Motorcycle chains have a tendency to attract dirt. Some more than others. You should always lube/clean your chain if it looks dry or rusty, OR if it’s become a gooey oily mess. Remember, you can add too much lube, and this will just attract dirt.

How To Clean Your Motorcycle Chain

  1. Use a brush and kerosene to use solvent to remove excess grime.
  2. Get the rear wheel off the ground so you can spin the tire freely.
  3. Make sure to let it dry COMPLETELY before lubing it.

Most manufacturers recommend lubing the chain every 600-1000 miles but this will be highly variable depending on:

  • Where you ride.
  • How you ride.
  • What the typical weather conditions are.
  • The quality of your chain.

How to Lube/Oil A Motorcycle Chain

  1. Make sure the chain is dry and clean when you begin.
  2. Make sure it’s warm. The o-rings are more pliable this way.
  3. Lubricate the inner portion of the chain where the rollers meet the sprockets.
  4. Use only enough chain lube or chain wax for a thin, continuous layer.
  5. Using a product like a Scottoiler can eliminate all these steps.

Your chain may require adjustments frequently or rarely. The more worn the chain, the more frequent adjustments are needed. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for chain slack. if you have a range to work with, stick to the looser end of the range.

When To Replace A Motorcycle Chain

There are a few things to look for when making this decision.

  • Is it really noisy? If it is, that’s evidence of internal friction.
  • Are there kinked links that don’t fall in line with the rest of the chain?
  • Is it rusty?
  • Use the factory spec for distance between the pins, which is the most accurate way to determine chain stretch.
  • Pull the chain from the rear sprocket. If you can see half a tooth, it’s time.

Watch the video below for a full explanation!

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1 thought on “When To Oil, Clean, & Replace Your Motorcycle Chain”

  • Fred

    Excellent article on chain maintenance. I suspect there are lots of riders out there, like me, who usually don’t have kerosene sitting about. How about a listing of cleaning chemical no-no’s that one might be tempted to use?