Summers are here again and we know you are not liking it a bit. So isn't your motorcycle. The engine get over worked and the tyres too feel the heat coming straight from the tarmac. Other parts too get effected and there is a lot that you can do to ensure that your motorcycle or scooter runs just fine without letting you sweat.
Step #1: Keeping the tyre pressure right
The most common myth is to keep the tyre pressure lesser than usual in summers as the air inside the tyre tends to expand with the rise in temperature outside. Well, we are not ruling out the possibility of it, but under normal conditions, it doesn't happen so drastically. Physics says that for every 5.5 degree celsius increase in temperature the tyre pressure increases by 1 pound which is not much we feel. Well, in this scenario we recommend you to go for Nitrogen instead of normal air in your tyres. Reason being, Nitrogen molecules are bigger than Oxygen's that makes it less prone to escape from the tyres making it stay inside longer than usual. It expands less too. If it is not available in your vicinity you can always opt for the usual option, but DO NOT under inflate your tyres as people say. It won't be so drastic that it becomes life threatening. But if the pressure is too low, than the sides of your tyre will wear quicker and that is riskier than losing the middle of your precious rubber. In such a condition, we recommend you to keep the tyre pressure same or may be a couple of pounds more. The tarmac is hot enough to provide you optimum grip and having a little extra pressure will make the sides have less pressure on it.
Step #2: Using the right engine oil
Probably the most important thing to be taken care of in summers. As most of us do not know the meaning of the numbers mentioned on a pack containing engine oils, we will try to make it a little easy for you. The numbers like 10W-40 tells us that the particular engine oil is multigrade which means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades. Here, W stands for Winter if you didn't know, and tells the maximum viscosity at low temperatures. The lower the number, better is its performance in cold temperatures/winters. 40 here means the maximum viscosity the oil can have at 100 degree celsius. The lesser the number, thinner the oil. Engine oil provides lubrication to the moving parts inside the engine and keeps the engine cool. For better efficiency it is highly important for it to reach every part. If it is too thick, it might not reach every remote corner and if too thin it won't serve its purpose well. In summers, it is advisable to use an engine oil of a thicker grade, but not without consulting your mechanic. Too much of viscosity isn't a good thing either. And if you are willing to pay a little extra, synthetic oils are a good option too. It flows better at all temperatures saving you from the worries, but is the extra money worth it? Well, not in all cases. We have not heard a motorcycle dying on a conventional oil provided you care for your motorcycle like we do. But some of the new age motorcycles that are meant to perform from the moment you switch it on, synthetic are always a big yes. But whichever way you want to swing, make sure that your mechanic approves of it.
Step #3: How to ensure proper cooling
You just can't rely on the engine oil to do the cooling job. The air plays its role too. Even in the summers. For the air cooled motorcycles, make sure that the engine is always exposed to some fresh air and there is nothing obstructing it. So, if you plan to put some cool looking accessory on your crash guard or front mudguard, postpone your plans. It might end up making your engine overheat which leads to poor performance and messed up fuel efficiency.
For the super cool performance motorcycles that trust the radiator to keep them calm, the coolant level should always be above minimum. The radiator should be cleaned often to ensure that it doesn't have any dust in it, and there isn't anything in it that is not letting the air reach the radiator.
Step #4: A dust free air filter
Summer time is the time for the dust to fly high, in your eyes, clothes and at times your mouth too. Your motorcycle's air filter is no exception. Especially, when it is meant to do the same thing. In summers check your air filter regularly and clean it whenever needed. A choked air filter can do anything from a poor performance to an engine seizure. The intervals between services may vary depending on your lifestyle, but it should not be the only occasion your air filter gets pampered. Do it a little more often and your motorcycle will be able to breathe more comfortably and naturally.
Step #5: Ensure proper braking
Probably the most important part in the list. The brake pads might start to melt due to summer heat and continuous use. This might lead to continuous usage of the brakes even if you are not applying it, hence poor performance and less fuel efficiency. The brake lines (the tubes that have brake fluid) can also deform if exposed to direct sun and high temperatures which might lead to non-responsive brakes. To make it more durable, go for steel braided brake lines which can tolerate heat much better than the plastic/rubber brake lines. The brake fluid should also be keenly observed as it might lose its character and might not be able to create any pressure at the caliper. To ensure that it works perfectly well, its level in the master cylinder should always be within limits.