4 Inexpensive Parts That Extend Your Motorcycle’s Engine Life
I don’t care if you ride a brand-new $40,000 Harley Davidson Road Glide or you’re the 8th owner of a $500 Yamaha XT: Every rider wants to get the most enjoyment out of their investment as possible. The good news is that prolonging the life of your bike’s engine doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. Here are four cheap and easy upgrades that’ll set your motorcycle up for the long haul.
Magnetic Oil Drain Plugs
When your motorcycle is running, the constant friction of metal-on-metal moving parts causes tiny (and sometimes not so tiny) particles of metal to shear and drop into your engine case. It’s your oil filter’s job to catch these particles (along with any dirt and debris that makes its way into the combustion chamber) before they circulate back around and cause increased wear and tear inside your engine. Not every particle gets captured, however, which is why swapping out your OEM drain plug for a magnetic replacement is a smart idea.
Heavy metals naturally sink down to the bottom of your crankcase, and your magnetic drain plug lays waiting to catch them. This keeps excess metal out of your lubrication system between oil changes, and also helps capture any tiny metal bits that could linger in the crankcase even after draining old oil. Magnetic drain plugs are dirt cheap, yet there’s no denying their effectiveness: Just take a look at the tip of your new drain plug every time you change your oil: You’ll be shocked at how many little shavings are hanging off the end of the magnet.
Oil Filter Magnets
Oil filter magnets are small circular magnets that fit between the sealing ring of your oil filter and the interior threads. It might sound like overkill, but consider this: Your typical oil filter magnet costs somewhere between $5 and $10, lasts literally forever, and can capture metallic debris as small as a single micron (more on those below). Even if this “little helper” only extends the life of your motorcycle engine by a few hundred miles, can you really afford not to buy one? Personally, I’m a fan of cheap insurance, and it doesn’t get much cheaper than an oil filter magnet.
Stainless Steel Oil Filter
Are we starting to see a pattern here? Similar to the two products above, your oil filter’s job is to strain out the little bits of metal, dirt, and debris that accumulate in your oil over time as your engine does its thing thousands of times per minute. Your average OEM paper filter traps particles down to around 90-100 microns (your average particle of sand is around 130 microns). Cheaper budget/knock-off filters typically operate somewhere in the 200-300 micron range (which is terrible for your motor). A high-quality stainless steel oil filter from reputable brands like Warp 9, Moose Racing, and Arlen Ness traps particles down to 35 microns consistently while still maintaining optimal oil flow. What’s even better is that although these filters typically cost around three to five times as much as a conventional paper filter, they last for the life of your bike because they can be easily cleaned between oil changes using a little solvent and compressed air.
Aftermarket Air Filter
Prolonging the life of your engine ultimately comes down to three factors: Don’t bang off the rev limiter all the time, stay on top of your routine maintenance, and keep bad stuff from getting inside the motor. The oil filtration parts above are a great start, but upping the protection inside your airbox is another cheap but effective way to get the most out of your engine. When it comes to upgrading your OEM air filter, there are a few ways to go about it.
The first (and most popular) is to swap out the stock paper or foam filter with a high-quality woven cotton filter like a K&N. These filters provide improved protection (and often improved airflow) over the OEM components, and as an added bonus, they’re designed to be cleaned and reused for the life of the motorcycle.
Your second option is typically a multi-density foam filter. Brands like No-Toil, Twin Air, and DT1 all specialize in this type of protection, which implement multiple types of foam in each filter to improve protection from fine particles while also boosting overall airflow to the motor (everyone likes more power, right?). These filters don’t last “forever” like the washable cotton types described above, but they do last significantly longer than an OEM foam or paper filter, and also offering significantly increased protection for the life of the filter.
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