500 mile inspection/maintenance

From Ninja250Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

2008+ EX250J owners: Because of the different valve adjuster design on your bikes, a valve adjustment is not part of the first service. Pretty much everything else is the same. Check your owners manual.

Kawasaki lists a large number of service items which need to be completed at 800 km (approximately 500 miles). The items are listed in your owner's handbook.

Do you have to do each and every one of them? Yes. Each and every one.

If you find a mechanic who says they'll do the 500 mile inspection for what seems like a suspiciously low price, confirm that they will actually check the valves (which is very time consuming), get it in writing, and get the results of that check in writing (they should list clearances for each valve, even if it's just a "good/no good" type of listing) when they're done. If you don't see the results of the valve check, hold them to their written statement. It must be done. Some bikes are fine at 500 miles, but others definitely need adjustment, and waiting until 6000 miles could damage your engine.

Visual inspections are mostly easy to do -- things like checking brake fluid levels, looking for leaks, checking the tightness of obvious bolts, and so on. It's worth doing these things yourself, even if the dealership says they'll do it. You're the one riding the bike, and it's your butt on the pavement if something is missed.

Go through the owners manual and do as many of the items as you can. Anything you can't do yourself can be passed off to a mechanic or a more mechanically inclined friend, but make sure it all gets done.

But why?

Each of the items in that list was carefully selected by Kawasaki engineers as being an important thing to check at 500 miles. They didn't choose those things because they like making work for their mechanics or for you.

Here's an example: Check the front brake fluid level.

99 times out of 100, the fluid level will be fine. But that 100th time, the fluid is low. So? Well, low brake fluid indicates one of two things: it wasn't filled enough at the factory (or by you if you've already replaced it for some reason), or you've got a leak. Wouldn't you like to know that your front brake is definitely going to work when that SUV turns in front of you?

Another example: Check the tightness of all nuts, bolts, and fasteners.

This includes the nuts that hold on your wheels. And your brake calipers. And your drive chain. If any of those connectors comes out for any reason, you're going to find yourself doing a faceplant into the pavement very very quickly. Wouldn't it be nice to know that all of those bolts aren't going anywhere?

Finally, Inspect valve clearances.

The valves in the engine are the component which seals the combustion chamber and allows your engine to make power. If they're not adjusted properly, you get one of several results: 1. the engine makes less power; 2. the engine makes less power and destroys the valves (a $500+ repair); 3. the engine makes a lot less power (or no power) and destroys big chunks of itself. The third outcome is admittedly unlikely, but it is within the realm of possibility, even at 500 miles on the odometer.

Nearly every owner who has done h/her own valves at 500 miles has reported that some, or all, of the valves were tight. If your dealer says you don't need to do a valve check at 500 miles, he's either blowing you off or is clueless. In either case you should find someone else to work on your bike, such as a good, independent mechanic.