special tools for motorcycle maintenance

In this post, I will show you all the special tools you need for motorcycle repair and maintenance. All of these tools are the minimum required if you want to do your own services.

Just like a car, your motorcycle will require yearly servicing to keep it running in tip-top condition. A lot of these maintenance jobs you can do yourself. You can cover around 95% of all maintenance and repair jobs using these special tools. You may even have some already in your garage.

Special Tools for Motorcycle repair and Maintenance.

1. Oil Filter Wrench.

special tools for motorcycle oil filter wrench

Doing an oil change on your motorcycle is one of the most important service jobs you need to do every year. If your oil filter is wrenched on tight an oil filter spanner will remove it fast.

Some new oil filters have a socket head on them so that you can use a spanner or a socket to remove them. Otherwise, a good oil filter wrench will do the job.

Quick tip – If you find that your oil filter wrench is slipping just line it with thin rubber for extra grip. I actually lined all of my oil filter wrenches with 2mm rubber and glued them into place. Best oil filter mod ever.

To work out the size of an oil filter wrench that you need, just measure the diameter of the oil filter on your motorcycle. This is an essential tool for any motorcycle mechanic tool kit. Don’t forget the oil pan.

2. Front and Rear Jack Stands.

Cheap paddock stand rear Yamaha MT-07

Front and rear jack stands are cheap and they lift up the front and rear wheel of your motorcycle. This gives you a stable bike and makes doing maintenance a breeze. Lubrication of the chain is easy with a rear jack stand.

I use this cheap paddock stand for my Yamaha MT07 motorcycle. It really helps to make working on a motorcycle a breeze. Add it to your motorcycle tools and equipment list.

3. OBD 2 fault code scanner.

OBD 2 fault scanner for Yamaha MT07

Many new motorcycles come with an OBD2 scanner port that you can connect so you can find and reset faults on your motorcycle. My Yamaha MT07 has a 4-pin OBD2 cable to interface with Bluetooth scanners.

OBD2 scanners are great to check out fault codes, reset them, and reading different motorcycle live parameters. They are cheap and can also be used on most modern cars and trucks. All you need is a smartphone.

4. Torque Wrench.

Motorcycle torque wrench

Many parts of your motorcycle will have specific torque settings in the workshop manual. These torque settings mare the optimal tightness of a specific bolt. I have in the past broken bolts in half because I didn’t use a torque wrench. Now I use one whenever I do maintenance of my motorcycles.

Get the 1/2 inch drive torque wrench and use a 3/8 adaptor. This way you can tighten up large bolts such as swing arm wheel nuts.

5. Socket Set.

Socket Set 3/8 for motorcycles
Some of the special tools I use on my motorcycle. Torque wrench, Sockets, Allen keys, and Ring spanners.

A 3/8 socket set is the most used tool for my cars, Jet-ski, and motorcycles. Make sure to get one that covers metric and imperial sizes so you can work on all brands of motorcycles.

Extension bars of various lengths are handy to get into hard-to-reach places such as recessed spark plugs and shock absorber bolts. Use the sockets with your torque wrench.

6. Screwdriver Set.

A set of flat and Philips head screwdrivers are a very handy tool to have. Many tabs and screws need to be removed using small screwdrivers. Having the correct size is important to not strip out the screws. As an electrician, I like to buy insulated screwdrivers. They cost a little bit more but I find they are of better quality. A magnetic tip also helps to hold onto small screws.

7. Allen Keys of various sizes.

My Yamaha MT07 is covered in Allen Key hex bolts. If you buy the 3/8 Allen Key size sockets then you can use them will the socket set mentioned above and removing hex bolts will be fast and easy. You will need metric and imperial sizes depending on the brand of motorcycle.

8. Solderong Iron.

Portable gas soldering iron weller

If you are looking to install a tail tidy on a motorcycle you will need a soldering iron to splice in the new LED number plate and tail lights. I have a portable gas soldering iron as well as a normal electric solder station.

I really like the portable gas unit as you don’t need to run an extension cord out to the job site. The gas can also be replaced easily with just a cheap refill bottle.

This tool is a necessity when doing motorcycle modifications and upgrades.

9. Multi Meter.

INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital best Multimeter

A good digital multimeter is an essential tool for motorcycle diagnostics. It can help you find blown fuses, low battery issues, earth faults, and general fault finding. It is one of those special tools that every man needs in his garage.

10. Air Pressure gauge and pump.

Motorcycle tires are usually tubeless and will leak air over time so it is good to pump them up every couple of months when you are going to a service station. An air pressure gauge is handy to check the air pressure in your tires before heading out for a ride.

I have had a situation where my rear tire was only 10psi and it still looked pumped up. Having low tire pressure on a motorcycle is dangerous as the tire can come off the rim or lose traction.

You can get mini portable 12v air pumps that can fit in a motorcycle tool pouch or you can use a larger 4×4 air pump. Either way, keep those tires at the recommended pressure.

11. Motorcycle Workshop Manual

MT07 workshop manual
My Yamaha MT07 workshop manual

A good Motorcycle workshop manual is a necessity if you plan to do your own maintenance and servicing. These manuals will have step-by-step instructions on how to repair and replace every part of your motorbike.

