For years I have heard customers state that flushing their brake fluid was not needed because “It is a sealed system” and the situation was compounded by some manufacturers (including HD some years back) not having maintenance intervals in the Owner’s Manual.
Here are the facts:
- HD has been using DOT 4 brake fluid for over a decade
- DOT 4 fluid is hygroscopic- meaning it absorbs water much like a sponge does
- Water in your brake system will reduce braking performance and also promote corrosion of the internal components.
Despite the fact that the brake system is designed to be sealed it is not hermetically sealed and therefore will allow small amounts of water vapor to enter the system in different places- generally at the reservoir, master cylinder and caliper piston seals. Over a period of 2 years, those small amounts will generally increase to 4% or more moisture content in the fluid and the only way to tell is to test it with a proper tester. While bikes that have been out in more weather will gather moisture more quickly and bikes that live in a dry desert will accumulate moisture more slowly, around here your fluid will generally fail a moisture test after 2 years.
With the proper tools, a good brake flush is straightforward on a conventional system (we’ll get to ABS in a moment) but there are some common mistakes that we see with folks using improper tools or not versed in the correct procedures. The most common mistake is simply spilling some fluid and not getting it cleaned up promptly and thoroughly as with time brake fluid will damage your paint. Other problems can be an incomplete flush that sometimes introduces more air than it removes, stripping the bleeder fitting and over tightening of the cover to name a few.
For HD’s ABS systems you really need Digital Tech to do a complete flush as that makes the ABS module cycle such that all fluid can be removed and replaced. If that is not done you are likely to contaminate that otherwise fresh fluid pretty quickly.
Have questions or want to know more? Send us an email or just stop by and discuss it with one of our service pros.
How about a coupon!? If you need some maintenance for spring, testing your brake fluid is a standard part of both our Full service or intermediate service. If your brakes need to be flushed during either of those services we’ll take $50 off the regular price. The price of safety is less expensive at All American! Simply Right Click on this coupon image to save it and print it. So that there is no delay in getting your paperwork ready, please give us this coupon or at least mention it when you drop off for service.
Hey, it’s cold outside…why would I buy a motorcycle now?
During this generally cooler time of year we speak to customers who are
asking us some version of the above question…so we thought we’d
answer it for you.
One of the best reasons to do your bike shopping during the colder
months is that we simply have more time to spend with you. While we
think Keith and his team do a great job with all of our guests throughout
the year, we just have more time to spend when things are slower.
Conversations can be longer and more relaxed with fewer distractions.
Our selection of Harleys may be excellent but it is generally more limited
during the warmer months. During the winter it is easier for us to find
you the bike you want. …and last (but not least) Mother Harley helps us
out with some factory incentives! Once again Harley has an extension to
the factory warranty giving you more protection at no extra charge. We
can help you with financing, too! If you are a recent Riding Academy
Grad, in the military, or a new rider, there are offers for you.
Qualified buyers have an opportunity to get 3.9% financing on a new H-D with $0 down options available! Obviously, some restrictions apply but this is a great deal for those who qualify.
There’s time to get that bike for you or your loved one under the tree, so what are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?
There are many misunderstandings when it comes to storing your vehicle during downtime and some of those myths lead some Harley owners to do things that are simply bad for their bike.
Myth 1: Start your motorcycle every week or 2 and let it run for 5 minutes – this will charge the battery and circulate the oil to help your motorcycle stay in good shape.
Truth 1: That is bad for your bike for a number of reasons. Taking your bike out for a ride of at least 20 minutes can be a very good thing but just starting your bike and letting it idle or revving it up in the garage is bad for your Harley and here are the reasons why:
1) Harley’s are mostly air cooled (even the Twin-Cooled models) so they depend on airflow to keep them cooled evenly- without that, parts of the motor get far too hot while other parts are still just getting warmed up.
2) Starting your bike uses a lot of battery power and depending on the model and charging system you won’t create more charge for your battery than it uses until you are above 2-3000 RPMs (and if you are not riding it while it is running…see #1)
3) startup actually creates a fair amount of wear- once oil is circulating that is reduced- so starting your bike cold a lot while not using it much just creates wear without the fun of riding- a bad deal!
4) Water is a byproduct of combustion so running your bike for short periods of time
will actually add water to the oil supply and if you don’t ride it long enough the water just accumulates instead of vaporizing and venting off. When water accumulates in your oil it ends up hurting the lubricating properties and goes from preventing corrosion to promoting it.
Myth 2: It is best to service your bike in the spring.
