Are Motorcycles Expensive to Maintain? Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance Costs

Are Motorcycles Expensive to Maintain? Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance Costs

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If you’re not sure how much you’ll be spending on repairs and maintenance, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how much it really costs to own and ride a motorcycle. 

Overall Cost of Repairs

Experts say you should make repairs every 5,000 to 20,000 miles, depending on where and how you like to drive. On average, the cost comes out to around $1,000 a year, but this figure varies widely across the industry. Premium motorcycles with aftermarket parts tend to be more expensive to repair than cheaper bikes. 

The more you ride your bike, the more expensive the repairs will be. Going off-road only increases the chances of wear and tear. Mud, rocks, dirt and other debris will damage your motorcycle over time, which means more money for repairs.

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Your Repair To-Do List

The cost of repairs and maintenance varies based on how far you’re willing to go to prevent accidents and breakdowns. Obviously, waiting until you get a flat tire is more expensive than filling it with air before every trip. The same is true of changing the oil, maintaining the chain and other common repairs.

The list represents almost everything you may need to pay for within a given year:

  • – Oil Changes

It’s best to change the oil every 3,700 miles or so. Conventional oil needs to be replaced every 3,000 miles, while synthetic oil will last up to 5,000 miles at a time. Oil changes usually cost anywhere between $40 and $50 per visit.

You will go through your oil faster if you tend to take shorter trips or drive in the city. All that stopping and starting will condense the oil, leading to more frequent oil changes. Off-roading will also consume more of your oil, so be prepared to change it regularly.

  • – Brake Jobs

It’s best to go easy on your brakes when riding around so you don’t have to swap out the brake pads or motors as often. Brake pads usually last up to 40,000 miles, so you shouldn’t have to get your brakes fixed every year. The pads themselves cost between $30 and $50 for a set. Replacing the rotors is more expensive. Rotors and pads usually cost a couple hundred dollars or more. You’ll need to pay for a couple of hours of labor when visiting the mechanic, so be sure to factor in this cost as well. Most mechanics make between $80 and $100 an hour.

  • – Chain Maintenance

Motorcycle chains usually need to be replaced every 5,000 to 20,000 miles, so you might have to repair/replace them every year or so. A new chain usually costs between $100 and $250 as well as the cost of labor to install it. If the drivetrain needs to be replaced as well, you might have to pay more.

Your chain will deteriorate faster if you leave your motorcycle outside when you’re not using it. Cover it with a waterproof tarp to keep moisture away from your bike. Try not to ride in the rain or snow to avoid rust and oxidation. 

a mechanic working on a motorcycle with a socket wrench

  • – Changing the Tires

The tires tend to be one of the most expensive elements of your bike. You might have to pay between $200 and $500 for a new set of tires, depending on the make and quality. It’s best to go with thicker, off-road tires when cruising around in the wilderness. Avoid using cheap tires with poor or used treads to stay safe on the road.

You will probably have to change your tires every 3,000 miles. Of course, it all depends on where you like to drive. Going off-road will do a number on your tires, so stick to the pavement if you’re trying to reduce your maintenance costs. You should also avoid roads with cracks and potholes to keep your tires in mint condition. Avoid braking too fast and running over debris that could puncture the rubber.

a mechanic using a pneumatic impact gun on a motorcycle

Having the right motorcycle riding gear can also help you save money on repairs.

There’s always a chance your bike could break down when you least expect it. Use a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet to call for help so a mechanic or towing company can fix your bike on the spot. You should be able to hear the person’s voice over the sound of your motorcycle. Use a helmet with Bluetooth motorcycle speakers for a better listening experience on the road. 

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Repairing and maintaining your motorcycle is probably more expensive than you think. Use this guide to budget for unexpected expenses so you always have enough money to fix your bike.