Informational Guide

Motorcycle Tune Up

Once you invest money into a motorcycle, you want it to last as long as possible. A good way to extend its life is with the regular motorcycle tune up.  

We cover a wide range of topics in this article, including how to tune up a motorcycle engine, the typical motorcycle tune up cost, and what motorcycle tune up tools should be used. 

In general, the motorcycle tune up is similar to the car tune up. However, what is a tune up in motorcycle terms because not all of the parts are the same? During a tune up, any worn parts are replaced to ensure the engine continues operating as it was intended. This process often includes replacing fluids as well.  

If the motorcycle isn't tuned up regularly, the engine and other major components won't run at optimal levels. Over time, the parts could wear out, causing you to need motorcycle repair. In addition to the fluids, the basic motorcycle tune up also includes the battery, plugs, tires, and chain. What is included in a motorcycle tune up? The answer depends on your bike type, how many miles are on it and what needs it currently has. You can opt for a basic tune up or get all of the motorcycle tune up parts to restore a bike like new.  

Is the motorcycle carb tune up cost and expense for all the work worth the effort? When you compare what you will spend on a tune up versus the cost of broken components, especially the engine, you see how this simple maintenance step acts as an insurance policy.  

motorcycle tune up

How To Tune Up Motorcycle (DIY Guide & Checklist) 

Before we look at how to tune up a motorcycle XRM 125 or another popular model, you must first gather your tools. A quick motorcycle tune up checklist will ensure you have all of the tools you need, but here are a few to consider if you want to perform the work yourself.  

  • Tire pressure gauge 
  • Air compressor 
  • Screwdrivers 
  • Wrenches, including a torque wrench 
  • Hex keys 
  • Oil catch pan 
  • Oil filter wrench 
  • Multimeter 
  • Motorcycle stand 
tools for motorcycle tune up

In general, learning how to tune up a motorcycle will provide the same steps no matter what type of model you ride. You can use these basic guidelines if you want to know how to tune up a 4 stroke motorcycle engine and bike.  

  1. 1
    Check all of the fluids. If any need to be replaced, drain the system and refill with clean fluid. When you change the oil, make sure you put on a new oil filter. 
  2. 2
    Perform a voltage check on the battery. If you don’t have a multimeter, you can take the battery to a local auto parts store for a free check. Replace the battery if it is dying. 
  3. 3
    Change out the spark plugs if they look dirty or corroded. Most spark plugs last about 10,000 to 20,000 miles. 
  4. 4
    Inspect the chain and sprockets. Clean the bike chain and lubricate it. 
  5. 5
    Inspect the motorcycle tires. If they are wearing unevenly or have imperfections, it’s time to have them changed.  

Whether you want to learn how to do a Honda motorcycle tune up or are looking for instructions on a Yamaha motorcycle tune up, these steps should get you started. You can find more information in your bike’s service manual if you need to go further.  

How Often Should You Get A Motorcycle Tune Up? (Signs It Is Time) 

Now that you understand how to do a motorcycle tune up, you need to know how frequently to perform the various tasks. Not all of them need to be done at each tune up. Here’s a quick motorcycle tune up guide that shows you how often they might need to be performed.  

Motorcycle Oil Change 

Every 2,000-8,000 miles (depending on oil type) 

Battery Replacement 

Every 2-5 years 

Spark Plug Replacement 

Every 8,000-10,000 miles 

Lubricate bike chain 

Every 400-800 miles 

Motorcycle tire replacement 

Every 2,000-10,000 miles 

Aside from these regular intervals, you also want to perform a motorcycle engine tune up if you are noticing rough performance or issues starting it. Aside from that, any handling issues should be looked at immediately, even if it’s not time for a tune-up.  

In some cases, a tune up becomes necessary just because things degrade over time. For example, the engine oil can only remain fresh for so long. However, there's also the chance that you have pushed the bike to extremes and caused parts to break. Either way, a regular inspection helps you head off any troubles.  

when is motorcycle tune up needed

How Much Does A Motorcycle Tune Up Cost? 

How much is the motorcycle basic tune up? You might spend less than $100 to change the oil and check the rest of the bike. How much is a full tune up? If you need to replace multiple parts on the bike, you could spend several hundred to thousands of dollars.  

The price isn’t much different between brands. How much does a Honda motorcycle tune up cost versus how much does the Yamaha motorcycle tune up cost? You shouldn’t spend any more on either model unless you take it to a professional mechanic. 

If you learn about how much to tune up a motorcycle and you want to save money, consider doing it yourself. The average cost of a motorcycle tune up is much less if you can do it at home. However, you could quickly spend more if you need to purchase a lot of tools.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does a motorcycle tune up take? 

If you just need to change the oil and lubricate the chain, you shouldn’t need more than thirty minutes. Adding more steps will require a little extra time, so factor each task in separately.  

How much does Harley charge for a tune up? 

You may want to visit a Harley dealership if you want a professional tune up. These dealerships can charge anywhere from $75 to $500, depending on what services are performed.  

Do motorcycles need a lot of maintenance? 

Between the motorcycle tune up kit and the tune up tools for motorcycle work, you could easily spend more on a bike than a car. Motorcycles need more frequent service than the average vehicle.  

What happens if you don’t tune a motorcycle regularly? 

If you allow dirty oil to circulate through the engine, the contaminants could create permanent motor damage. Additionally, running the tires, battery, or other parts when they aren’t functioning correctly any longer could lead to reduced motorcycle safety 


Using this motorcycle tune up list, you should have the steps required to get started. Continue taking care of your motorcycle engine, tires, and major systems if you want it to give you enjoyable rides.