Motorcycle season is officially upon us and the anticipation of that exhilarating ride has many motorcyclists eager to hop on their bikes. However, if your bike was hibernating for the winter in your garage, it’s wise to do a much-needed check up on your motorcycle’s condition to make sure it’s safe for the road.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and in spirit of that, we have compiled a list of what you can do to make sure your motorcycle is ready for spring.
Have a safe trip, Easy Rider!
Clean and Charge Your Battery
With your motorcycle not being used for several months, it is quite likely that the battery needs to be cleaned and charged. Check that the battery terminals do not have any dirt, dust, or corrosion on it. If there is corrosive buildup on your battery terminals, scrub it away with a wire brush or toothbrush and battery cleaner, recommends Popular Mechanics.
Once any cleaning is done, charge the battery by connecting it to a motorcycle battery charger and disconnect when fully charged. If there are any problems with the battery while charging it, you may need to replace the battery. The battery might be dead for good.
Look Over the Tires
A motorcycle’s tires can lose pressure slowly over time and a bike not used for several months has a good chance of having a flat tire. Low tire pressure can make handling a motorcycle very difficult — putting the rider in danger of an accident — and can increase wear and tear on your tires, according to Popular Mechanics, so it’s important to make sure your tire pressure is just right before you go out for a ride.
If your tire’s pressure is low or if there is a flat, fill the tire to its recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) level that can be found inscribed on the face of the tire. Make sure not to overinflate the tires or you may experience a blowout when you least expect it.
Also, check for any dry rot or cracks in the tire that may have developed over winter due to a lack of use. If there are any cracks, replace the tires.
Good brakes are vital in helping to keep you safe and making sure that you come to a complete stop. You definitely don’t want to take a chance on riding with squeaky or worn brakes when zooming down the road.
When checking your brakes, make sure that both the hand and foot brakes work properly without any hiccups. Listen for any screeching or scraping sounds that may help you identify if there is a problem.
Also, inspect your brake lines for any leaks or cracks and also make sure that your brake-fluid reservoir is full, according to Popular Mechanics.
Your bike’s drive chain must always be at the right tension or it can cause significant damage to your motorcycle. Check your chain for any excess slack or tightness. Lubricate and adjust the chain to the owner’s manual specifications or have a trusted mechanic do so, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
When inspecting the chain, make sure to also be on the lookout for any damaged teeth. Broken teeth can cause the chain to roll off the sprocket and may ruin the engine. Replace any damaged chains immediately before taking the bike out onto the road.
Motorcycles require lots of fluid in order to produce a smooth ride and not break down on you. When a bike hasn’t been used in some time, fluids left sitting in the tanks may degrade, according to Popular Mechanics. Replace any oil, gas, and brake fluid that has a dirty look or a different color than the original content. Also, check all fluid lines for any signs of leakage and cracks.
Shine a Light
Working lights are important no matter what time of the day you ride your bike. When you are on your motorcycle, you must remain visible to drivers at all times, because sometimes they may not even be aware of your presence.
When checking your lights, take a look at all lights such as brake lights, headlights, turn signals, and emergency lights to make sure they are all working properly. If a bulb is not working or is too dim, replace it.
Also, inspect all lenses to make sure that they are free of dirt or any grime that can block the light from beaming out.
No Cable Problems
Motorcycles have tons of cables that connect to the bike’s throttle, clutch, steering and other controls. Make sure that no cable is broken, torn, or frayed, and replace them immediately if they are, advises the NHTSA. Also, check to see that none of the control cables are bent or twisted in any way.
Maintenance Makes a Difference
The excitement of taking your motorcycle out of its winter slumbering place and hearing the roar of it as it comes back to life may have you shaking in anticipation, but before you go full throttle, check to make sure that the bike is ready to hit the road.
Proper maintenance of your motorcycle will reveal a big difference in your ride and may also help to keep you safe. However, even though you may have taken steps to keep yourself out of harm’s way on the road, not everyone might do the same.
If you were injured in an accident by a negligent motorist while riding on your motorcycle, we may be able to help. To learn how our motorcycle accident attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.