Scooter Maintenance

Scooter maintenance is pretty important. It's even more important than on a car because the engine has to work harder and component failure can more easily lead to loss of control.

Perhaps the most important and easiest item of maintenance is to regularly check the oil level and change the oil at frequent intervals. I think changing the oil at least every 1000 miles is a good idea. The oil capacity is less than 1 liter and so an oil change costs about $3 and takes about 5 minutes. It's cheap insurance to keep your engine running for as long as possible. My manual recommends changing the transmission oil every 2000 miles or 6 months. Since it only takes about about 100ml of oil (which costs under $1) and takes a couple of minutes to do, don't skimp on transmission oil changes. I use Castrol 10-30W engine oil and Castrol 80/90 transmission gear oil. Which oil you use is less important than how often you change it, though I'd probably avoid using pure synthetic oil in a scooter, especially during the break in period. Once you have several thousand miles on the engine, a synthetic blend may be OK, but you should still change the oil regularly.

For details on how to change your oil see the Scooter Oil Change page.

Checking tire pressure regularly is also very important. Unlike a car, a scooter only has two wheels and tire problems can lead more easily to a loss of control and possible injury, so making sure your tire pressures are correct makes sense.

Though a standard maintenance schedule calls for checking bolt tightness every 1000 miles or 6 months, it certainly doesn't hurt to do it more frequently.

With any luck your "manual" will have a maintenance schedule in it, but if it doesn't here's the very minimum that you should do:

Every 250 miles or every month:

  • Check engine oil level
  • Check tire pressure
  • Check lights and horn
  • Check battery level

Every 1000 miles or every 6 months

  • Change engine oil (details here)
  • Check tires for wear
  • Check valve stems for splits or cracks
  • Check brakes and throttle operation. Lubricate cables if required
  • Check all screws nuts and bolts and tighten. Especially check muffler and exhaust fasteners and front and rear axles

Every 2000 miles or every year

  • Change the transmission oil (details here)
  • Check and adjust valve clearance
  • Clean air cleaner
  • Check and clean (or replace) spark plug
  • Check brake linings.
  • Check/clean/lubricate brake and throttle cables.
  • Check CVT drive belt for wear and cracks
  • Check wheel and steering bearings

Though not exactly maintenance, I'd recommend carrying a basic tool kit at all times. That would include the following items:

  • 3/8" drive metric socket set
  • Flat blade and Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Roll of electrical tape
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Pair of pliers
  • Pair or wirecutters
  • Flashlight (LED type for long battery life)
  • Short length of wire
  • Set of metric wrenches
  • Short length of fuel/vacuum hose
  • Spark plug wrench and spare spark plug
  • A few nylon cable ties

You can find some suggestions for inexpensive but useful tools in the "Tools" section of the Scooter Store

Though you won't find individual repair manuals for every different Chinese scooter, they are all pretty similar and many use the same engines. A couple of books which may help are shown on the left. The Haynes guide is probably the best general reference for the repair of "generic" (i.e. Chinese) scooters and is well worth owning.

Additional Resources