For many motorcycle owners, maintenance is a necessary afterthought, something that’s needed to keep their bikes up and running. But for Harley owners, that’s simply not the case. Most owners consider their bike to be a lifetime investment, so they tend to value Harley-Davidson maintenance more than those who opt for other motorcycle brands.
Given that fact, let’s look at some of what’s involved in the Harley-Davidson maintenance schedule. It tends to be a little more elaborate than most motorcycle maintenance programs, but much of this is due to the quality and value of the bikes.
How Often Should You Service a Harley-Davidson?
For the most part, motorcycle maintenance programs tend to mirror those required for cars: Most new Harley owners think early maintenance is unnecessary, which leads to more critical and more costly maintenance down the line. But, of course, there are significant differences between maintenance programs for cars and bikes. For one thing, riding style and usage habits tend to influence the amount and level of required maintenance for bikes.
Another factor to consider is that some Harley-Davidson models are designed for use around town, while others are more suited for the open road. The former lend themselves to stop-and-go driving, while the latter tend to wrack up the mileage numbers, shortening the time interval between necessary maintenance visits.
So, how does the service schedule work? As a general rule, there should be a total of five visits within the first 20K miles, the first at one thousand miles, the rest at 5,000-mile service intervals.
Getting off to a good start with this schedule is crucial. It helps build a foundation for excellent ongoing care, and this, in turn, extends the life of your Harley-Davidson bike. Skipping a visit isn’t advisable with Harley-Davidson maintenance, especially if you’re a hard rider with a fast Harley that’s out on the road a lot.
How Do You Maintain a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle?
Given the need for maintenance, the next issue is where to have it done. There are three options here:
Although watching videos about Harley maintenance might seem like enough training, the risks involved in DIY maintenance are countless. Many of the so-called experts who make these maintenance videos claim to be experts, but they’re not actual experts at all. Some are pseudo-mechanic types running a website or YouTube channel as a side hustle. While this might be alright for a low-cost motorcycle, it’s not a good idea for a precision machine like a Harley. You wouldn’t ride your bike without proper motorcycle rider training, so why would you perform maintenance without any experience?
Independent Mechanic Shops
Now let’s tackle the independent mechanic shop option. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with these shops. Many of their owners are excellent mechanics who know their way around a Harley better than the average Joe.
It’s the last part of that statement that represents the potential fly in the ointment. Most of these shop owners and the mechanics they hire work with dozens of motorcycle brands, so although they might have more knowledge and experience than you, the odds of you getting a genuine Harley expert aren’t very good.
Now let’s focus on the dealer option. Yes, it’s probably a little more expensive, but you really do get what you pay for in this case. Dealer techs and mechanics know their Harleys inside and out, and they also have access to genuine Harley-Davidson parts, which matters more and more as you pile up the mileage and wear and tear. In addition to their knowledge and parts access, these Harley experts use state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose and maintain Harleys, and over time that makes a huge difference.
Are Harley-Davidsons Expensive to Maintain?
You know how much a Harley-Davidson costs, but what can you expect to pay for a typical maintenance visit? Expect a bill of around $400 for the average 5,000-mile service visit, depending on what services need to be done. So a rider who puts 20,000 miles on their bike each year can expect to spend around $1,600 annually for regularly scheduled maintenance.
During a typical maintenance visit, our Harley-Davidson technicians will inspect your bike against their service checklist and perform the following:
- Check the tire pressure and inspect tires for damage
- Inspect brake pads and discs for wear
- Inspect fuel valve lines and fittings for leaks
- Inspect oil lines and brake system for leaks
- Check engine oil levels
Are Harleys High-Maintenance?
Any article about Harley-Davidson maintenance would be remiss in not addressing the various rumors out there about maintaining a Harley: They’re expensive to keep on the road; they spend a lot of time in the shop; they have too many quirks, and so on.
So what should a would-be owner do about these rumors? Simple—check them out, but don’t panic. Some are strictly rumors, and many are old news that’s no longer valid. But if you happen to see one that gives you cause for concern, the best thing to do is address the issue with a Harley tech or repair manager at a shop and see what kind of answer you get.
Simply put, these people believe in the brand, and they believe in being honest about Harley-Davidson bikes because they know they’re quality machines built to go the distance. So you’ll get a straight answer, and if there is any truth to the issue you’re wondering about, you’ll be talking to the best experts in the world when it comes to effectively addressing it.
Meet the Harley Experts at Harley-Davidson of The Woodlands
Whether you’re a long-time Harley owner or a new rider cruising on their first bike, regular maintenance is key to keeping your motorcycle in top condition. And if your Harley is your daily driver, it might be worth it to invest in an Extended Service Plan that allows you to have your new or pre-owned Harley-Davidson motorcycle repaired by our team of experts for just $50 a visit!
The team of pros running The Woodlands Harley-Davidson service center is the best of the best when it comes to your Harley-Davidson maintenance routine, so don’t wait—visit our dealership team right off of I-45 in The Woodlands or schedule an appointment online today!
Harley Davidson of The Woodlands
Harley-Davidson of The Woodlands has been serving Southeast Texas for more than 20 years. We provide the Greater Houston area with new and pre-owned motorcycles, riding apparel, parts, maintenance service, and more at our state-of-the-art dealership. Whether you’re a new rider or a seasoned Harley vet, our friendly team of Harley-Davidson experts is ready to help you find the perfect bike today. Stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson of The Woodlands Showroom off of I-45 North in The Woodlands, TX.