Your Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance in Hot Weather

Jun 5, 2024

Tags:motorcycle maintenanceguiderentersowners

thermometer in the sky the heat Your Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance in Hot Weather

As temperatures rise, riding your motorcycle in hot weather presents unique challenges not only to your comfort but also to the maintenance of your bike. Ensuring your motorcycle is well-maintained during the summer months is key for safe and enjoyable riding. This guide offers a comprehensive look at maintaining your motorcycle in hot weather, helping you manage heat effectively and maintain optimal performance.

What You’ll Find Here:

  • Risks of Riding in Hot Weather
  • How Hot is Too Hot
  • How to Keep Your Engine From Overheating
  • Maintenance Tips
  • Advanced Maintenance
  • Riding Tips
  • Science Behind Motorcycles & Heat
  • Insurance/Roadside Assistance
  • Tips for Rentals
  • List Your Bike

Understanding the Risks of Riding In Hot Weather

Riding a motorcycle in extreme heat increases the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and more severe conditions like heatstroke. These conditions can affect cognitive functions.

The heat index, a combination of air temperature and humidity, provides a better gauge of how risky the outdoor conditions are. High heat index values, particularly above 90°F (32°C), necessitate additional precautions to ensure safety. Anything over 103°F is where you start to reach danger zone. 

When is it TOO Hot to Ride?

There isn't a definitive temperature that marks when it's too hot to ride because it varies by individual and conditions. However, if the heat index is above 103°F (39°C), consider it unsafe to ride. Listen to your body; symptoms like excessive sweating, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea are signals to stop and cool down.

Learn more information about how hot is too hot HERE. 

Keeping Your Engine From Overheating 

motorcycle engine coolant Your Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance in Hot Weather

Motorcycle engines operate best within a specific temperature range, typically between 180°F and 220°F (82°C to 104°C). Exceeding this range can lead to overheating, which may cause significant damage such as warped cylinder heads or failed gaskets. Symptoms of an overheating engine include a high temperature gauge reading, loss of power, or unusual engine noises, signaling a need for immediate action to prevent further damage.

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your motorcycle within the safe temperature range. This includes ensuring the coolant is at the proper level and clean, using the correct oil viscosity, and keeping the cooling system clear of debris. Riding habits also play a role in managing engine temperature. Avoid high RPMs, heavy traffic that can reduce airflow, and try to ride during cooler parts of the day. If overheating occurs, safely pull over, allow the engine to cool, check and top up the coolant if necessary, and seek professional help if the problem persists.

Regular engine checks should include changing the oil according to the manufacturer’s schedule, checking spark plugs, and ensuring all connections are secure. The coolant system must be monitored to ensure it functions effectively, which involves checking the coolant level and the radiator cap condition. Ensuring good airflow to the radiator is also critical; make sure it is free from obstructions like bugs or debris and that the radiator fan is functioning correctly.

For those renting motorcycles from services like Riders Share, especially in hot weather, it is vital to inspect the motorcycle before use. Check the coolant and oil levels, familiarize yourself with the bike's controls and handling, and plan rides during cooler times of the day. Post-ride, inspect the motorcycle again for any issues that may have arisen during use.

Learn more tips on how to keep your engine from overheating in the summer heat HERE.

Motorcycle Maintenance Tips for Summer

  • Fluid Management: Heat can cause vital fluids like oil and coolant to degrade faster, affecting performance and safety. Regular checks and timely replacement of these fluids are essential.
  • More On Oil: If you live in a hot climate, consider using a 20W-50 oil. This oil is thicker than 10W-40 oil so that it will provide better protection in hot weather.
  • Tire Care: High temperatures can lead to increased tire pressure and accelerated wear. Regular pressure checks and inspections for signs of wear or damage ensure better handling and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Battery Maintenance: The battery can suffer in high heat, which may lead to quicker fluid evaporation and shortened battery life. Keeping the battery terminals clean and ensuring the battery is charged can mitigate these issues.
  • Air Filter Maintenance: A clogged air filter can hinder engine performance, especially in dusty summer conditions. Regular cleaning or replacement of the air filter ensures your engine breathes efficiently.
  • Chain Lubrication and Adjustment: The chain should be regularly cleaned and lubricated to prevent wear and ensure smooth operation. Adjust the chain tension according to the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid slackness that can lead to mishaps.

