It’s almost that time of the year that gets most riders in North America screaming, “Hallelujah!” Spring is only nine days away, which means (depending on where you live), it’s time to wake up your motorcycle from its Winter slumber. The first thing you want to do after removing your motorcycle cover and dusting off your bike, is prep it to get back into road-ready condition. Even if you winterized your motorcycle for off-season storage, you’ll want to make sure your bike is properly ready before you take it out for a ride. Here are five motorcycle maintenance tips for Spring.
Fill Up With Fresh Fuel
Gasoline can go stale, and if forgotten about can cause issues with your stored motorcycle. After a few months, the more combustible elements in gasoline will have already started to evaporate. This can cause your bike to run roughly or not at all. High compression engines don’t like this, and the old fuel will cause it even bigger problems. Gasoline sitting in your fuel tank can also react with oxygen to create varnish deposits in the system, which can clog your filters. Temperature change can also add condensation to your fuel tank, which can also cause serious problems.
Ideally, you would have either drained the fuel or added a fuel stabilizer to the fuel in your tank when you winterized your bike. If you drained it, peek inside your tank for any rust or muck that could cause you problems in the future. Fill up your tank with some high-octane fuel before starting it up, to make sure the gas running through the system is as fresh as possible.
One of the most common issues with motorcycles hibernating through Winter is the condition of the batteries. When a battery dies, its life gets cut short. Only a few battery drains can cause big problems.
First things first, if you have a battery of voltmeter, check the voltage at the terminals. With the engine turned off, it should be at least 13 volts. You then want to check the connections. If the terminals are corroded, disconnect the cables and start cleaning using a mix of baking soda and water. Brush off the corrosion and rinse the water. Make sure it is completely dry before reconnecting the cables. You can also stop the corrosion from coming back using a terminal protector spray.
For flooded batteries, you will want to check the water level. If its below the full line on the side of the battery, add distilled water until the desired fill level is reached. Do not use tap water because the chemicals and mineral can contaminate the battery. Don’t overfill it either, because the liquid will expand during charging, and will make a huge mess.
Now its time to charge the battery. I recommend using a low-amp charger, to keep you from overcharging and drying out the battery. High-amp chargers can damage your battery if you happen to overcharge it. If you hooked up your battery to a charger and nothing happened, it might be too far gone and time for a new one.
Check Your Tires
Checking your tires should be apart of your pre-ride checklist, but its even more important to make sure they are properly inflated and in good condition after your motorcycle’s Winter slumber. The air pressure most likely decreased, so you want to bring it back up to specification. Examine them for cracks and rot, and be sure there is plenty of treat remaining on them. If not, now is a good time to replace your tires so you have trusty new rubber for the long riding season ahead.
Please read our guide on How to Choose Motorcycle Tires if you’re planning on purchasing a new set.
Oil and Filter
You should’ve changed your oil when you winterized your motorcycle, but if you didn’t, now’s a good time to do so. Even if you did change it before Winter, you should do it again to make sure your engine runs smoothly all season. Change your oil filter while you’re at it.
Make it Look Pretty
You first ride of the season will make you feel good, so why not look good at the same time? Giving your pride and joy a good scrub and wax will help protect it from things like dirt, rocks and sunlight.
You must remember that with the season change, the weather is very unpredictable. Patches of melting snow and ice can make for slick and hazardous roads, so pay attention to the road and your surroundings. Now that your fuel tank is fresh, your battery is charged and your bike is clean as a whistle, its time to saddle up and go ride.