Has your motorcycle been silently taunting you from beneath the tarp in your garage all winter? Well, get ready to pull your baby out of hibernation and give it a little TLC before your tires hit the pavement.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So, we hope you followed our winter storage tips and did the majority of the work months ago. However, even with the most careful preparations, there are still steps you should take to get your bike ready for spring’s first ride.
Tires and Brakes
Check the air pressure and carefully inspect both tires for signs of wear, including bulges, flat spots, or cracks in the sidewalls. Proper tread depth may vary among brands, but most manufacturers recommend replacing the tire when there is less than 2/32 inches of tread remaining. TIP: If you insert a penny into a groove in the center of your tire, 2/32” is right at the top of Lincoln’s head.
While you’re looking at the tires, make sure the wheels spin freely and the brake calipers are operating smoothly, without sticking. You may need to apply chain lube or lubricate the control cables.
Gas & Oil
If you filled the tank with gas and put in a stabilizer before storing your bike, good for you! You just need run the engine for a few minutes before heading out. However, if you rode your bike hard and put it away wet, you’re probably going to need to drain the fuel and clean up any brown gunk or other residue that remains. As for engine oil, if you changed the oil and filter last fall, you’re probably good to go.
A word on proper fluid disposal. Never dispose of motorcycle fluids by pouring them onto the ground or into a sewer, street drain, body of water, or putting it into the trash. Auto service centers and auto parts stores may accept some automotive fluids, including antifreeze, used oil, transmission fluid and power steering fluids from residents. Other fluids such as gasoline and brake fluid are dangerous because they are flammable or reactive. Contact your solid waste management district or one of these registered used oil collection centers to see if there is a recycling opportunity near you.
Those of you who used a battery tender or trickle charger during the polar vortex should be fine, but you should still check for any corrosion and make sure all connections are secure. On conventional batteries, check the fluid level and and add distilled water if necessary. If your voltage is low, make sure to charge it completely. You may have to bite the bullet and purchase a new battery if it doesn’t take or hold a charge.
To help you remember things to check before each ride, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation created the acronym T-CLOCS, which stands for Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Sidestand. For a complete downloadable inspection checklist, click here.
Anytime you work on your bike, be sure to check your manual for details. If you’ve misplaced the manual, many are available for free at www.mybikemanuals.com.
“Get Your Bike Ready for Spring” – American Motorcyclist Association