5 Reasons Why A Motorcycle Squeaks When Accelerating


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Have you ever been riding your motorcycle down the road and noticed that it started making a strange squeaking sound while you were accelerating? Do you have any clue what might be causing that? 

What makes a motorcycle squeak when accelerating?  A squeaking sound while accelerating a motorcycle can happen because of a loose or worn drive chain, worn sprockets, a misaligned chain, worn brakes, a warped rotor, or worn suspension components. Squeaks on a motorcycle should be addressed quickly since most of the potential components causing the issue are essential for riding safely.

Everyone has heard the joke about when you’re driving around in your car, and it makes a funny sound so you turn up the radio so you can’t hear it. Unfortunately, in a motorcycle you can’t do that. While some motorcycles may have sound systems, you are still seated so closely to the engine and other components that you can hear everything pretty well.

All jokes aside, strange sounds coming from your motorcycle can be frustrating and annoying. These strange sounds should be taken seriously and looked into since ignoring them can lead to more damage.

We will walk you through what can cause this squeak sound while accelerating on your motorcycle, what you can do to fix it, what you can do to prevent it from happening again, and the commonality of this specific sound. Let’s get started!

Why Is My Motorcycle Squeaking When Accelerating? A Deeper Dive

So, your motorcycle has just started making an annoying squeaking sound when you’re accelerating. First, we need to know what could be causing that before we jump into any sort of repairs. There are several different things that can cause this problem so we will have to do some diagnosis in order to find the true cause of the problem.

The most common reason for a motorcycle to squeak upon acceleration is from the chain and sprockets. If the drive chain is loose or worn badly, it can create a squeaking sound as it rubs against the sprockets. Likewise, if the sprockets are worn, you might have them start to slip which can also cause a squeaking sound. Lastly, the chain could be misaligned with the front and rear sprockets. This can also result in squeaking when the chain is under tension. These issues can be resolved by either tightening and lubricating the chain or replacing components entirely.

The next potential cause of a squeaky acceleration is your motorcycle’s brakes. If your brake pads are worn, they can cause a squeaking sound. Brake pads are designed with a metal indicator that gives off a high-pitched warning squeak to indicate to the rider that the pads are getting to their minimum thickness. Essentially, the metal indicator is beginning to come in contact with the metal rotor. This is most commonly heard upon acceleration.

Another brake issue I’ve personally had to deal with is warped rotors.  With every rotation, the brakes will squeak slightly since some of the rotor’s surface is more pressed up against the brakes.  In order to fix warped rotors, it’s easiest to just replace them. This is a fairly common issue on older motorcycles.

This could also be a problem with your motorcycle’s suspension. If suspension components are worn, aren’t lubricated well, or damaged, they may squeak. Accelerating on your motorcycle can manifest this problem since you’re moving more which ultimately engages the suspension more.

The last potential cause of a squeak while accelerating on your motorcycle would be a loose bolt somewhere on the motorcycle. As you accelerate, your motorcycle will vibrate as it goes across the road. Bolts could vibrate themselves loose and start to sit unbolted. Whatever these bolts are holding in could potentially cause some squeaking.

How Can I Fix This Squeak?

So, if you’ve identified one of the things that we’ve talked about as the issue, what can you do to fix them?  Let’s start off with the chain issues that we mentioned. First, you will need to evaluate what exactly is the problem with your chain and sprocket. If the chain is just loose, then you can tighten it up by adjusting the axle nut.

Proper chain lubrication goes a long way as well and can sometimes solve this issue. Unfortunately, if your sprocket or chain is damaged, you will need to replace them not only for fixing the squeak, but also for your safety as the rider. You do not want your chain failing on you while out on the road!

Secondly, we mentioned brake issues causing this sound. You will first want to take a look at your brake pads and see what condition they’re in. If they are getting low to the point where the wear indicators are scraping, then you know that your brake pads need to be replaced. This will hopefully take the squeak away. Other issues with your brakes can also cause this sound so if your brake pads are fine, carefully inspect your calipers and rotor to ensure you don’t have some sort of scraping or wear coming from those.

We also talked about suspension issues. This one will vary quite a bit more from motorcycle to motorcycle as they all have slightly different suspension configurations. Do note that if the suspension is the culprit, it is generally because a component is worn or damaged. 

You will want to inspect your suspension components carefully to see if you can find any obvious signs of wear or damage. You will also want to check things like how well your shock absorbers are performing and ensure that any grease fittings have the lubrication that they need. Click here to learn why your shocks are leaking and what you can do to fix it.

Lastly, we mentioned loose bolts causing this issue. This can happen over time as your bike bounces around on the road. This can be tricky to solve as you must find the bolt or bolts that are the issue. You will want to carefully check any suspect bolts to ensure that they are properly tightened. If you are having a hard time locating the bolt, you can try letting your bike idle and see if you can hear it bouncing around at all.

Is This A Common Problem?

You may now be wondering how common this sort of issue is. Don’t be too hard on yourself if this is happening to you because this is actually a somewhat common occurrence with motorcycles. I’ve owned close to twenty motorcycles over the last 10 years and ran into squeaking problems with about half of them.

That being said, just because it’s a common problem does not mean it is something that should be ignored. Squeaking, especially upon acceleration, is usually an indication of an underlying problem (like we discussed). This could be very dangerous if it isn’t addressed quickly. Motorcycles are usually pretty good at communicating with us about problems (sometimes a little too good), let’s not ignore what they’re trying to tell us.

How To Prevent Your Motorcycle From Having This Problem Again In The Future

Is there anything that you can be actively doing to ensure that your motorcycle doesn’t have this issue again in the future? As a matter of fact, there is. The absolute best thing that you can do to prevent this type of issue from occurring is staying on top of your routine maintenance. 

This means doing things like regularly following the chain torque adjustment procedure (every 500 miles), lubricating the chain (every 500 miles) , and replacing brake pads (every 20,000 miles). Remember, those 3 things were some of the biggest causes of your motorcycle squeaking while you accelerate. So those can be prevented pretty much entirely by simply doing the routine maintenance that you should already be doing. Then the likelihood of this issue ever occurring is very low.

Do remember that components can break or wear at pretty much any time. Your suspension components can break at any point regardless of how on top of your routine maintenance you are. So, while doing those things regularly will significantly reduce the odds that you ever run into this issue, it does not guarantee that it will never happen.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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