Dirt Bike Maintenance Tips: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining Your Dirt Bike


ways to maintain your dirt bike in good shape

We can’t deny the fact that modern dirt bikes are quite expensive. It’s, therefore, important to maintain your dirt bike for it to last long.

Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you get your money’s worth out of your dirt bike before you decide to upgrade.

Get a chain cleaner from Amazon to help you to maintain your dirt bike.

One of the greatest ways of ensuring that you enjoy your bike and extend its lifespan is to keep up with the necessary routine maintenance.

With proper care and a basic understanding of mechanics, you can be sure that you will enjoy your dirt bike for many seasons.

I selected some guides on Amazon to guide you on how to conduct proper maintenance for your dirt bike that I now you will love.

Grab a few guides and handbooks that will help you understand better how to take care of your dirt bike.

Ask any mechanic out there, and he/she will tell you that most of the time a dirt bike requires mechanical service, it’s because the owner has failed to ensure that routine maintenance is performed.

The moment you start to neglect the basic upkeep that is required to keep your machine in top condition, you should start preparing for the worst and nothing can be as frustrating as your bike breaking down when you need it most.

Unlike the modern cars that you can ride for thousands of miles without even changing the engine oil, dirt bikes require regular maintenance.

Related: How Does a Dirt Bike Engine Work?

If you are thinking of taking on the joy of riding dirt bikes, proper maintenance is part of the game, and you need to observe it to the latter.

So, do you own a dirt bike and you are wondering what you are supposed to do to keep in excellent condition? You came to the right place.

I will guide you through all the maintenance tasks that you need to know including but not limited to checking the engine oil for any leakages, suspension, checking the bearings, tires, bolts and keeping the air filter clean.

One thing that I want you to keep in mind is that dirt bike maintenance tasks may not be as hard as you think.

All you have to do is be careful when performing any maintenance task, be sure of what you are doing, and everything will be fine.

So, without any further ado, let us dive straight into our dirt bike routine maintenance guide.

Cleaning and Lubing Your Cables

(Here are some dirt bike cable lubes that you can get from Amazon)

Did you know that cables are among the most critical components of your dirt bike?

Well, the truth is that cables provide access to the essential controls and you need to keep them in excellent condition if you want to enjoy your bike for a long time.

The throttle and clutch cables need to be cleaned after every ride and lubricated regularly. 

In fact, cleaning and lubing your cables is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of ensuring that your bike feels new all the time.

Dirt and water usually seep into your cables whenever you clean your bike. Things might even be worse if you use a pressure washer.

Cleaning and lubing your cables eliminates the dirt and water hence extending the cable’s life.

To clean and lubricate your cables you need to make sure that you remove the cable from the perch and lever before you start the process of cleaning and lubing. When it comes to throttle cables, ensure that you disconnect the carburetor end since you don’t want to flush dirt and water into your carburetor.

It is also good to make sure that you do the flushing using a standard contact cleaner. The most significant advantage of using a contact cleaner is that it will cleanse any dirt or grime in its path.

Once you are sure that your cable is clean, be sure to flush it several times with a standard lubricant. This is something that you should do quite regularly if you want to prolong the life of your cables.

The moment you fail to keep your cables in excellent condition all the time, prepare for other costly repairs down the line.

Wash Your Bike and Inspect It after Every Ride

If you own a dirt bike, regular riding becomes part of your daily life. But, what do you do to your machine after spending hours on the trail or riding around your neighborhood? Do you throw it in the garage and wait to take it out again for another ride?

Sadly, this is what most of us tend to do which isn’t a good practice when it comes to keeping your bike in good shape.

We recommend washing your bike after every ride and inspecting it thoroughly before you put it away in the garage.

Cleaning your bike is a simple process that shouldn’t take much of your time. Simply use a bucket of water and a selection of gentle brushes to knock off the mud and other dirt particles. 

You need to be extra careful if you decide to use a pressure washer so that you don’t force water and dirt into the engine and other electrical components. Be sure to deflate the water away from these areas whenever you use a pressure washer to clean your bike.

Before you start cleaning your bike, you should also make sure that you use an airbox cover to seal off the carburetor from debris and dirty water.

Once you have cleaned your bike, you need to leave it to dry before you start inspecting it. The inspection process may take you some time since you are looking for any maintenance issue before you store it away.

If you notice anything that requires your attention, make sure that you attend to it before storing your bike away.  Keep in mind that the minor issues may become major issues if you don’t take measures to deal with them as soon as you identify them.

