Coronavirus Quarantine Life: DIY Tips For Chain Maintenance
Published On Mar 28, 2020 By Praveen M.
A healthy drive chain means a safe and happy ride... after the lockdown is lifted
India is under complete lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing riders to be confined to their homes. In these trying times, maintaining one’s sanity is important and one of the productive things riders can do is take care of their two-wheeler. We have already explained how you can sanitize your vehicle with whatever’s available at home and now, we bring you some chain maintenance tips:
First, clean the chain:
Put your two-wheeler on a centre stand. If it doesn’t have one, find a wooden stick or bricks and use it to prop the bike from the opposite side of the side stand. That way, there’s support from both the left and right side of the bike. If you have another person with you, he/she can hold the bike up so that it doesn’t slip and fall off. Now, the chain must be cleaned to remove dust and gunk before it is lubricated. If you have WD-40 at home, you can spray it over the chain while slowly rotating the rear wheel by hand. Brush off the dirt using a toothbrush. All this needs to be done while the engine is off. Avoid slotting the motorcycle in first gear and tinkering with the chain as it poses a safety risk.
If you don’t have WD-40 at home, you can use a solution of water and mild soap. Use a waste cloth and brush to carefully clean the chain.
A proper chain lubricant is preferred if you need to lubricate your motorcycle chain well. Point the nozzle towards the chain and apply with even pressure while moving the rear wheel forward. Clean off the extra lube with a waste cloth so that it does not attract dust and dirt.
If you do not have a chain lube at home and the chain really needs lubrication, you can use a thick grade cooking oil as a last resort. However, this is only a contingency measure. We recommend you go to the service centre and get proper chain lubrication once the lockdown is over.
Maintain proper slack:
After the chain is cleaned and lubed, make sure the chain slack is about 1 inch. You can check your bike’s instruction manual for the exact figure. Chain slack is the amount of chain movement (upward and downward) when pressure is applied at the middle portion of the chain drive. If it doesn’t have the right amount of slack, use an adjustable spanner to loosen the rear axle bolt (do not remove it) and turn the adjustment nuts that are located at the end of the swingarm. Turn one quarter at a time on both ends to ensure the rear wheel stays balanced. To loosen the chain, turn it anti-clockwise and to tighten the chain, turn it clockwise. One trick to remember the process in a fool-proof way is by learning this, ‘Lefty loosey, righty tighty.’ Always make sure the chain slack is balanced. Having a loose chain will result in it coming off the sprocket and a tighter chain may snap at any time. Both are equally dangerous while on the move.
Ideally, drive chains should be lubricated every 300-500km considering how dusty our roads can get. When the chain is well lubricated, it reduces power loss, which indirectly plays a positive role in improving the mileage of the motorcycle. It also ensures the chain lasts long. Stay tuned to BikeDekho for more DIY tips to take care of your two-wheeler.