What Is a Motorcycle Tune Up? – Everything You Need to Know

Is your motorcycle making funny noises, and you trust your guts that something is wrong? That’s a sign you should tune it up. But what is a motorcycle tune up, exactly, and what does it entail?

A motorcycle tune up refers to extensive maintenance done on a motorbike. It involves thoroughly servicing a motorbike, doing repairs, parts replacements, and fluid changes. 

A motorbike tune-up can be as basic as changing the engine oil and tires, aligning the wheels, and adjusting the brakes.

You can do a motorcycle tune-up yourself or have it done by an experienced mechanic. 

We recognize that there is more to learn about motorcycle tune-ups, including the cost, how often to do it, and its benefits. 

Let’s dig deeper! 

What Motorcycle Tune Up Entails

Professional motorcycle tune-up entails the following services:

1. Fluid Changes

While you should regularly check your motorcycle brake fluid and engine oil, inspecting and replacing the fluids during a tune-up is more critical. This step is essential for the betterment of engine performance.

2. Chain Inspection

Most professional motorcycle tune-ups involve checking for chain slackness and adjusting it accordingly. But still, this step entails cleaning, oiling, and even replacing the chain if it’s worn out.

3. Air Filter Changes

Air filters should be free from grime and all kinds of dirt. If such filth is present, the air filters will clog, which means you should clean them during a tune-up. If that doesn’t work, then the filters will need replacing.

Remember, air filters are essential for ignition and thus should be in an excellent working state.

4. Brakes Inspection

The brakes stage involves checking the condition of the brake pads. You must check the brake calipers and rotors. If they are old and less effective, you need to replace them.

The step also involves brake adjustment to ensure they are fully responsive and effective.

5. Wheel/Tire Inspection

Tune-ups involve checking wheel alignment, tire pressure, and tire wear. If the rims have visible damage, then you have to fix them. 

Tires with cracks or dents must also be fixed. Ensure you apply the correct tire pressure.

6. Other Tune-up Activities

Other motorcycle tune-ups include:

  • Bike cleaning: This involves getting rid of dirt and grime from the motorcycle’s visible parts like the wheels, engine, and frame.
  • Bolts and nuts tightening: Any loose bolt or nut needs tightening to prevent an accident or expensive repairs.
  • Oiling: All moving parts require lubrication to facilitate the smooth running and prevent friction and rusting.
  • Battery inspection: This involves looking for white powder on the battery, which indicates an unsafe battery. It also involves checking the electrolyte level and topping it up if need be.
  • Spark plug inspection: This step entails checking for carbon and dirt on spark plugs and replacing them if necessary.

Benefits of Motorcycle Tune Up

A motorcycle tune-up offers the following benefits:

  • Prevents breakdown: It’s easy to discover an issue with your motorcycle and fix it in time during a tune-up, thus avoiding a potential breakdown.
  • Prevents accidents: You reduce the risk of suffering a motorbike crash by preventing a potential breakdown. Motorcyclists who suffer accidents sometimes go through such events for not properly servicing their motorcycles.
  • Saves on expensive repairs/replacements: A tune-up helps you address a repair or replacement early enough before it becomes complicated and costly.
  • Increases bike performance and efficiency: A tune-up ensures that all motorcycle components are working correctly. It boosts the overall bike performance and efficiency. It’s like having a new bike.
  • Better motorcycle insurance access: Not many insurance companies will insure a rickety bike because it’s more high-risk than a well-kept one.
  • Increases the bike resale value: It’s easier to ask for more money when selling a well-tuned-up motorcycle than one in poor condition.

Cost of Motorcycle Tune Up

The cost of motorcycle tune-up varies depending on the level of service. Basic tune-up, which involves tire and oil changes and chain adjustment, costs $50-$100.

Complete tune-ups, including wheel alignment, spark plug replacement, brakes adjustment, and air filter changes, cost much more—sometimes up to $500-$600.

You can, however, spend less if you do the tune-up yourself.

How Often Does a Motorcycle Need Tuning Up?

The frequency of tuning up a motorcycle depends on the following factors:

1. Age of the Motorcycle

You should tune up a new and very old motorcycle (5 years and above) more frequently than those 3-5 years old. 

Bikes of all ages require routine thorough maintenance. You don’t want to neglect to maintain a newer bike and risk having it wear out too soon before you have enjoyed it. 

Here is a simple table to guide you:

Age of MotorcycleTune-Up Frequency (in months)
Less than 1 year2-3
1-3 years6-8
3-5 years6
5 years and above4-6

Table showing the age of motorcycle against the frequency in months for doing motorcycle tune-ups.

