Motorcycles to a very large extent are like us! That’s right. They are just like human beings. We need constant working, exercising and activities to keep our bodies functioning and our blood running. Same is the case with bikes. If your bike hasn’t been going out for a while due to winter, this probably would be the perfect time for a checkup! It’s springtime and I know a lot of you want to just hop on your bikes and go for a nice long ride. But there are a few things you need to check before taking off.
Was your bike sitting unused for too long?
If yes, this article is meant for you. There are many reasons your bike needs some nursing before going out again. First, you need to get rid of all the dust and rust she has had for company throughout winter. It takes some preparation to get it out of hibernation. But I recommend you to get it ready for springtime as soon as possible.
Did you keep a charger on the battery over the winter?
First things first! If you have kept your bike on a tender over the winter, your battery shouldn’t need replacing. If you didn’t, ordering a new battery should be the first thing on your checklist before you take your bike out for your first ride.
If you did put a tender on your bike when it was parked, I would recommend topping it off with distilled water. You can charge it slowly and bring it up to sniff before starting the bike.
Did you put a fuel stabilizer in your gas tank?
If you did put a fuel stabilizer in your gas tank, it would have helped the gas from spoiling. But it won’t help the gas from spoiling forever. Take a quick peek into your gas tank and look for rust, condensation or gunk that might have formed inside and could be troublesome later.
If you haven’t put a fuel stabilizer in, chances, hopefully you emptied your fuel tank. In either case, I recommend adding a little fresh fuel. The highest octane fuel would be a wise choice here to make sure the gas running through is the very best.
This is because if your bike is not running as smooth as it was before and there’s a good chance the fuel injectors could be clogged up, a little fresh fuel could clear things up. If that doesn’t remedy the situation, you might want to get new fuel filters and also get those injectors cleaned-up.
How are the tires?
Tires are the most important to check on this list. Dry rot and flat spots in tires are the most common problems when your bike is unused and sitting on a cement floor for a long time. If your tires have small cracking then they’ve dried out and will not have the traction needed, I would suggest replacing the rubber immediately. Tires also lose pressure if the bike is not used for some time, so check the air pressure too. If your tires are bald, change them! Do not take a second chance and remember, new tires will go a long way this spring season.
Did you change your oil?
Change your bike’s oil and oil filter immediately if you didn’t do it before laying up. Just like fuel, oil oxidizes and degrades over time. You don’t want to find out in the middle of your ride that your bike isn’t running as smooth as it should, because there is no oil. Or maybe there is, but you’ve got a lot of sludge accompanying it.
If you changed your oil just before winter started and haven’t ridden your bike yet, I would suggest checking the levels. Also, check for any moisture that may have gotten into the system. If everything looks okay, you should be good to go!
Is your coolant dirty?
You need to check your coolant if your bike is liquid cooled. Check the coolant level by removing the radiator cap. Make sure it is above the minimum level and clean. If it is dirty, flush it out and replace with a fresh mixture of water and anti-freeze, so that it doesn’t clog up the radiator.
Check your controls
Brake fluids tend to absorb moisture, making your brakes feel a bit spongy. Moisture can even seize your brakes up a little. Topping off your brake fluids can fix this. Make sure your cables for brakes and clutch are also tight and working properly.
Check whether your bike’s chain is too loose or too tight. It should ideally be in the middle. For more information on this, you can go to your owner’s manual for help. Turn your rear wheel and see if the chain is moving smoothly. Also, make sure there is no buildup of debris or grime on the chain.
Examine your sprockets condition and check for any chipped-teeth.
Check all levers, pedals, lines, cables, and throttles. Make sure everything is working and moving freely and smoothly.
Lights and mirrors are important too!
Turn signals, tail lights and of course your headlight, play an important role while riding your motorcycle. If your bike was sitting unused for a period of time, the bulbs in these lights could have gone out. You don’t want to find out about this when you are riding. Check them and replace them now if needed.
Mirrors can also get loose. You don’t want one of your mirrors to start shaking when you are riding on a highway. Check for scratches on your mirrors and fix them. Tighten them if you feel they are even slightly loose.
Check everything in detail again
A motorcycle airbox is a nice warm place to chill for a small rodent, especially during winter when you are not riding. Check your airbox if you have any surprise residents in there.
Tighten screws, check your bike’s frame and fairings, check your fork seals, and basically, take a nice long look at your bike and check whether everything is correct or not! You want to check and fix everything now, leaving nothing for later. Later only has a whole riding season ahead of you! All you should look forward to later is riding, riding and a lot go bike riding.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of this information or you just don’t know what the problem is, here’s where we come in! Hire us and we’ll take out all of the guesswork.