View our list of motorcycle maintenance checklists here to stay on top of your game!

Advanced Maintenance

  • Cooling System Overhaul: Make sure your motorcycle’s cooling system is functioning optimally is key to preventing overheating. This includes checking the radiator for blockages, maintaining coolant levels, and replacing old coolant.
  • Comprehensive Electrical Checks: The electrical system, including wiring and connections, should be checked for signs of wear or damage. High temperatures can exacerbate existing electrical issues, leading to potential failures.
  • Brake System Checks: Brakes must be inspected regularly as high temperatures can reduce their efficiency, increasing the risk of accidents. Check the brake pads for wear and ensure the brake fluid is at the correct level​.f

motorcycle brake system check Your Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance in Hot Weather

Riding Tips in Hot Weather

  • Stay Hydrated: Use a hydration pack to keep fluids handy, and take regular water breaks.
  • Adjust Your Riding Times: Avoid the midday heat by riding in the early morning or late evening.
  • Take Breaks: Regularly stop to rest and cool down, especially on longer trips.

How Does Heat Affect Motorcycle Parts?

Extreme heat can significantly impact motorcycle components, making an understanding of thermal dynamics helpful for any rider. As temperatures rise, the engines and metallic parts of a motorcycle are subjected to increased thermal stress. Metals expand when heated, which can affect everything from engine tolerances to the fit and functionality of bolts and fasteners. This expansion can lead to increased wear and tear if components are not properly adjusted or lubricated.

Heat also impacts the viscosity of fluids within the motorcycle. Engine oil, coolant, and brake fluids all become thinner at higher temperatures. Thinner oil may not provide adequate lubrication, increasing the risk of engine wear or failure. Similarly, thinner brake fluid can lead to a spongy brake feel and decreased performance, while coolant that is too thin may not effectively absorb and dissipate heat from the engine.

These thermal effects explain why motorcycles often require more frequent maintenance in hot climates. Riders may need to choose oils and coolants with higher viscosity grades or specific heat-resistant properties to ensure their bikes continue to operate efficiently. Similarly, adjusting the tension on chains and checking tire pressures become even more critical as both can be adversely affected by heat.

Don’t Skimp on Insurance and Roadside Assistance

When planning summer trips, particularly long-distance journeys, makes it all the more important that your motorcycle insurance and roadside assistance plans are up-to-date is essential. 

For Riders Share users, our platform offers comprehensive insurance and roadside assistance. This service becomes available at the start of your rental period and includes support like towing, battery jump starts, and fuel delivery, provided specific conditions are met. Understand that roadside assistance covers only mechanical failures and does not extend to issues like illness or personal changes in plans. Each incident is treated separately, ensuring that users receive appropriate support for different types of breakdowns.

Proper insurance and roadside assistance are vital not only for dealing with unexpected mechanical issues but also for ensuring you can enjoy a hassle-free riding experience. Making sure these elements are in place before you embark on your journey can prevent potential disruptions and provide peace of mind. 

motorcycle riders on side of road with broke down bike Your Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance in Hot Weather

Motorcycle Rentals with Riders Share

When renting a motorcycle from Riders Share during hot weather, choose a bike that suits your experience and is known for handling heat well. Ensure the bike is well-maintained, and discuss any particular maintenance issues with the owner before heading out. This ensures both safety and enjoyment during your ride. Check out the largest selection of motorcycle rentals in the United States today and discover your next adventure

Let Us Make Your Bike Payment

Let Riders Share help you make your bike payment by renting your motorcycle on our peer-to-peer motorcycle rental platform today. Top owners can earn thousands every month, while the average rider can make a few hundred dollars for every booking! Remember to maintain your motorcycle, especially if you’re located in an area where the weather may take a beating on it. 

Conclusion

Riding a motorcycle in hot weather requires careful consideration of your gear, hydration, and the timing of your rides. By following these tips and properly maintaining your motorcycle, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience even during the hottest days. Always prioritize your health and safety by being mindful of the heat and preparing adequately for your rides.