Many now can be purchased as a PDF. This way you can search the document for a specific job or fault. Printing out a few pages of a service instruction is great to not get the hard copy dirty.

Check out this link for free motorcycle manuals.

12. Motorcycle 12v battery charger (Smart)

Motorcycle 12v battery smart charger

Every motorcycle rider should have a battery charger designed for these smaller batteries. I have a battery tender for my Harley Davidson Motorcycle that gets hooked up during the winter months to keep the battery in tip-top condition.

If you ride your motorcycle every week you won’t need to charge it much as the motorcycle will charge the battery. Once it sits for a while over say winter you will need to top it up to say once a month to keep your battery voltage from going low.

Once it gets under 12v sulfation will start to happen and your battery will not hold a proper charge and won’t output the correct amperage to start the motorcycle.

13. Motorcycle Chain Scrubber

Motorcycle Chain Scrubber

I have only just purchased a chain scrubber a few months ago and it is a real-time saver. In the past, I would take the chain off and clean it with some degreaser and a brush. Now I can leave the chain on and use the chain brush scrubber.

Motorcycle chain lube

Just make sure that the motorcycle is on a rear paddock stand and rotate the wheel by hand. It is dangerous to start the motorcycle and put it in gear when on a rear jack stand.

Also if you do start your motorcycle when on a paddock stand you can get an ABS fault due to the front wheel not moving.

Don’t forget to use plenty of lubrication oil or chain spray on your chain. It is not so much of a tool but a consumable that I use every few weeks. If you take care of your motorcycle chain you can get extra life and reduced wear.

Motorcycle chains and sprockets will wear out fast if they are not lubricated. Don’t forget to check the chain slack and adjust as necessary.

The only side effect of a well-lubricated motorcycle chain is any excess will be thrown onto your chain guard and rear wheel rim. Extra cleaning will be required.

14. Pliers and sider cutters.

These are more if you are working with electrical cables on your motorcycles. But often you may come across a cotter pin or wire tie that will need to be pulled out or cut off.

If you are racing motorcycles pliers are a must as many bolts will have to be wire tied back to prevent removal.

15. Open and ring spanners.

These are great for when you need to remove or tighten a bolt in hard-to-reach places such as installing aftermarket exhausts like the Akrapovic. Sockets are big and bulky and will not often fit into compact spaces on a motorbike.

I have started buying ring spanners that have a ratchet option and these are great in confined spaces where you can’t get a lot of movement.

16. Bearing Gear Hub Puller Remover Adjustable 3 Arm Jaw.

Bearing Gear Hub Puller Remover Adjustable 3 Arm Jaw

The reversible jaws for inside and outside pull or gears, bearings, stators, and clutches. These pullers are found in any reliable mechanics toolbox. They are not just for motorcycles but for any stuck-on tapered part. I even used mine to replace the wheel bearings on my trailer.

3 jaw pullers are good for spreading out the load on pulling a gear or bearing. 2 jaw gear hub pullers are good for getting into tight spaces. They are cheap and come in handy when a part is stuck. If you start to strip down engines and gearboxes you will definitely need these motorcycle engine tools.

17. Motorcycle mechanic tool kit

Keter rolling tool chest with storage drawers
Image keter.com

Now you will need a place to store all of your tools. So a good motorcycle toolbox is essential to be able to find all of your tools in one place.

If you have the room, I like the Keter rolling tool chest (Amazon) with storage drawers. This way you can wheel it out to your motorbike with all the tools you need. In my opinion, it is one of the best motorcycle toolboxes around.

I also like that it is a modular system so as your special tool collection grows all you need to do is purchase another module. It will click into place and lock securely.

These are the tools and equipment needed in maintaining a motorcycle.

How do I maintain my motorcycle myself?

Getting yourself a good workshop manual will explain everything you need to do and how to do it. It will also mention any special motorcycle tools you may require, The tools mentioned here are a good start to cover most simple service jobs.

Your motorcycle owners manual will tell you when to so periodically service checks such as:

  • Engine Oil Changes
  • Coolant flush and replacement
  • Chain slack and tightening procedure
  • Headlight globe replacement
  • Shock preload
  • Spark Plug removal and installation procedure
  • Air filter replacement

Is it hard to maintain a motorcycle?

No, as long as you have some basic hand tools you can maintain a motorcycle in tip-top condition. Most consumables are easy to get to. I can do a Yamaha MT07 oil change in 5 minutes. It is that easy.

There are many online video tutorials on how to service a motorcycle like the one shown below.

Do motorcycles need a lot of maintenance?

Like any vehicle, if you perform some basic maintenance your motorcycle will last a long time. Motorcycles are easy to maintain and only require an oil change, air filter once a year depending on miles traveled.

I like to replace my oil every 5000 miles or 1 year whichever comes first. Your owner manual will give you a good indication of the service interval of your motorcycle.

Obviously, there are many other parts to check like brakes, coolant, tires, bolts, air filter, sparkplugs, chain, etc.

Let me know in the comments below what other special tools for motorcycle maintenance you use. I’m sure there are many more.

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