I have mentioned a few tips I follow formaintainingabike.I am a certifiedANc (Automobile Nutcase) J who is extremely fussy about my automobiles. Whatever is mentioned below is what I personally follow, its not hearsay or stuff pinched from some place. I have focused on two aspects
1) Appearance of paintwork, reducing corrosion (A real bugbear in Mumbai) &
2) Mileage, Carburetor related.
I had read a lot of rah rah rah about the GREAT quality of the Hero Honda bikes in auto magazines, so when I took delivery of my bike, I was quite disappointed. In fact I would equate the quality of my 2001 Splendor bike with the quality of our 1978 Ambassador car my dad bought. Now do u get the picture. I took delivery of my bike in June by the end of that month there were showers in Mumbai & hey presto there was corrosion @ all the weld joint as well in the chrome plated parts !!!!!!!. I was disappointed but this is India and this is what one gets around here. So all u can do is find a solution for this problem. (More of that later)
To get good mileage the quality of petrol is important which can be dicey in Mumbai (It’s true) An important thing to remember is that never raise the engine of a bike/scooter/car when u start it first thing in the morning, that’s the worst thing u can do. The oil in an engine sinks to the bottom overnight & when u start it in the morning its bare metal against metal, till the oil starts circulating & hence reducing friction. (Many people who r used to 2 stoke engines do this for whatever reasons). Let it idle gently for about ½ to a minute till the engine oil starts circulating. Another point from the safety angle is it’s in the morning its always better to go onto a main road with a warmed up engine to avoid flat spots (the jerky motion u get when u try to raise a cold engine), so that if the need arises u need speed to get out of a tight corner, it’s possible which will not be the case if the engine is cold & does not respond immediately.
Another point I have noticed is many owners look only to the mileage covered as an indicator while changing the engine oil, please remember take into account the time gap between the two oil changes also. Also in a new bike insist on an oil change with every service in the first year or upto 2000 kms, EVEN if it is not recommended. Your workshop may try to discourage u on this saying u r wasting money, believe me its not so in the long run. It does not really cost much. In a new engine till its run in properly tends to shed metal particles which is collected by the engine oil & should be trapped in the oil filter, but some fine particles always move around in the oil, so now u see why its better to change ur engine oil with EVERY service in the first year. AND insist in getting the oil filter cleaned when the oil is changed.. This ‘SMALL’ job is ignored by many (to finish a job quickly) mechanics much to the detriment of the bike owner. At the authorized Hero Honda workshop where I give my bike for servicing, they use engine oil to lubricate the chain whereas the manual says it should be gear oil (EP 90) take care the right grade of oil is used to lubricate your machine.
For a new bike the ordinary petrol is good enough, but after some time maybe 8 - 10 months u can start using the 'special petrol' like (as gum from the petrol starts forming in the tank & carb)
IOC's Xtra Premium 91 octane,
BPCL Speed 93
When I use Xtra premium petrol I use it 'neat' & when I use Speed 93 I also mix it with ordinary approx 50/50 it can be used ‘neat’ too (only to get more fuel for my buck). Most dealers/workshops will tell u that it’s bad for the bike. That’s a load of BULL Their gripe is they find a lot of gum deposits in the carb which they have to clean, (more work hence the complaints) so these jokers think it is bad. But that’s what these additives in the petrol r supposed to do! so initially the performance may drop but once all the gum is cleaned out performance will improve. When u put these petrol the additives in them will first clean the tank of gum deposits which will land up in the carb naturally till they r burnt out in the engine. U might have to clean the carb of gum (if it hinders performance too much). But once these fuels r used on a regular basis u should not have any problem. Another school of thought is that the high-octane fuels should not be used in these bike/scooter engines. This is again a load of rubbish. I wonder how many people know that when Hero Honda first came out with their CD100 this engine gave the Jap testers 100 kms/ltr in Japan coz of the better quality of fuel there. Incidentally I have used 93 oct petrol in an ambassador engine and got better performance & mileage and that’s in the ‘70’s. The new engines available nowadays have a higher compression ration (than an Amby) & can take these fuels. Incidentally from 1st April 2005 11 cities will get Euro III fuels (including Mumbai) where ordinary petrol will become 91 oct from the current 87 oct. If u want u can clean the carb urself (I do it). I use ABRO carb cleaner (even STP is a good one, used it before).
This is how you do it.
1) Disconnect the fuel tank from the carb, the rubber tub after the fuel cock is removed.
2) Then empty the carb of fuel. Collect it in a bottle & put in back in the tank (it costs a bomb nowadays :)). The carb has a screw to empty the carb in case of overflowing, open the screw & fuel will flow out of the tube leading to the bottom. Tighten the screw.
