How to Prepare Your Motorcycle for Riding Season

After spending the winter season in storage, your motorcycle requires maintenance to be ready for the road. To avoid breaking down a few miles into your trip, understand how to get your bike ready for spring.

Inspect for Damage

Check the frame for cracks and make sure no animals have crawled inside the exhaust or intake system. Signs of an infestation include frayed wires or shredded seat material. Before hitting the road:

  • Make sure the electrical system works, including all switches, lights and gauges.
  • Check the steering, clutch and throttle for frayed or corroded components.
  • Clean and polish the headlights, so that other motorists can see you coming.
  • Get all chains cleaned and lubricated.
  • Check that the brake pads are at least 1/8-inch thick and free of cracks.
  • Make sure the brake lever is positioned correctly and operates as expected.
  • Go over your tires for any flat spots, bulges or cracks and ensure they’re inflated to the listed PSI.
  • Check that your tires have sufficient treads. Change the set if you notice shallow treads or balding areas.
  • Tighten all bolts.
  • Make sure your spark plugs are free of gaps.
  • Let the engine run for a bit, so you can listen for any strange noises.

Check the Gas Tank

During winterization, you likely added new gas and fuel stabilizer to prevent old fuel from solidifying and gumming up your system. Yet over the past few months, the fluid may have taken on a thicker consistency or picked up debris. To keep this gasoline from moving through your motorcycle:

  • Fully drain the fuel tank.
  • Examine the consistency and quality of the fuel. If you see brown, gritty particles, the tank may have rusted while in storage.
  • If the fuel is viscous or has thicker, larger, solid particles, it may have clogged or damaged the fuel lines, injectors and filters. This can lead to misfiring or prevent the bike from starting at all.

Based on what you see, you may need to refill with fresh gas, have the fuel system cleaned with an acid-based rust remover or get it thoroughly inspected and repaired.

Examine the Fluids

Oil and other fluids may have accumulated condensation during the winter that altered their composition, causing them to degrade and oxidize. To keep thick, abrasive sludge from moving through your bike, check the oil, coolant and brake fluid for color and consistency. Anything that looks off should be flushed and replaced before you go for your first ride.

Check the Battery

If you left the battery inside your bike, it likely no longer has a charge. Check the battery’s integrity and the fluid level of each cell. In a best-case scenario, you simply need to top off the battery with distilled water and charge it fully.

Even if you left the battery on a trickle charge, still check its quality and fully charge it before you ride. Afterwards, make sure the battery can still hold a charge. If not, and especially if it’s at least four years old, have it replaced.

Additional Steps

Along with your motorcycle, make sure your helmet and other riding gear are strong and stable enough to protect you during the upcoming season. Replace your helmet if you previously got into a crash or if it’s at least five years old. Any visibly worn or torn riding gear should also be replaced.

Also review your motorcycle insurance coverage to make sure it matches your riding habits. To make policy adjustments, contact an agent at HUB International today.