It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting warmer and you just can’t wait to get out on your bike. But, it’s been in storage all winter. So what do you need to do to get it road ready again? Here are a few quick tips on getting your motorcycle out of winter storage and ready to ride.
Before you start, you’ll need to remove the cover and any locks you used to secure the bike. If the bike is up on stands, lower it down to a position where you can work on it easily and safely. After that, use the following checklist to be sure your motorcycle is in good working order and ready to go before you take it out on the road.
· Clean the entire motorcycle with a mild detergent and water solution. Remove any metal protecting agents.
· Remove any plastic or rubber covers that you put on the air box intakes, exhaust pipes and air box drain.
· Make sure the battery is in good condition and fully charged. Be sure the vent hose is connected and routed properly.
· Drain and replace the oil that was in the engine while the bike was in storage. Replace the oil filter if applicable.
· Lubricate all areas as instructed in the operator’s manual.
· Change the spark plugs.
· Check the engine coolant and be sure it is at the proper level. Replace it if necessary.
· If the bike is chain driven, inspect the chain and drive sprockets for excessive wear or loosening. Adjust if necessary.
· If your bike is shaft-driven, inspect the oil level in the final drive unit. Make sure it is filled to the proper level.
· Inspect the tires. Tires should not have cracks, bulges or excessive wear. Also tires should be inflated to the proper manufacturer’s specifications.
· Inspect the brake pads or shoes. If they show excessive wear, they should be replaced.
· If your bike is equipped with hydraulic brakes, check the fluid level to ensure it is at the proper level. Most manufacturers recommend changing this fluid at least once a season to eliminate moisture in the master brake cylinders. Moisture can cause corrosion and eventual brake failure. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on fluid type.
· Inspect coolant hoses and brake lines for signs of deterioration or cracking. Replace if necessary.
· Inspect all cables for ease of operation. Sticking, binding or broken cables should be replaced.
· Inspect all electrical accessories for proper operation. Check the headlight, turn signals, reverse lights, horn and kill switch. Correct any problems.
· Before starting the engine, slowly crank it over with the kick starter and listen for any abnormal noises. Also check for smooth movement.
· Do a complete inspection of the bike. Then start it and let it run for a few minutes in a well-ventilated area. If there are any abnormal noises or anything seems unusual, have your bike checked out by a factory-trained mechanic.
· Use a fuel system cleaner additive for a couple tanks.
· Take the motorcycle safety class you signed up for.
· Get ready to enjoy another riding season!
Follow this list, and in one afternoon, you should be able to get your bike in great working order and avoid any immediate problems. However, you never know when something could go wrong. So in addition, you should make sure you have adequate motorcycle insurance coverage with Towing and Roadside Assistance. There is peace of mind in knowing that if something goes wrong, you have a customized insurance policy to cover it. And if your bike breaks down and can’t be ridden, there is nothing that takes the place of Towing and Roadside Assistance to bring you gas, a battery or to tow your bike to the nearest repair shop. Some companies will even offer Trip Interruption coverage, in the event that your bike can’t be ridden due to a covered collision, to help pay for meals and accommodations if you’re far from home.