Truth 2: Most people ride a lot less in colder months and if your bike is sitting around for a long period of time while being ridden sparingly it should sit around with fresh oil inside rather than contaminated oil. After a full service, your Harley’s internal components have been coated with fresh corrosion fighting oil, and other lubrication points are also prepared to fight off the corrosive effects that disuse and winter can have. A side benefit is that come springtime you know you are ready to roll instead of having
to jockey for service space with all the other folks who put it off.
What you should do: Ideally you should enjoy your bike all winter– with the right bike and the right gear you can easily take advantage of the nice days (we always have them) and ride. However, if you can’t or don’t want to do that, follow the 4 steps for storage: Service it; Clean it; Fill it; Plug it in
Service It: As discussed above this will make sure all is in good working order for springtime as well as protect the vulnerable and internal surfaces from corrosion.
Clean It: Dust and dirt hold moisture which in time will create corrosion on all sorts of surfaces. A thorough wash followed by a coat of wax/polish will keep the exterior surfaces protected also.
Fill It: Gasoline oxidizes over time and goes from something that actually cleans while it creates power to something that can really gum up the works. The less air it is exposed to the longer it will last and fuel stabilizer will help it last even longer. Best practice is to add an appropriate amount of fuel treatment for the size of your tank then fill the tank completely and go for a short ride to make sure the treated fuel is in the lines as well as the injectors/jets.
Plug It In: A Battery Tender will save you money and keep the inconvenience of the dreaded “Click, Click, Click” at bay. Batteries that sit without a tender lose their charge over time—security systems, radios, and other electronics require some power and over time that small draw adds up and can discharge your battery quite quickly. Additionally, batteries will self-discharge over time and colder temps also reduce the power your Harley’s battery will hold. Conventional battery chargers can overcharge your comparatively small motorcycle battery and destroy it even more quickly than no charge
can!… so for a battery that will give you maximum life, plug it into a Battery Tender when you are not riding for more than a week.
Have questions about storage or how best to maintain your Harley? Come by and see us or feel free to send us questions via email.
Daylight Savings Time is about to start in a few weeks and it’s a good annual reminder to do some upkeep on things that may be looked over the rest of the year… like batteries. We’ll start with your motorcycle battery—If you are reading this it probably means you care about your battery, and if you care about your battery you are using a Battery Tender when you are not going to ride your bike for more than a week or so. Right?
(Ed. Note: If at this point in the story you are asking yourself what a Battery Tender is, you had better come to see us at All American H-D today to pick one up and we will explain it all. And be sure to check out the new pigtail that tells you when your battery needs to be charged!)
So if you are using your Battery Tender properly you can typically expect a Harley-Davidson AGM battery to last for 4-5 years or even longer. This is great news for those of us who remember replacing them every two years but there is a word of caution attached as well: If you use a Tender regularly you may not notice when your battery stops holding a charge well and an older battery that does not hold a charge as well will do two things- 1) It will overwork your charging system- often leading to premature failure of your stator and 2) It will die with little warning often in a very inconvenient place!
Fortunately there is a simple solution: If your Battery has lived for 5 years, just replace it in the spring; you have gotten your money’s worth out of the battery and you will save yourself the hassle of having it crap out at night just when you were getting ready to head home after work!
And when you replace your battery please use a Harley AGM battery! I know your friend might have a buddy who says the discount motorcycle battery is the same one HD sells just with a different label but he is wrong. He may be right about a lot of things and we are sure he is a great guy to hang out with but he is still completely wrong about this. We have seen a lot of people waste a lot of money trying to save a couple of bucks on a discount battery; don’t be that biker, you will regret it.
OK, moving on to your security system- if you have a Harley with a security system that uses a proximity fob (as opposed to the old ones that used a button), the fob has a battery that powers the transmitter letting your Harley know it is OK to start. When the battery dies, the fob doesn’t work and you are dead in the water. You can bypass the fob if you know your PIN and how the by-pass process works so you should learn that before you need it (come on by, we can help!) but the most convenient way to avoid the problem is to just replace the battery before it dies. They typically last between a year and two years but I find the most convenient way to make sure the fob is kept fresh is to replace the battery when the clocks “Spring Forward” in the Spring (this year on March 11). Put fresh 9 volts in the smoke alarms in your house at the same time and you’ll avoid that annoying chirping sound that generally starts at 2am the night you most need a good nights sleep sometime in the middle of the summer.
So, to summarize:
- Use a Battery Tender. (and check out the new LED pigtail)
- Replace a battery that is more than 5 years old.
- Use the HD AGM battery- it’s much better!
