With spring on it's way, it’s time to get your motorcycle out of the barn and ready for your next ride. The purpose of your spring inspection is to identify any safety issues that may have resulted from storage and to take some measures that will reduce the risk of damaging the bike once you start to operate it again.
An hour of prevention in the spring can save a week in the shop during the summer and avoid those costly repairs.
If you’re interested in learning more about your motorcycle but don’t have the confidence to work on it yourself, consider reaching out to your local motorcycle clubs. There are many excellent clubs in the area that are passionate about their hobby and would be glad to share their knowledge to help a like-minded bike enthusiast ride safely on the road.
Check Your Battery:
Check your battery’s state of charge, condition, and terminals before pressing the start button. If your bike hasn't been on a maintainer, hook up a proper charger to bring it up to par as the battery will drain voltage after sitting for even a few weeks. If you any question about the health of your battery, have it tested by a shop like Hilltop Tire Service in Des Moines’ East Village. Many owners don't realize that if your battery isn't up to the job, the alternator will end up taking the abuse and it won't handle it for long.
Test Your Tires:
Your bike spends the winter sitting on two bits of rubber, on the cold slab of your garage, on wet grass in your back yard, or on a gravel driveway. Those bits of rubber are in the elements with temperature, humidity, and the sun, greatly impacting the safety of the motorcycle. To minimize the impact, move the motorcycle throughout the winter and never ride tires that are more than five years old. As temperatures fluctuate, so does the pressure of air in your tires. Be sure to check and adjust the tire pressure before any ride. Tread depth should be measured to be sure they are not below 3/32".
Handwashing is the Best Method:
Washing your bike by hand is the single most important thing you can do as a motorcycle owner. It does two things: first, it clears dirt and grime away from critical components so that the bike operates more safely. Second, it allows you an opportunity to carefully inspect the bike, component by component, while observing things you would normally overlook (such as oil leaks, frayed clutch cables, cracked tires, worn brakes, and loosened bolts).
Change the Fluids:
If you didn't change the oil and filter last fall, then now is the time to do it. Condensation can build up in the crankcase over the winter, so a spring oil change is a great way to flush out any water, which will reduce the chance of corrosion. While servicing the oil, don't forget about the other important fluids your bike may have including brake fluid, clutch fluid, transmission, rear drive units and engine coolant. After the fluids are in order, check the air filter and then treat your bike to a fresh tank of gas. In some cases, fuel can begin to break down and tarnish as quickly as six months, so give your tank a good whiff. If you have any hint that the gas has tarnished, drain the fuel and replenish it with some fresh petrol. You won’t regret it.