Category Archives: Bike Maintenance

Bike’s dashboard icons lighting up? Find out why

For a very long time, only cars came with inbuilt warning lights on the dashboard. But lucky for us, these days motorbikes come equipped with emergency lights and options of analogue or LCDs.

Dashboard warning symbols are also designed in different colours to create awareness and convey information about the current state of the vehicle. Usually, blue and green lights inform the rider that a service is active or that the vehicle is functioning normally; while red and yellow lights indicate that there is a fault. When the red light is displayed, then it is necessary to take action.

What does it mean when they light up?

Ignition Light:
If the ignition light is lit up, it means that the engine has some problems with the electrical system, the battery needs to be replaced or it is failing to charge. Your bike would not start if there is a fault in the battery.

Engine Temperature Warning Light:
This sign indicates that the engine coolant level may be running low or there may be a leak in the coolant system. This occurs when the temperature has crossed the normal level and can damage your bike’s engine.

Oil Pressure Warning Light:
This symbol indicates low oil pressure. It lights up when there is a variation in the oil levels which can damage the engine. For your safety, switch off the bike engine once you notice it.

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Neutral Light:
This neutral light illuminates in green and indicates to the rider that the bike is in a neutral state. When switching gears, this green light will disappear.

Indicator Light:
The indicator light also illuminates in green colour. If you are turning left, the left directional arrow will flash, for the right, the right directional arrow will flash. In case of hazard warning, both lights are activated.

Full Beam Light:
The full-beam light indicates that your headlight is on at full beam. Put off your high beam when you notice another car coming towards you on the other side of the road. It’s better to avoid high beam in the daytime so that you can save your battery life.

Warning lights can prevent a lot of mishaps from happening and save you from unnecessary troubles. If proper action is taken at the right time, it can even save lives and keep you safe.

Bike Troubles? We’ve all got them

India has quickly become the world’s largest two-wheeler market. With its considerable population size, most of which own a two-wheeler. It is a common sight to see hundreds of motorcycles on the roads, rather than cars. We Indians have come to depend so much on our bikes, that our whole day gets messed up if our bike breaks down in any way. Unfortunately, using the vehicle as much as we do on a daily basis, there are bound to be some mechanical hiccups.

Things to keep an eye on:

Weak battery:
Almost all two-wheelers are equipped with an electric start and this starter is entirely dependent on the battery. Your bike’s battery should have sufficient power to turn on this motor, but it needs high voltage from the battery for ignition. Signs of a weak battery is evident if your self-starter, horn and headlights don’t work well or even not at all. Quick tip: you can try pulling the clutch lever first and check if it starts up.

Low fuel:
It may not happen often, but it does happen occasionally; when your fuel gauge is inaccurate. Although it might seem clichéd, it won’t hurt to shake your bike a little and listen closely for any splashing inside your fuel tank.

Clogged fuel:
Sometimes your fuel control valve can get clogged with rust and dirt. Just make sure that corrosion doesn’t build up that could also lead to leakages.

Neutral mode:
Some bike may be required to be put into neutral for it to start, rather than the clutch lever. Put your bike into neutral and try to start it up.

Check the tailpipe:
With the amount of travelling that we do on our bikes, there’s a good chance of your bike’s exhaust getting clogged; it’s always a good idea to check the exhaust if you have any pets or animals in the area.

Engine cut-off switch:
We often use the ignition key to turn off the bike instead of the engine cut-off switch, but yet try to crank that engine. This is quite a common mistake.

There is nothing more frustrating than having vehicle trouble when you need to go about your day as planned. Just remember to not panic and follow through with these common issues first.

10 Steps | How to Lift Fallen Motorcycle

In the totality of your riding career, there will be at least once or twice where the situation will demand that you have to lift fallen motorcycle from the ground, due to whatever reason. Most often than not, such situations will be a regularity for those who have more confidence exceeding their skill and those who do wish to learn from mistakes.

With a fallen motorcycle lying on its side, there are many factors that a rider would need to consider before trying to pick it up. A motorcycle is, after all, a heavy machine that would require a bit of thinking, planning and forethought to pick up from the ground. This planning can be attributed to the fact that there are specific techniques for lifting a bike safely, which should be looked into.