Chain and Sprocket Care

One of the most critical dirt bike rules that you need to know is that never ride with dry chains or sprockets. A lubricated chain is a happy chain and it will not only improve your overall riding experience but also reward you with a long life hence saving you a lot of money.

Always make sure that you clean your chains and sprockets after every ride and then lubricate them thoroughly.

If you notice any significant wear and tear during the cleaning and lubrication process, be sure to replace the whole drive train. Another essential aspect to proper chain care is ensuring that your chain is always at the right adjustment.

If it is too loose or too tight, do the honorary thing of adjusting it before you go out riding. If the chain is too loose or too tight, it can easily bust or even snap, whip off, and break your engine case leading to more problems.

You can also be walking around with a chain tattoo on your leg for the rest of your life. The easiest way to determine the right chain length is by sticking your two fingers carefully between the guide and the chain; if feel the chain pressing against your fingers, then it is tight enough.

The other benefit of keeping your dirt bike chain adjusted correctly is that it helps to extend its life and the life of the sprockets, wheel bearings, bearings, all hubs, and transmission seals as well.

Check Oil

Your dirt bike is not like your car. Therefore, don’t assume that you can ride it for thousands of miles without changing the oil.  If you try to do so, your engine can easily knock leaving you with no option other than buying another dirt bike.

So, why should you incur such a massive loss for something that you can take care of in a few minutes?

One thing that you need to understand and keep in mind is that you should never leave your dirt bike with used oil in the case during the winter season. If you are planning to store your dirt bike during the winter season, be sure to check the oil status in the crankcase.

If you just took out your dirt bike after the winter season and realize that you forgot to empty it before you stored it, make sure that you change the oil immediately. If you filled it with fresh oil, check the current oil levels before you hit the road.

If you spend a lot of time riding in dirt or mud or if your bike sees extreme duty, you need to change your oil quite often to avoid problems. Some experts even recommend changing your oil after one or two rides while othersinsist that you should change it after eight operating hours.

The primary thing that you need to remember is that the more often you change the oil, the longer your dirt bike engine will live. Therefore, make sure that you follow the manufacturer recommendations all the time.

And don’t just concentrate on the engine oil; you should also remember to change your fork oil regularly. By doing so, you will extend your fork life and ensure that your bike runs better and in a controlled manner.

Carburetor Care Maintenance

Four-stroke and two-stroke engine carburetors require regular maintenance to function properly. If you don’t use your bike for some time, the gas will evaporate leaving behind a dry, powdery, and sticky buildup in the carburetor.

You can’t afford to ignore this residue since it can easily plug all the jets and even block the pilot jet. Dirt bike experts recommend draining the float bowl and every ride before you store your bike with its fuel petcock turned off.

If you fail to take these steps, it is critical to ensure that you disassemble the carburetor if you haven’t had a ride in a while. You need to remember the fact that some of the modern fuels can go bad in just a month or less.

If your dirt bike runs on a four-stroke engine, you need to take apart and lubricate the hot-start cable the same way you do with all the other cables. Whenever you clean your bike, water usually runs down the cable and gets into the hot-start mechanism causing corrosion in the carburetor.

If the hot-start mechanism experiences heavy corrosion, it could demand a new carburetor body which is quite expensive to purchase.  This is the primary reason why you need to check your float level based on what the manufacturer’s manual says.

No matter what you do, remember the fact that the carburetor is the heart of your dirt bike and you need to clean and service it quite regularly to stay safe.

Air Filter Maintenance

Fresh air is an essential requirement for any dirt bike to run properly. A dirty air filter can easily damage your engine since it allows contaminated air to mix with fuel.

You need to remember the fact that air can only enter the dirt bike engine via the air filters and the primary purpose of the air filters is to trap all the dust particles. If your air filter is already worn out, then it means that it can severely damage the function of the dirt bike engine which may end in a total breakdown of the engine.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you keep your air filter clean and soaked with sufficient oil that will keep your dirt bike engine running smoothly. Always find time to pull out the air filter and clean it thoroughly with a gentle brush.

Once it is clean,   dry it and soak it in air filter oil before you install it back to your dirt bike and ride again. If you discover that the air filter is worn out and it can no longer trap dust and other dirt particles, make sure that you replace it with a new one.

While shopping for an air filter, go for one that is designed to increase airflow. A good air filter should also offer greater horsepower and incredible protection to your engine. If you ignore air filter maintenance, you should be prepared to deal with costly engine-related problems. 

In the worst case scenario, your engine maybreakdown and never resuscitate. Inspect your air filters after every ride to ensure that they are always in excellent condition before your next trip.