- Learn how to bypass the fob just in case.
- Replace Fob batteries when you “Spring Forward”.
- Keep yer smoke alarms in fresh 9volts while you’re at it.
If you see an ad for a tire claiming it was “engineered specifically for your American V-Twin motorcycle” that is proof positive it was not.
There are currently 4 different H-D chassis and that does not count the 4 more that were recently changed or discontinued! So which specific chassis was that tire “engineered” for anyway?
A few years back I spent the better part of three days with a senior chassis engineer from Harley-Davidson and during that time, we had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics; he had carved out the time in order to learn more about the retail side of the business from a dealer’s perspective but it afforded me a wonderful opportunity to learn more about these great motorcycles I am so passionate about.
Toward the end of our last dinner together I had no more questions so finally asked: “what is something I haven’t asked about that the average rider would be surprised to learn?” With no hesitation, he responded, “the huge difference tires make to how a particular chassis handles”. He then proceeded to describe the staggering amount of testing that goes into developing a new chassis and how they partner with a tire supplier to make sure they have a tire that compliments it properly.
At the time it immediately made me think of one of my bikes— it was an older model and the sport alternative tire that H-D recommended was no longer available so I had fitted a set that was the alternative for a different Chassis assuming the sizes were the same and the chassis similar so should be great. A friend had run these on the model they were recommended for and he loved them. To my surprise, I thought they handled poorly compared to my last set but they seemed adequate and I did not ride that bike often anymore so resigned myself to live with it.
Shortly after that dinner, I switched back to the OE tire for my older bike and found the handling just as it was supposed to be. This was not just your typical case of going from a set of worn tires to a set of new ones- the set I removed had very few miles and I was diligent with monitoring the tire pressure while trying to sort out the root of my handling concern; it was simple proof of that engineer’s assertion of just how important it is to mate the proper tire to your chassis.
A motorcycle tire is asked to do so much- it does not roll down the road straight all the time like a car tire, it also leans which creates very different demands on the tire. Also, given the much smaller size compared to the average car tire and the fact there are only two of them, the contact patch on the road is quite small- best not to compromise any of it!
Want to talk tires? Our Service folks are always happy to chat. Something that they will tell you about is the Dunlop Tire rebate happening from July 15 – Sept 3, 2018. Install a set of eligible Dunlop tires & get a cool $115 rebate in the form of an H-D gift card (see our website for all the legalese).
Director of Ops, All American H-D
As Memorial Day approaches, it is certain that you will start to see more motorcycles out and about all over the country. This year it is even more noticeable on the east coast since this has been the weirdest Spring in quite a while and the weather is finally evening out! We are so close to our Nation’s Capital and people from far and wide make their way to this neck of the woods to participate in Rolling Thunder. Make sure to check out the Open House and Ride To Rolling Thunder info on our Calendar.
In case you are preparing to ride for Memorial Day and you’re getting your bike flags unfurled, here is some info on the correct way to display your flags.
“When the US flag is flown alone, it needs to be at the center on the back of the motorcycle, or to its “marching right.” The “marching right” is on the right side of the motorcycle to the rider’s perspective when facing forward. If the US Flag is on your bike with another, it should be to its “marching right.” All flags flown with the US Flag are the same size and at the same height of the US Flag. While the US Flag is on your bike with several other flags the US flag is placed at the center and highest. Other flags should be arranged in alphabetical order and in decreasing importance – Nations first, states (in order of admittance) and territories second, military third (in order of establishment), and then any others.”
And from All American Harley-Davidson: Memorial Day is not about bar-b-ques and furniture sales. Take some time this weekend to remember those who have sacrificed all.
…and to all who serve to protect our freedom: Thank You.
Windshields serve several major purposes but two of the main ones are:
Protecting you from flying objects- rocks, bugs, the occasional cigarette butt, and redirecting air so that it doesn’t directly hit you.
When it’s chilly out your plain old windshield is a godsend but what about when it gets hot?
We often find our selves in the dilemma of wishing we had the wind protection we want but enough airflow to cool off that steamy feeling inside our riding gear!
OK- now you really can have it all!
The new Ventilator Detachable Windshield gives you the best of both worlds- that’s protection from debris AND adjustable airflow via clear, injection-molded vents!
Air can be redirected across your body for added cooling and comfort or when riding in warm weather or in traffic. Thinking about the next winter or in bad weather? Just close the vents for protection from wind and the weather. It’s a Harley Detachable shield so it can be removed or installed in seconds.
What is not to love?! Come see someone from the Parts department for fitment and ask about our risk-free trial!