Pre-season Motorcycle Maintenance Tips | Part One

For most people in the US, motorcycling is a seasonal activity. As the days get shorter and colder (and snowier), many bikes get laid up for the winter months. But with spring officially here, it’s time to bring those bikes out of hibernation. Here are a few things you should check before you hit the road:

Brakes

If your bike has been laid up for four or five months, there’s a good chance that your brakes may have seized up a little and that the fluid will have absorbed some moisture, making them feel spongy. We highly recommend changing the brake fluid and the pads too, if need be. At a minimum, you should do a thorough visual inspection and test them at walking pace. Clean up any surface corrosion from your brake discs and ensuring that any protective fluid you sprayed on last season has been washed off.

Battery

Hopefully, you’ve had this on a tender (more commonly known as Optimate) over the winter but if not, your battery probably needs a dose of TLC. If your battery isn’t sealed, check the water level (using distilled water to top up) and clean up the terminals (using a little grease on the connection).

Most times, a slow charge will bring the bike back to life. But be aware that long periods of non-use (like the winter ) can affect the battery and may ultimately mean that the battery will no longer hold a charge. If the battery is struggling to turn the engine over, or quickly loses charge, you should have the battery replaced – especially if you run additional electrical items (such as heated grips, a satellite navigation system or alarm) that place greater strain on the charging system.

Fuel

Ideally, you put some fuel additive in the tank before storing it away for winter but, if you didn’t, there’s a chance that the fuel will have “gone off.”  This can cause the fuel injectors, or carburetor jets on older bikes, to get clogged up. Start by putting fresh fuel in but, if it runs rough, you’ll need a technician to put in new fuel filters and clean-up of the injectors or jets.

At V&F

From repairs to regular maintenance, we offer the best motorcycle services in Western Mass. V&F can help you create an appropriate schedule that considers your bike’s age, your driving habits, and the manufacturer’s recommendation. Call us at (413)314-2280 to discuss preventative maintenance planning, or schedule an appointment online.

This is the first of a three-part series. Stay tuned for parts two and three, coming later this week!

Written by Nicole Palange

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