Castrol maintenance guide: Engines
Keeping your engine goingLook after your bike and it will look after you - and looking after your bike’s heart is one of the most important things you can do. If you don’t keep the bike well-maintained and serviced there’s always a chance it will let you down. So, what simple things can we do to keep the chances of a breakdown to a minimum?
What do you pour into your motor?Any motorcycle engine needs fluids to work. Petrol to go, oil to lubricate and sometimes liquid to cool it. Making sure you have the correct one of each and the best one for the job will keep your bike working at its optimum.
Often ignored, but do read your handbook. Check to see what octane or RON rating of fuel is suggested. If you store your bike over winter or for any long period of time, make sure you drain the tank and the carburettors before letting it stand. Alternatively, regularly warm-up your bike during its period off the road.
Castrol provide a range of oils suitable for all motorcycles, on or off-road. Again, ensure that you read your manual and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on what viscosity (thickness) oil is recommended for your bike and the amount the bike needs. If you’ve a two-stroke machine, again Castrol do a range of suitable oils, but do check to see if the oil is suitable. Check that the oil is for an automatic injection system if your bike has one or if it’s pre-mix only.
Make sure the coolant is the right ratio of water to coolant. A 50/50 split of water and coolant is normally recommended for most normal operating temperatures. Air bubbles in the coolant system will come up as fluctuating readings in the coolant header tank, while any particles or residue in the tank itself will also mean you should drain the system and replace the fluid. Some manufacturers will recommend only ethylene glycol anti-freeze coolant, which contains corrosion protection inhibitors and the use of low-mineral or distilled water for your coolant tank - especially on modern aluminium engines. Again, read the manual to find out what your bike needs. The entire coolant system should be checked every 8,000 miles or 12,000 km.
LevelsIt’s imperative to regularly check the oil and coolant levels. Check them with the bike upright so an accurate reading can be obtained. Check to make sure the oil doesn’t look ‘milky’ (water in the oil) or that there’s any residue or small bits of metal, which could indicate excessive engine wear.
General checksYour bike will tell you when something’s wrong or about to go wrong. It will either fail to start first time, or run hot, or perhaps run a little rough, but preventative measures can stop the problem before it starts.
Just cleaning a bike can show up potential problems. If the bike has a fairing, take it off. You’ll see if there’s any kinked fuel or coolant lines, you’ll spot a slack drive chain easier, you’ll see if the radiator is damaged or if there’s any small oil leaks.
We’ve covered fluids, now it’s time to check the air filter element. Many manufacturers expect these to be replaced every 18,000 km or 12,000 miles, but checking it early may stop any potential problems. Remove it and clean it with a can of compressed air or an air-line. Then, if it’s a foam filter, use Castrol Foam Air Filter Oil on it before replacing it. Also, check your battery regularly. A drained battery is the number one cause of a bike not starting. Dirt in the carburettor can also lead to rough-running, so regular removal and cleaning of these can help.
Grease it/cover it:
Electrical connections can be a weak link if they’re not looked after properly. Make sure any connections are greased or shrink-wrap covered so that water can’t find its way in there.
Service intervalsIt’s best to try to stick as closely to the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals. On older or simpler machines you can home service yourself, but this is not advised on later machines, which feature modern engine management systems and fuel-injection. Service intervals are often specific to certain machines, but a good rule of thumb is every 4000 miles, with major services every 10-18,000 miles depending on what type of machine you have.
What Castrol products could help you?More on 2T and 4T oils.
Other products:Castrol Motorcycle Coolant, Castrol Foam Air Filter Oil, Castrol Foam Air Filter Cleaner, Castrol Chain Spray O-R, Castrol Chain Wax, Castrol Chain Cleaner