If you’ve ever reached for your keys and realized you locked them in your car, you know how forgetting one small thing can easily ruin your day.
The same is true for dirt biking. Only the stakes are often much higher.
If you don’t perform routine checks and maintenance on your bike, it could lead to breakdowns, flat tires, or worse, injuries — all of which can quickly cut a day of riding short.
That’s why it’s crucial to follow a dirt bike maintenance checklist before every ride. Checking these key components will help ensure that you and your bike are ready to hit the dirt safely.
Depending on how long it’s been since the last time you rode, you’ll either want to top off your fuel or replace it entirely with fresh gas.
Gas degrades over time as it sits out, and if you haven’t refreshed your supply in a week or more, it could affect your bike’s performance.
In that case, stocking up on fresh fuel is the better option.
If you take your bike out often, a nice top-off will do the trick.
2. Oil & Oil Filter
Unless you leave your fuel can at home, running out of gas is an easy fix. Running out of oil, on the other hand, can cause permanent engine damage that may completely ruin your bike.
Before you load up and head out, take a peek at the oil level and check the cleanliness of the oil filter.
Two things to remember when checking your oil:
- Make sure your bike is standing upright, and
- Depending on what type of bike you have, you may need to leave the engine running for a minute or two before checking.
3. Tire Pressure
No one wants to go through the trouble of loading up their bike and driving to the track or dirt road just to end up with a flat tire midway through the day.
Before every ride, check the pressure in both tires and fill them up as needed. You may need to fill them a little more or less based on the weather and the performance you want out of your bike.
A well-maintained chain will survive much longer and perform better than a neglected one. As part of your dirt bike maintenance checklist, take a look at your chain and check for wear and tear.
If you notice rust, kinks, or that your adjustments are maxed out, it might be time for some repairs or an entirely new chain.
Also, make sure to pack the necessary tools to perform these repairs in your gear bag (i.e., chain breaker, extra master links, etc.) in case an unexpected issue occurs while riding.
5. Radiator Fluid
You may look at your fuel and oil levels before riding, but if checking your radiator fluid isn’t already a part of your dirt bike maintenance checklist, it should be.
It can be tough to tell exactly how much coolant you’ve used after a day on the track. That’s why it’s best to play it safe and check before every ride.
6. Air Filter
A clean air filter will help your dirt bike run better, and it’s one of the keys to extending the life of your engine.
Inspect your air filter before you start the engine, and if you notice it’s too dirty or damaged, replace it with a new one.
7. Spark Plug
You may not need to check your spark plug before each ride, but it’s worth adding to your dirt bike maintenance checklist every so often.
Like many engine parts, they can degrade over time and cause performance issues. If you see burn marks, whiteness, corrosion, rust, or damaged parts, it’s time for a new spark plug.
8. Brake Pads
With high speeds, tight turns, and many obstacles to watch out for, a safe dirt biking experience depends heavily on your ability to brake.
All it takes is one instance of brake failure to crash your bike or cause potentially life-threatening injuries.
That’s why it’s essential to inspect your brake pads regularly. When they get close to or reach the wear indicator, you’ll need to replace them to avoid brake failure.
9. Nuts & Bolts
Dirt bikes fly around at high speeds, jump, land, rattle, and vibrate.
All this stress can cause various nuts and bolts to come loose over time, which — if left unchecked — can lead to dangerous accidents.
To avoid vehicle damage or injury, your dirt bike maintenance checklist should include checking for (and tightening, if necessary) any loose fasteners.
It may seem tedious, but there’s no need to check every single bolt on the bike. Just make sure all the essentials are tightened and ready for action before you hit the dirt (i.e., subframe, engine mounts, triple clamps, etc.)
10. In Case of Emergency
As with any risky activity, it’s always crucial to have a plan in case of an emergency.
For dirt bikers, especially those who love off-roading, the Rescu app provides the fastest way to get emergency help anywhere in the United States…
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, no talking required.
Just two taps on your smartphone will instantly alert Rescu’s private dispatch center, which will dispatch the nearest first response team to your exact location using state-of-the-art GPS technology.
Simply select the services you need — fire, police, or ambulance — and tap “Send Alert.”
After you confirm the alert, Rescu will send your location information to responders and automatically send a text message to your pre-registered list of emergency contacts, notifying them that you’ve sent an alert.
Every second spent on the phone with 911 is a second that help could be on the way. If you don’t know where you are, you could lose seconds, minutes, or even hours waiting for emergency services to arrive.
Don’t gamble with your time during a crisis.
Stay protected whenever and wherever you ride with the Rescu app.