Spoke Maintenance and Tightening

For effective spoke maintenance and tightening, you will need a dedicated spoke wrench which is usually available in the rider’s maintenance kit. When it comes to tightening the spoke, you will need to work slowly and be patient to ensure that you achieve the best results.

The good thing is that you can easily tighten your spoke in one go and proceed with other maintenance tasks. Access your spoke and using the spoke wrench, tighten it slowly and gradually.

If you reach a certain point in the process and feel like you haven’t done something right, don’t be afraid to go back and start from the beginning.

Plastic Maintenance

There is a good reason why your bike is fitted with mudguards, fenders, and even the side paneling. All these are plastics, and they are meant to protect you and your dirt bike from dirt, debris, and roost that is usually kicked up as you ride.

You will also be thankful for the plastics in the event of a crash. If you are like other riders, chances are that you can’t stand poorly maintained plastics that look dull, faded, and past their prime.

Therefore, regular cleaning and general upkeep play a critical role in preventing these plastic components from looking too old. You may also find emergency plastic repair essential if you break your shroud or fender while at the track. 

The good news is that there are lots of simple but dirty ways of repairing simple cracks or breaks that may occur when you least expected it. Simply drill a few holes on either side of the crack and run a few zip-ties across and you are good to go.

Check the Other Fluids

The engine oil isn’t the only dirt bike fluid that you need to check regularly. The same thing goes to the transmission oil in case your dirt bike houses the two oils in different compartments. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual to determine the recommended fluid quantity and viscosity.

You should also check the front and rear brake oil height. The good thing is that most bikes have sight glasses built on the master cylinder which makes it a little bit more convenient to inspect your brake fluid faster.

If you notice that the oil is depleted, we recommend that you try to establish why your master cylinder oil height is low. A bad seal could be the culprit. Never assume that your fluids are at the required levels before you hit the road. 

It is good to conduct a thorough inspection to be sure to avoid issues while you are far away from home.

Pipe Maintenance

When installing your dirt bike’s exhaust system, it is crucial to remember the fact that the seal between the exhaust spigot and the cylinder is critical to your bike’s overall performance.

On a two-stroke engine, whenever you remove the pipe, make sure that you inspect the rubber O-ring for any blemishes or cracks.  Make sure you replace the ring even when you notice a simple flattened look on the outside. 

Some dirt bikes also have a thin metal ring that usually goes into the exhaust port whose primary role is to prevent the steel pipe from causing damage to the aluminum surface the pipe buts up against.

You need to ensure that this ring is still in position and excellent condition. The other essential thing you need to note when it comes to pipe maintenance is that plugged pipes cause the engine to work much harder to get rid of the exhaust decreasing power.

Sometimes, this can prevent your dirt bike from starting leaving you stranded. Therefore, it is critical to inspect your pipe to ensure that it isn’t rusty, plugged up or excessively oiled.

Check Nuts and Bolts

If you are planning to store your dirt bike away for a while or you are accessing it for the first time after a while, it is recommended that you inspect all the nuts and bolts. Some of them may be loose, and you need to tighten them before you store it or hit the road for a ride.

A few loose bolts can cause a severe crash at the least expected time. Furthermore, you don’t want nuts and bolts hanging and making a lot of noise while riding.

Check the Electricals

If you ride a dual sport, enduro, or adventure bike, check all your electricals to ensure that everything is working properly. Make sure you check indicators, horn, brake lights, headlight for both high and low beam, and the speed gauge.

Everything should be working correctly before you decide to hit the road. You should also remember to check the charge on your dirt bike battery and if it is low, place on the battery charger or replace it if you think that it can no longer hold a charge.

Check the Coolant

This one may surprise you, but the truth is that coolant isn’t something that you can simply add to your dirt bike and forget about it, especially in a four-stroke dirt bike. To keep your engine running cool is a top priority since slight overheating of the small components in the engine can ruin your entire day.

The dirt bike engine coolant is formulated to reduce the engine temperature and ensure that all the critical components of the engine don’t overheat.

A typical dirt bike engine works hard and produces a lot of heat hence the need to ensure that you make regular coolant changes to keep it fresh and efficient. Checking the coolant is even more critical during summer and double vital if you ride in dunes

Final Thoughts

If you want to get the best out of your dirt bike, it is critical to ensure that you take good care of it. Treat it better, and you will have fun for many seasons. If you are a professional dirt bike racer, keeping your ride in great shape will help you beat your competitors easily and accomplish your life goals.

With this simple dirt bike maintenance guideline, you can’t go wrong. Do you feel like I have left out something essential?  Let me know in the comment section and don’t forget to share this post with your friends if you liked it.

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