Spring is in the air and you’re itching to get your motorcycle back on the road. Before you do, follow these recommendations to ensure it is tip-top shape for the year.
Perform Thorough Visual Inspection
If you store your bike outside, you may have unwanted critters in your air intake or exhaust systems. Dirt and debris can also accumulate on a motorcycle, even when it is covered for the winter.
Brush away dust, remove little critters, and spray your bike off with the hose. Examine cables for damage and fraying. Also inspect hoses and lines for leaks, cracks, or cuts.
Out with Old Fuel
Your motorcycle may still have old fuel in the gas tank. Drain out a bit of gas and inspect the color. Brown fuel is a sure sign or corrosion. Flush the tank and add fuel stabilizer to remove the remnants of ethanol or gas that can lead to misfires.
Change the Oil
Experts recommend you change the oil and filter even if you did so before you stored your bike. When a bike sits idle over the winter condensation sometime builds up in the oil.
Check Other Fluids
Look at the color and consistency of your hydraulic and brake fluids. Replace them if they look dirty or top them up if they look good.
Inspect the Battery
Batteries need to be used to stay charged. If your bike has been sitting the entire winter, the battery will need more juice.
Top up batteries that aren’t maintenance-free with distilled water in each cell. Maintenance-free batteries can go onto a charger immediately.
Charge the battery overnight, and test whether the battery holds it. If not, replace it. You may want to do so if the battery is over four years old as this is the average expected lifespan. You wouldn’t want to end up stranded somewhere when you can easily prevent it and no one wants battery acid leaking on their bike.
Check the Electrical
Give your bike’s electrical system a once over to ensure all lights, gauges, switches, and turn signals work. Replace burnt out bulbs or gauges and resolve irritating shorts.
Oxidization causes cloudy headlights, less light, and less visibility. Motorcycles are already hard to see on the road, so why make them even less visible?
A mirror-glaze fine cut cleaner can remove oxidization and a UV clear coat will protect them so they don’t fog up again.
Check Controls & Brakes
Check the clutch, throttle, and steering and examine your brakes. If brake pads are worn to around 1/8 inch, replace them. Test the brake lever and adjust as necessary.
Clean & Lube the Chain
If your bike has a chain, dip a brush in degreaser and run it along it until it is free of mud and debris. Rinse with clean degreaser and wipe clean with a rag. Lubricate the sprocket side. Test for slack, and adjust according to the manufacturer’s specification.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Rhode Island’s 25/50/25 motorcycle insurance minimums are inadequate and if your policy falls short, you will be responsible for all additional costs. A serious injury or major damage to someone’s property could easily exceed those limits.
Rhode Island practices “at-fault” law which means you are liable for damages if you are found to be the person responsible for the accident. Without proper insurance coverage, one incident could ruin your life.