Imagine a sunny weekend morning. You've got your gloves, boots and leather riding suit on, and your visor is down. You're riding in the mountains, enjoying the view, loving every breath of fresh air, and the chance to get away from another hard week at work.
Suddenly, without warning, your bike -your pride and joy- has a problem. You’re forced to pull over to the side of the road, turning a day of riding pleasure into a day of stress.
While motorcycles are very durable machines, it doesn't take much to sideline one either. Here are 5 of the most common causes for motorcycle breakdowns, and how you can prevent them.
Issues with motorcycle tires are all too common. Sometimes, the tires are just so worn that they don't offer a safe level of grip, or are no longer able to efficiently handle a wet road. We don't need to say how dangerous it is to ride with tires that are starting to look more like a smooth cue ball.
Of course, given the state of local roads, even a perfectly good tire can be easily damaged. You could have just come out of a tire shop to get a new pair, and suddenly a nail on the road makes its presence felt. The same goes if you're unlucky enough to ride over a jagged pothole.
Take care of your bike's tires because, unlike in cars, there isn't much space for a spare.
One aspect of your engine you should check regularly, particularly if your ride has carburetors, are the sparkplugs. Carb-equipped motorcycle engines are quite prone to having fouled sparkplugs because of too much gas; something mechanics call flooding with fuel.
Generally-speaking, bikes equipped with electronic fuel injection (EFI) are not prone to these problems, as the system prevents too much fuel from going into the combustion chamber. Carburetors are a different story, and wet fouling can happen when the carburetor is out of tune, particularly when the unit squirts too much fuel for the engine to burn efficiently. Sometimes this happens when someone twists your throttle while the bike is parked and shut off.
Check your plugs regularly, and if you see signs of fouling like dark, black soot on the plugs after a few rides, have your carburetor checked as well.
Driveline, clutch and gearbox problems
Ever felt what a slipping clutch is like? Or perhaps what a crunching gearbox sounds like?
Just like cars, motorcycles can get plagued by problems with the driveline. Every wrong shift, every application of full throttle, every time you abused the clutch does take its toll. Beyond having a chain snap, fixing these complex issues on the road is difficult at best, and downright impossible if you're in a far-flung area.
If you feel, hear or smell any problems with your driveline, don't wait for anything to break and have it checked right away by a competent mechanic.
We all hate the gremlins in our rides, but none can be as frustrating like the electrical kind.
Older motorcycles won't have to worry much given the simplicity of the electronics on board; often, all you have to fix is the occasional flat battery or dead alternator. But for newer, more complex motorcycles with engine control units and fuel injection, things get a little trickier. And since a lot of us like tinkering and modifying our bikes, the chances we could introduce problems with every accessory we install can be quite high.
Diagnosing electronic problems can be challenging, so its best to have your bike checked at regular intervals and by a competent electrician. Have your alternator's performance checked regularly too; that is one of the most common problems any rider would encounter.
The most painful breakdown of all has to be the heart of your motorcycle: engine.
Do you feel like your bike has lost some of its power compared to when it was new? Is there hesitation when you try to accelerate? Are there extra noises that you hear or vibrations that you feel? Does it feel like it runs hotter than normal? Are you taking it into the shop for a periodic maintenance check?
Any or all of these signs are symptoms that your motorcycle's or scooter's engine could have a problem, and it is high time to do something about it before you get stranded on the road. And often, a big part of the solution is an oil change and the right kind of oil.
Pick an oil that protects your engine from heat for long term durability, an oil that performs well at reducing friction for better power, is formulated to clean the internal components of the engine, and controls the little deposits that come out as you ride strong.
That's where Caltex's range of Havoline 4-stroke motorcycle oils comes in.
Havoline motorcycle oils are formulated to deliver the best performance for your engine through C.O.R.E. Technology that cleans and protects by providing exceptional heat protection against oil degradation and reduces heat-related engine damage. Your bike gets all these benefits, including ZOOMTECH, which contains a carefully selected booster that contains high frictional properties that delivers consistent clutch grip and enhanced acceleration at a twist of the throttle.
And while most of the competition are still rated to meet the lower API SL grade, Havoline SuperMatic range is already punching higher, having been rated for the more demanding API SN standards. For scooters fitted with a dry clutch and a CVT, Havoline SuperMatic is the answer, filling and exceeding the specifications of the JASO MB standard.
Best of all, you can pick the kind of oil you want from the premium Semi-Synthetic range or the Mineral range for those on a budget, but want the high quality that Havoline has to offer for a healthier engine for your motorcycle for faster starts, better lubrication and improved fuel economy.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that ounce begins with a superior motorcycle oil, just like Caltex Havoline motorcycle oils.