3) Now that the carb is empty. Do this; connect the thin plastic tube (tpt from now on, usually red in colour) with the carb cleaner to the nozzle of the can. Poke the tpt into the rubber tube u disconnected from the fuel cock (u will notice it leads to the carb) & press the nozzle to pump the cleaner liquid into the carb. U might have to do this patiently & slowly (may take about 2 --3 min). VERY IMP: U MUST ENSURE THAT THE CLEANER LIQUID DOES NOT COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE PAINTWORK, ELSE IT WILL RUIN THE PAINT. Also if it comes into contact with your skin wash immediately. If u follow these instruction u wont have a problem. All the gum deposits in the bowl of the carb will dissolve.
4) Reconnect the fuel pipe back to the fuel cock. Open fuel cock
5) Now start the bike let it idle, (the engine might die out sometimes, no problems, restart) let it idle now the cleaner is going thru the idle jet & cleans it. Then slowly raise the engine rev gently now the main jet comes into play & the cleaner will clean it.
6) Take the bike out for a test drive. IMP run the bike for at least 3 - 4 kms as the cleaners should all be burnt out, also the rubber tube thru which u fed the cleaner should get rinsed with petrol as petrol goes into the carb.
7) Ur carb should be clean now. Sometimes u might have to do this more than once.
In a worst case scenario u might have to dismantle the carb to clean. If u have to dismantle the carb u can use the carb cleaner on individual parts like the jets, float hinges etc. If u don’t have the cleaner then use acetone (nail polish remover) to do the same & then rinse with clean petrol and reassemble the carb. Usually above-mentioned tip should do the trick for any bike.
Now to get back to the solutions I have devised regarding the corrosion. Please don’t laugh it works and I use it. I selected a black bike so I could do all the minor touch up by myself. Since I wash the bike myself I constantly keep a close watch for new spots of corrosion. Under the seat inspection is carried out before & after the monsoon. If possible the rust is sand papered away (difficult @ the joints) if u can’t do that no worry and then I apply Touchwood made by Asian paints. It’s a transparent polyurethane paint meant for wood finish after its dry I then appl the paint (black in my case), this has solved my rust problem. I have even applied it on the chrome plated saree guard but here one may have to re apply, as it tends to flake off due to the sunlight. For the chrome plated wheels, before the monsoon I apply a thin film of car polish on the chrome plated wheels and let it dry DO NOT WIPE OFF. This should stop corrosion on the wheels; this may require touch up during the course of the monsoon. A word of warning it will accumulate dirt and wont be a pretty sight. That’s something u will have to forgo during the monsoon unless u want to remove all of it & reapply it again J. U can also apply a thin coat of oil on the rims to prevent corrosion.
I even apply car polish to the chrome plated handle bar during the monsoon, which is under a riding cover. Also while on the topic of car polish, u can shine up the matt finish fiber parts like the mirror, the fiber switch console on the handle bar and rear mudguard below the rear number plate. It will improve its look and protect it from the strong sunlight. I currently Abro liquid gold polish I have also used Turtle wax, Simoniz, Eagle 1 all are good.
To get a good shine of your paint work & protect it from sunlight. First wash ur bike (never in direct sunlight) plain water is usually enough unless u have stubborn mud stuck on your bike. If u use shampoo then first rinse the bike with plain water, then use the shampoo(again follow the instructions on the can) then use plain water to wash off the soap & grime. Wipe dry. After that apply polish (following the instructions on the can should be enough) the bike. Apply in small sections let it dry for a minute or two, (again in the shade) and then wipe off vigorously. I have seen ‘advise’ given elsewhere that suggests keeping the bike in the sun after the polish is applied to make it dry faster. Believe me these ‘fatafat tricks’ r detrimental to your bike. Don’t bother looking for exotic polish cloths Cloth from your old banian is enough. I use it, its soft and works very well AND disposable J after that use a ‘yellow cloth’ to give a final wipe. Some wax polishes tend to leave a bluish haze on dark surfaces especially BLACK, to remove the haze & keep the shine
After the first rub down sprinkle a little cornstarch (we know it as corn flour, I use ‘Brown & Polson’s plain corn flour, its used to thicken soups in the kitchen he he ) J powder on the polished surface & vigorously rub down, this should remove all bluish haze from the surface & leave a beautiful shine. Dust off any excess cornstarch powder left on the painted surfaces (IMP). This might sound like a joke but it works and I use this trick on a regular basis.
Tyres can be made to look new & shiny if they r coated with a tyre polish/paint. A word of warning NEVER use ordinary black oil paint to jazz up ur tyres. U get 2 types of tyre paint one, applied by rubbing it on with an applicator or second is sprayed on. The first is easy but when you are using the spray type take care that this paint falls on the tyre area ONLY, parts like bumper, rim, spokes should be covered up. I have also noticed that in my authorized Hero Honda workshop they apply the liquid polish they use on the paintwork, on tyres, it gives a great shine & muck which sticks to the tyres after this application comes of very easily with plain water BUT I am not sure of the long term effects of this application. SO BE WARNED. J What I have enumerated above is what I do for my bike, I hope its useful to all of u J. Whatever I have mentioned regarding care of paintwork & tyres can be safely used on cars coz that’s where I developed these tricks :)