Are the warmer weather and clear roads filling your head with fantasies of revving up your motorcycle? To help ensure a smooth and safe ride, check off these motorcycle maintenance tasks from your to-do list before hitting the highway.
Remember: Always consult your owner’s manual, and bring your bike to a mechanic for extensive maintenance tasks. Proper maintenance of your motorcycle is critical to its safe and reliable operation any time of the year.
Oil (and gas) up
Don’t start a new riding season with old gas. Before even attempting to start up a bike, drain from carburetors any fuel that is more than six weeks old. Gasoline can evaporate and turn thick when left to sit, which can plug up carburetor jets and passageways. And remember to check the oil, even if you topped it off in the fall.
Check brake pads, brake lines and brake fluid before setting out on your first ride. Replace worn pads or cracked lines. Also, test front and rear brakes separately to make sure they are in working order and free from scraping or squealing.
Charge your battery
The most common issue from a bike sitting in storage all winter is a drained battery. While many riders remove their batteries during the winter and keep them powered up with tenders or trickle chargers, those who skip this step need to charge up before spring.
Inspect the tires
Nothing stops a ride faster than a flat. Check air pressure in both tires: Low pressure can make motorcycles difficult to handle while increasing tire wear and tear. Also, check for signs of damage such as cracks or dry rot; replace the tires if needed.
Wash your motorcycle
Give your bike a good wash and wax when you bring it out of storage. And pay attention to the details: A close inspection can help you spot small issues early on.
It’s been a while since you’ve been on the bike, so start slowly. Take a spin around the neighborhood and ensure that everything is in working order. Before you ride, also check that your riding gear (helmet, jacket, gloves) are in good condition as well as your motorcycle insurance. A little upfront time and effort is a small price to pay for a safe season on the open road.