It is safer to not try and lift a fallen motorcycle until you have seen the technique demonstrated by any qualified instructor. It can be dangerous to lift a heavy machine for your body, which may have its own specifications and limitations. Remember, you do not want to get yourself hurt.

So it is advisable to take a time to plan to lift because just like riding, the strength of lifting the motorcycle is also mostly mental in nature. You need to assess the compatibility of your strength before trying something as risky. Now before we guide you through our detailed steps to lift a bike safely, we would also suggest that you assess certain factors such as the area and the motorcycle itself for a few details.

Area Assessment

In case you have had a minor accident are safe and now want to save your two-wheeler, first get into a safe position yourself and from there, take stock of the situation. Check if your bike is on the road and whether picking it up there would be safe or not.

If not, then it is better for you to wait for any traffic police to notice and come or at least wait until traffic has stopped around you, before you try to lift the bike.

You could also ask some onlookers to help you, as most would be willing. But it would be better to warn the non-riders who help you about all the hot, sharp and breakable parts of the bike and you will need to show them clearly as to how you want them to help and where you want them to lift.

You should be careful that they don’t lift improperly and injure themselves.

Motorcycle Assessment

Once near the bike, it is advisable to shut off the motorcycle by using the engine cut-off switch or the ignition switch. Then, turn off the fuel supply valve of the bike, provided it has one. You could turn over the bike and check if it is damaged and how that will affect the lifting.

If you find that a little fuel is leaking due to the impact, then do not worry for it is normal for a little fuel to drip out. However, if you feel that the leak is too much, better move away and wait for someone to aid you.

If the motorcycle is lying on its right side, put the side-stand down and put the bike in gear. If it’s lying on its left side, you must understand that you can’t put the side-stand down first as that way the bike may roll onto you as you lift.

Having assessed these aspects, let us now move on to the main steps on lifting your motorcycle:

Steps to Pick a Fallen Motorcycle:

Step 1: The first step is to make sure that the engine is off. If it is not, hit the kill engine switch. Now see if the motorcycle is down on its right side and if it is, put your side/kick stand down.

Step 2: Now, you might want to walk around the motorcycle making finally sure the motorcycle isn’t leaking any fluids or having any damage that would make lifting it risky. And also make sure that there is no rock or debris around to avoid inconvenience.

Step 3: Ensure that your bike is in gear mode to prevent it from rolling once you start lifting it upright.

Step 4: Now, turn the handlebars to full lock with the front wheel pointing to the ground. One handgrip renders you close to the gas tank, right where you want it.

Step 5: After this, squat gently with your butt/lower back against the bike seat. Even though the bike may rock a bit underneath you, do not get concerned.

Step 6:  With one hand of yours, grab the hand-grip closest to your bike.

Step 7:  With the other hand, grab any hard part of the bike such as the saddle bag guards or the frame or the fender but be careful to avoid the hot and soft parts. Usage of gloves would be useful, if necessary.

Step 8: Having done the spadework, it is now time to lift the bike. While lifting, always use your leg muscles. Firmly lock your arms and take very small steps backwards, keeping your back straight. Remember to maintain control of the bike and not twist your body while lifting.

Step 9: It would be wise to rock the bike a little to get some momentum

Step 10: Make sure not to lift too much and flip the bike onto its other side! Once upright, carefully put the side stand of the bike down with one foot and lean the bike safely onto its side-stand. Now that you have lifted it, all you have to do is check for damage before you ride it again.

These simple steps given by us can be adhered to at all times by you to comfortably lift your motorcycle if it has fallen anywhere. But we would be very much relieved if you do not do this at the cost of your lives. For the sake of your bike, do not compromise your safety. Always remember first safe you, then safe bike. With this endeavour, we take leave in the prayer that you do not need to use this guide much and that you have safe journeys. Happy Riding!

Bike Maintenance Before And During Monsoon Season

Bike maintenance before and during rains
Bike maintenance during monsoon season

The Southernmost state of India has this unpredictable monsoon changes. Be it the regular rainy days at the ending months of the calendar. Or the sudden climatic changes due to the winds originating from Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, the coastal regions have always been prey to the effects of the rains. As heavy property damages form the crux of the aftereffects of the monsoon, let us see how one important property of every household (other than the smartphones and televisions :P) – bikes and mopeds – can be protected.

