Here’s Why Your Motorcycle Squeaks When Rolling It


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Perhaps you are driving your motorcycle down the road and notice that you are hearing a weird squeaking sound. Not only is it annoying, but it’s also somewhat embarrassing. It’s not a normal sound that should be coming from a motorcycle and it’s sure to turn heads down the street all for the wrong reasons. On top of that, you may have it turned off and simply pushing it in to the garage and notice that squeak is still happening.

Why does my motorcycle squeak while rolling it? A motorcycle squeaks while rolling because of worn brake pads or caliper components that need to be lubricated, worn components on the suspension system, worn wheel bearings, or an issue with the chain and/or sprocket.

Some may think that a squeak on their motorcycle isn’t a big deal and in some cases, they may be right. The other cases, however, could indicate a more serious problem. Whether you think it’s serious or not, it’s always a good idea to investigate where that squeak is coming from so you know for sure the stability of your motorcycle isn’t compromised.

Why Is My Motorcycle Squeaking While Rolling?

So, if your motorcycle is squeaking while you’re rolling (which probably means you’re hearing it while you’re riding, too), what might be the cause? The most likely cause is an issue with the brakes. If your brake pads get too worn down, then they will start to squeak when you are riding, but you’ll especially hear it while it’s just rolling.

This is by design to indicate to the rider that they need to be replaced soon. If you hear this, take a look at your brake pads and see what condition they’re in. Even if the brake pads are fine, your brakes still could be causing the squeaking if you haven’t properly lubricated other parts such as the brake caliper components.

The sound could also be from your suspension system. There are various bushings in your chassis that do wear out over time. As they wear out, they can allow for some slop in the suspension components that allows them to fit loosely or move around more than normal. This can cause a strange sound. Likewise, bad shocks can also cause a strange sound such as squeaking. Thoroughly inspect your suspension system to ensure that everything is in good shape.

This could also be an issue with wheel bearings. If you do have bad wheel bearings, this is not something to ignore. You can push on the tires from the side to see if they have any sort of play in them. If they are able to move side to side some, the bearings probably are bad and will need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Lastly, a squeaky rolling motorcycle could be an issue with your chain and sprocket. If your chain is very dry it can cause squeaking. Also, if it’s not properly tensioned, it can cause some squeaking. To fix this, you can lubricate the chain and make sure that it is properly tensioned (click here to learn more about this). Also, if the sprockets themselves are beginning to wear, that can cause some squeaking while you are rolling or riding.

How To Fix A Squeaky Motorcycle

In order to fix a squeak coming from your motorcycle while it’s rolling, you will first need to figure out what the issue is. We have just highlighted many of the different causes for this and also ways in which you can identify whether that is the issue. One of the hardest things about identifying a squeak from your motorcycle is that so many different things can cause that squeak. You will want to be very thorough to ensure that you find the problem correctly without just guessing and trying different things.

If there is an issue with your brakes, all you need to do to fix it is replace the brake pads (if they are getting too worn down) and lubricate the components that require it. If you are replacing the brake pads, you will want to lubricate the brake caliper components anyways. Please refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on how to change the brake pads specific to your motorcycle. Each motorcycle can be slightly different as well as the instructions on what should be lubricated and how it should be lubricated.

If you have found that your suspension is the culprit to your squeaking issue, you’ll want to replace the components that are worn or bad. I wouldn’t recommend trying to “fix” these parts; suspension isn’t something you want to go cheap on. If something is wrong with it, simply replace it. Replace any worn bushing or shocks.

If you suspect it’s your wheel bearings causing the squeak, these are actually relatively simple to fix. However, this type of fix should be done correctly the first time! This is a component directly tied to your wheels, so please ensure you know exactly when you’re doing before you attempt doing this fix yourself. If you’re not comfortable with DIYing this, I do recommend taking it in to a shop and having them to it to ensure your safety.

Chain and sprockets are also fairly easy to fix. You may try simply lubricating the chain and see if that fixes the squeak for you. If not, check the chain tension. Each motorcycle is a little different, but the average chain tensions is around 20 – 30 mm, or about a half inch to an inch in slack. Worn sprockets should be replaced at the earliest convenience, you don’t want that going out on you during a ride.

Is It Common For A Motorcycle To Squeak When It’s Rolling?

Is it common for these squeaking sounds to occur on your motorcycle? It actually can be somewhat common. Brake pads just wear out with time and there’s no way around that. They are designed to squeak when they need to be replaced to draw the driver’s attention. This will need to happen every couple years.

Suspension components last much longer than brake pads but they also wear out over time. That’s just part of owning a motorcycle. Mechanical wear and tear will happen no matter what. As long as your motorcycle is performing as it was designed to perform, these components should last for a very long time though.

Just like suspension components, wheel bearings are also subject to mechanical wear and tear over time. As such, it’s not completely uncommon for them to go bad. Just like suspension components, your wheel bearings should also last a very long time before needing to be replaced.

Lastly, taking care of your chain and sprocket is fairly routine maintenance that you should be doing regularly already. As long as you stay on top of these things, it shouldn’t ever become an issue for you or cause your bike to start squeaking when you are rolling or riding it.

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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