It’s a relatively common tale of woe; “I took my fork in to be serviced as it was making a funny noise, now the shop wants to charge me $700 for the repair and it was only two years old!” Unfortunately many are unaware of the maintenance needs—it's only discovered when it is too late.
Every brand will offer a recommended service schedule. Check the manufacturer’s website for the specifics as it will vary from one brand to the next and each model can have differing requirements. We’re using a 2013 Fox Float with the FIT cartridge but even if you don’t have this fork, it should provide some idea of what’s involved.
With this fork Fox recommends that you replace the oil in the lowers after 30 hours of riding. For the 2014-16 FIT forks, the service interval increased to 125 hours thanks to updated seals and oil. By swapping to the newer components on this 2013 fork we can now follow the longer service intervals (this only applies to the FIT models).
While it’s not rocket surgery you will need basic mechanical skills, the correct tools and oils as well as the model-specific instructions to complete this service. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, take it to your local MTB savvy bike shop and get them to do it for you.
Tool Kit Here’s what we needed for our lower leg oil change: • Fox 32mm wiper seal kit ($59) • Fox 32 seal driver ($50) • Fox 20wt Gold oil ($36 for 946ml) • Suspension grease such as Slick Honey or Slickoleum • Alcohol or disc brake cleaner • Syringe • 10mm socket tool • Various allen keys • Large 15-19mm spanner • Hammer • Alloy drift • Piece of dowel, thin PVC pipe or equivalent • A bottle brush, clean rags