Why Is My Motorcycle Squeaking? The 4 Main Reasons


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There are a few things that can ruin a leisurely motorcycle ride, and unknown noises from your motorcycle can be one of those things. There are noises that you should be aware of while riding your motorcycle. If they go unchecked, a fun ride could turn into a dangerous situation pretty quickly.

Why is my motorcycle squeaking? A squeaking motorcycle is likely due to worn brake components. If the squeak is not coming from the brakes, other possibilities may be from the suspension such as worn shocks or forks seals, worn wheel bearings, or loose body components of the motorcycle.

This article will be a guide through one of the many noises that we hear commonly while riding a motorcycle and how to tell if a squeak could be a safety concern or not. 

Why A Motorcycle Squeaks

Let’s say you are cruising through the neighborhood when you begin to hear a sound you have not heard before. This is unfamiliar and it’s not coming from the road or the nearby houses but from your motorcycle! 

Noises in general are probably one of the hardest things to diagnose to test accurately. Motorcycles are very loud by nature and there are a lot of moving parts that cause some noise by design. Even though motorcycles can be loud it can be easy to hear when noise is out of place. 

A squeak is not something Harley-Davidson or Honda want to have coming out of their bikes. In most cases, a squeaking noise is a warning. It is warning you that something needs your attention. 

The most common cause for a squeak can be worn brake components. Your brakes are very important when it comes to stopping your motorcycle and this is the first place I would check if you are hearing a squeaking noise.

The next most common place for a squeak is in the suspension. Your motorcycle will have its fair share of bumps in the road and let’s face it, you cannot avoid them all! Worn shocks or fork seals can be the cause of the squeaking noise.

Worn wheel bearings can also be a cause of a squeak. When the wheel bearing is at the beginning phases of failure you will hear a squeaking noise. Gradually it will turn into a grinding noise which can make the motorcycle unsafe to ride! 

Another cause could be loose body components on your motorcycle. This could be a loose exhaust muffler, a fairing, a headlight, or even a mirror. Regardless of which body part it may be, it is important to address it before it comes flying off your motorcycle. 

Some of these things may appear to be cosmetic, but everything here contributes to the function of your motorcycle in one way or another. If there is a squeaking noise, it needs to be tested so that you can find out if it’s something that needs to be fixed right now or a week from now.

How To Fix A Squeaking Motorcycle 

The best way to properly fix a squeaking noise on a motorcycle is to first test it and find out where exactly the noise is coming from. Do not buy parts to replace until you have found the culprit. Many inexperienced motorcycle riders/technicians will throw parts at a problem before they know the root cause of it. This is the most expensive way to fix a squeak.

While you’re inspecting your motorcycle for the potential squeak culprit, it’s a good idea to do a full inspection of your motorcycle anyways to make sure nothing else is going to be a potential issue for you on your next ride. 

For example, if your brakes are making a squeaking noise, you want to find out why so that your brakes can be performing at 100%. It could mean that you need new brake pads, have a seizing brake caliper, or simply need to lube the slide pin for your brake pads. 

Most of these things you can replace in your garage depending on your technical abilities. You could expect to spend $50-$400+ per wheel on parts if you can do it yourself.  If you do need to take it to a motorcycle repair shop, plan on spending $200-$800+ per wheel for a squeaking brake noise to be fixed. 

Let’s say the squeaking noise is coming from your suspension. It could mean replacing fork seals, a motorcycle shock, or a bushing someplace on the body of the motorcycle. If you are good with working on your bike you may get away with spending $100-$250+ on parts to fix this issue. If you are taking it to a repair shop, expect to spend $400-1600+ for a squeaking suspension noise. 

If you are hearing a squeaking noise coming from your wheel bearings, this is something you would want to address as soon as you possibly can. Wheel bearings can be fixed at home in your garage for $100-$200 on parts and a few hours of your time for installation. Taking it down to the repair shop would put you out about $400-$600+ per wheel. 

While it could be one of the many body/appearance parts on your bike causing a squeaking noise, it is important to note these will vary differently in cost according to the part that needs to be replaced. It could also just need a good tightening down and not a replacement. That is if you do it yourself. If you can find a shop that will hunt down a squeaking noise for you I’d expect to pay $100-$200 for testing to be done by a qualified technician. 

No matter how you choose to fix it, the most important thing is that it gets fixed! At least find out what it is to make sure it is not a safety component of your motorcycle. 

Is It Common For A Motorcycle To Squeak? 

While I wish it were less common, your motorcycle probably will have some kind of squeak if it is purchased preowned. Most motorcycles will squeak at some point. Again, it is important to understand what is squeaking before you go trading it in on another one. Some riders will talk about squeaking noises they have had for years on their bikes. 

It is important to know when it is time to fix it. As mentioned previously, if this noise happens to be related to a functioning part of your motorcycle, meaning it is a moving part that allows you to stop or accelerate, you should address it ASAP. 

If you cannot locate the source of a squeaking noise and it is getting louder over time, pull over and take your motorcycle to the nearest shop immediately. If you do not, it could mean your life. Noises that get louder as you continue to drive are saying “Hey! I need to be fixed soon or I’m gonna break!”  

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

It is important to note that these squeaking noises can be prevented. Making sure you do good inspections on your bike before each ride or at least once per month will ensure that your ride is not going to be squeaky. 

Making sure you are caught up on maintenance is key when it comes to squeaking noises. Whether you take care of your maintenance or a shop does it for you, it’s important to address maintenance as it is due instead of when there is a problem. 

Brakes can be taken care of before they squeak. Replacing your pads on time and making sure the slide pins are lubricated will take away the possibility of squeaks coming from your braking system. 

Suspension noises can also be prevented if you replace shocks when they are due instead of when they are blown out. The same goes for fork seals. If you notice that they are leaking, take care of them quickly as they can cause a lot more issues than just a squeaking noise. See our other article here to learn more about why your forks and/or shocks may be leaking.

As for your loose motorcycle parts, a good inspection when servicing it should take care of those. Give the motorcycle a good shake down, move accessories that may be attached, and see if they move when they aren’t supposed to. Tighten down mirrors and check the exhaust for any loose or rusted security bands. 

Riding like you have some sense also helps keep components from becoming loose or squeaky. Driving 180mph everywhere because you can will be really hard on your bike. Parts will get loose, and brakes will need to be changed sooner than later, and hitting bumps at those speeds will only damage suspension at a much faster rate. Drive safe and have fun! Your motorcycle will thank you for it!

Related Question

Is it normal for new motorcycle brake pads to rub? It is normal for your new motorcycle brake pads to rub and even make noise while riding or stopping. The sound the new motorcycle brake pads make will vary and the feel of them while riding will likely be a bit different for a while after installation. Learn more by clicking here.

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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