 2. Mileage

Ideally, you should tune up your motorcycle after 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on how aggressively you ride and the road conditions. You should, however, change the oil after 2,500 miles.

3. Motorcycle Storage

Where you store your motorcycle dictates how often you should tune it up. 

For example, if you keep your motorbike outdoors exposed to sun, moisture, and dust, you need to tune it up more often than someone storing it indoors.

4. Motorcycle Manual

Don’t forget to consult the motorcycle manual, as the bike manufacturer is likely to indicate how often you should service the bike. And if they service bikes, and at what cost. 

How to Tell if Your Motorcycle Needs Tuning Up – The Key Signs

You can tell that your motorcycle needs extensive servicing by checking for any of these signs:

  • Squeaking sound when braking
  • Slacken bike chain
  • Dirty engine and chain
  • Worn-out tires and repeat flats
  • Loose bolts and nuts

More importantly, you should tune up your motorcycle if it has been one year since you last serviced it extensively.

How to Do a Motorcycle Tune Up at Home to Save On Costs

While it’s advisable to take your motorcycle to a professional mechanic for a tune-up, you can do a basic tune-up at home and save on money. This includes doing the following:

  • Check the tires: The tires should be in good condition. Check for tire wear and low pressure and fix the issues accordingly.
  • Check the brakes: If the brake pads are worn out, replace them and if they are loose, adjust them.
  • Inspect the fluid level: Consider checking the fluids, starting with the brake fluid. Change the brake fluid if it has been a while. Do the same for the engine oil.
  • Assess the chain tension: Look at the chain carefully to ensure it’s not loose. If it is, adjust it. This is also the right time to clean the chain, which you can do using an old toothbrush and a suitable cleaning agent. You should then lubricate it with good chain lube.
  • Inspect the chain plugs: Look out for clogging by dirt and carbon on the spark plug. If they are present, replace the spark plug.
  • Check for loose nuts/bolts: Check to see if there are any loose nuts or bolts and tighten them using Allen keys and wrenches.
  • Oil moving parts: Look for moving parts such as the chain and lubricate them to boost their performance. 
  • Check the battery: Take out the battery and look at it closely to identify signs of white powder.  If the powder is present, replace the battery immediately. If the powder is absent, charge the battery using a battery tender/trickle charger.
  • Clean the bike: Give your bike a thorough cleaning to get rid of mud, grime, and dirt from the wheels, frame, and other accessible parts.

Basic Tools for Motorcycle Maintenance

What are the must-have tools for motorcycle maintenance, servicing, or tune-ups? The tools below must be in your motorcycle toolkit for bike maintenance, repairs, and servicing, especially if you do it yourself. (These are Amazon links – please support me at no cost to you.)

  • Torque wrench
  • Pliers
  • Rubber hammer (leaves no marks)
  • Screw driver
  • Front and rear motorcycle stands
  • Chain breaker tool
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Tire inflator and tire pressure gauge
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Old oil drain pan
  • Sprocket holder
  • Spanners


It takes extensive maintenance and servicing of a motorcycle to keep it in good condition, prevent excessive repairs, and improve its performance and resale value. It’s what motorcycle tune up is all about, and it’s recommended for all motorcycles.

People Also Ask

While we’ve shared the basics of motorcycle tune-up, there are several frequently asked questions on the subject. These include:

What Does a Tune Up On a Motorcycle Consist Of?

A motorcycle tune-up involves servicing practices like oil changes, air filter replacement, parts lubrication, brake adjustment, and tire changes.

What Does a Tune Do to A Motorcycle?

A tune-up helps restore a motorcycle’s proper working condition and make it fuel-efficient. It also boosts the bike’s life and its components by preventing breakdowns.

When Should I Tune My Motorcycle?

You should tune up your motorcycle every six months if it’s 3-5 years old. However, do it sooner if it’s older than five years or a new one. 

Alternatively, you should do a tune-up after 3,000-5,000 miles, but engine oil changes should be after 2,500 miles.

Is a Motorcycle Tune Up Necessary?

Motorcycle tune-up is necessary for preventing breakdowns and expensive repairs. Additionally, it boosts the motorbike’s performance, efficiency, and resale value. More importantly, it prevents accidents related to motorcycle component failure.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Motorcycle Tune Up?

A basic motorcycle tune-up costs $50-$100 in most places, while a complete tune-up costs $500-$600, depending on the bike’s condition. You can, however, spend much less if you do the tune-up yourself.

About Alex

Hi Friends! Welcome to Motorcycle Exploits. I'm Alex! If you ever had any personal hindrances or doubts about your abilities to ride a motorcycle, then you are in the right place, Mate! My desire is to help you overcome any fears and other personal struggles you have so that you, too, can celebrate your EXPLOITS!