Tyre pressures:

During and after rainy days, the streets are usually water-clogged, which means the tyres go deep down into the surface of water. It is a known fact that being submerged or partially submerged in water would increase the weight of a component. So, it is advised that the tyres should be pressurized only at a level slightly lower than the optimum, prescribed limit.

Full-on pressures would make the tyres subject themselves to more pressure while being under water, and a sharp stone or a glass piece would mean detrimental to their life.

Spark plug:

Spark plugs are located near the engine compartment of the vehicle. Spark plug is the accessory that ignites the engine initially thereby providing the starting torque. But prolonged exposure to watery roads would mean that the spark plugs also get cluttered with water droplets, eventually making them not function properly.

When there are increased chances of the engine being cooled down, spark plugs need to be taken care of effectively. This would come in handy during monsoon periods.

Starting troubles:

Since most (or all) of the vehicles that are rolled out today are equipped with the self-start facility by default innately, drivers tend to use them whenever the vehicle needs to be started from the off condition.

In reality, self-starter facility takes in a lot of energy than kick-start. It drains a lot of energy from the battery. During rainy days, it might not work as efficiently as the kick start because kick start delivers in more power and heat than this sophisticated method. Due to the moisture content and the other water-related contaminants being present inside the engine and the components surrounding it, more power will be required to produce the heat that would ignite the engine. So, always use kick starter during rains.

Tyre conditions:

Tyre pressure check is not only the single prerequisite that is to be done during rains. Due to the slippery roads, these wheels on motion do not get the gripping property as normally as that during the normal sunny hours. Moreover, constant exposure to water might make the rubber soften a bit and the constant friction with the roads might be lost.

Some parts of the tyre might also get worn out to such an extent that the outermost visible layer of the tyre would come out when rubbed with hands. When the layers get coming out one by one, the relative strength of the tyres with respect to the contact with roads get diminished gradually, thereby increasing the chances of skidding and sliding multifold.

So, it is mandatory to perform this simple test to see if the tyre is in an operable condition. Just hold your index finger and middle finger on the surface of the tyre with full strength and slide through the surface of the tyre. If there is even a slightest piece of tyre that comes out with the fingers, the tyre cannot be used to drive in watery roads.

Alternately, this test can also be performed with sharp fingernails. You can use a substitute temporarily and then use this one back after the monsoons are over.

Do not stress out the electronic accessories:

It is not a good practice to keep honking horns continuously or using the indicator blinkers every now and then, because they take a toll on the battery. If the battery is even slightly exposed to water at its terminals, this prolonged usage would imply that they are spending lots of energy, which might make them malfunction.

Use electronic components only during dire situations. For example, do not use indicators and horns at the same time. A hand signal would suffice if the road is not brimming with traffic.

Displays:

Penetration of water into the speedometer and odometer displays is one of the most commonly encountered problems in the rainy days. This hardship is majorly faced only when the vehicle is kept at a standstill for a long period of time at a rainy place (not that the problem does not occur while driving in rains at all, it is just a minor share). This is because while in motion, the air that blows around the vehicle tends to dissipate most of the water particles away from any particular place; this is not possible in case of static stationing.

The air that blows around a stationary body is always lesser in speed (due to the fixed frame of reference), than that around the moving object. This difference could particularly be felt while travelling in a direction opposite to that of the direction of the wind flow.

So, the water droplets that stay near the display meters tend to go into them, thereby making them inactive.

Fuel tanks:

Necessarily, do not fill up the tanks to the full during rains. A lot of water gets mixed up with the fuel and you do not want to dilute the fuel and make it futile and unfit. Moreover, the display meters may not work properly, making it all the more difficult.

So it is a welcome note to keep track of the daily distance versus fuel notification. A comparison with the regular mileage would indicate when the tank needs to refilled, and it also serves as a monitor of how much deviation the fuel undergoes during rains.

 

These are only some precautionary and preliminary measures in case of an emergency. It is better to consult with a credible service center or a mechanic to avoid serious and fatal problems to the vehicle as well as the driver.