The daily grind of work and family needs can put a heavy toll on our motorcycles, especially the engine. The heavy traffic, long commutes from home to work, and riding with heavy loads can cause premature wear and tear on our beloved motorcycle.
We may not realize just how punishing this is for the motorcycle’s engine because it happens every day. Yet believing your average engine can handle this punishment on its own may lead to bigger problems down the line.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you extend the life of your engine. These may seem obvious to some, but following them religiously can lead to big gains down the line and more years of problem free operation.
- Break-in the motorcycle
Extending your engine’s life starts as soon as you get the bike from the showroom. We know how tempting it is to rev a new bike and go full throttle within the first few days. Yet these can have detrimental effects down the line. For the first few days, it’s wise to brake-in the motorcycle gently. For the first 500 kilometers, avoid using more than ¾ throttle. Avoid aggressive starts or rapid acceleration. If you have a manual, downshift sooner so that your bike doesn’t struggle to keep it rolling in a high gear. It’s a lot of sacrifice to make, especially with an exciting new bike, but these can help prevent more serious damage in the future.
- Clean or replace the air filter regularly
The air filter plays a very important role in engine operation. It’s important to regularly clean or replace it as needed. Many may think you don’t encounter much dust and debris in the city, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With many vehicles finding ways around emission tests and lots of littering in the city, the air is dirtier than you think. These dust particles can eventually find their way into the filter and even partially clog it, starving your engine of much-needed oxygen. Check your motorcycle’s manual for the ideal filter replacement schedule. You can also inspect it yourself to determine if it’s getting clogged sooner than expected. It’s always better to replace it sooner rather than later.
- Regular Lubrication
It’s not just the engine that needs lubrication, but many of the other moving parts of the bike. Naturally, one of the most obvious things to check is the chain. Yet many riders forget the other parts that also need lubrication. These are parts like suspension linkages, the swingarm, steering-head bearings, and wheel bearings. These parts may be better protected against the elements, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be clogged up by dirt. It’s important to ensure they’re working properly because they can also affect your bike’s handling, ride, and even fuel consumption. Consult your manual on how to properly inspect them and lubricate as needed.
- Regular oil change
This is perhaps the most important step to extending the life of your engine. Engine oils reach the internal parts of the engine, applying protection and lubricating properties as it flows. Monitoring your engine oil can clue you into potential signs of trouble. Make sure to check the engine oil quality and level before and after every long ride, by glancing at the oil window. It’s also a good idea to check it at the end of each week, even if it’s just being used in the city. Pay close attention to its color and consistency. Keep an eye out for any solid particles.
- Refill with the right oil
Get the right oil for your motorcycle that’s designed to handle the kind of riding you do. One of these is Caltex Havoline Super 4T and SuperMatic 4T for motorcycles and scooters. These engine oils, formulated with Havoline’s signature C.O.R.E.+ Technology, and ZoomTech, are designed to maximize engine performance and deliver smooth engine operation on all road conditions.
Our own test
We know all this is pretty hard to believe, especially since many other oils claim the same benefits. That’s why we tested Caltex Havoline Super 4T ourselves on our own motorcycle.
Our 2018 Yamaha Xmax 300 with 5,200-km on the odometer was performing satisfactorily despite its age, regularly returning 27.1-km/l. We were quite satisfied with its performance as well, easily accelerating past many motorcycles from a stoplight and coping easily with the extra weight of a pillion rider. Little did we know that this could be improved further.
After draining its old oil, we filled it up with Caltex Havoline. We opted for Super4T for motorcycles since it’s a larger 300cc and would likely encounter the same needs for low end power and idling protection as a big bike would in heavy traffic.
With the new Caltex Havoline Super 4T oil, we let it idle for a while, then took it for a ride around our neighborhood. To our surprise, there was already some noticeable changes. For one, its power delivery had improved. In the past, we had to squeeze the throttle quite a bit just to get it moving from a dead stop. With this new oil, we could twist the throttle considerably less to get rolling. There’s definitely better pickup at lower engine speeds.
Another change we noticed is the quicker warm up time. In the past, it would take a couple of minutes for the engine to reach its optimum operating temperature. With Caltex Havoline Super 4T, it warms up considerably quickly, getting to operating temperature within a minute of starting.
We’ve taken note of the fuel consumption too. As mentioned before, we’d regularly get 27.1-km/L on our daily 10-km route from Quezon City to Manila City. After a week with Caltex Havoline Super4T, that consumption has improved to 29.6 km/L, a difference of 2.5km/L.
How does Havoline produce these tangible results? Havoline’s upgraded C.O.R.E.+ Technology is Caltex’s most advanced and best-performing formulation. C.O.R.E.+ Technology was designed to clean and protect, in order to maintain efficient engine performance. Its built-in oxidation stability protects against oil degradation. It also reduces engine heat damage to deliver continuous and superior oil stability.
Another innovation included is ZoomTech. Found exclusively in the Super 4T range, it delivers better oil frictional properties. For the everyday rider, this improves clutch grip and prevents slippage, especially under high load conditions, and ensures maximum power transfer for enhanced acceleration.
Besides these features, Caltex Havoline Super 4T and SuperMatic 4T oils now meet American Petroleum Institute (API) SN standards, one of the latest and most stringent specifications in the industry. This means they offer increased high temperature deposits protection for pistons, better wear control, and improved sludge control in urban riding conditions.
That’s quite a lot of technical talk. Yet the bottom line is that these oils were designed for tough urban riding conditions, especially for major cities in the Philippines, where you need power early to pull away from traffic and squeeze into gaps, yet also protection against high temperatures and wear, when the motorcycle is forced to idle again at the next stop light.
Most engine oils are either designed for performance or protection. Yet Havoline gives riders the best of both worlds because that’s what we really encounter daily. You can certainly ride with more confidence knowing your bike can handle whatever the day throws at you.