces and chew on electrical wire insulation. Models with fairings are especially vulnerable to rodent nesting.
  • Don't run the bike every week! Doing so will wash the oil from the cylinders, resulting in condensation buildup in your engine and weakening of your battery.
  • Don't spray oil on your tires.