Even if you have done your motorcycle storage right during the winter, you still have to perform a few maintenance tasks before heading out on the open road once more. This article here teaches you what you need to do in order to fully enjoy a safe riding experience after a long winter break.
Check the engine
Even if you changed your oil before winter, it’s still a good idea to change it again to make sure your motorcycle is ready and performs under optimal conditions during this new riding season. When you change the oil you must replace the oil filter as well.
If the cylinders have been treated with WD40 before winter storage to prevent rusting, both these as well as the valves should be in good condition and don’t require any further maintenance. If oil was poured inside the cylinders, you have to rotate the engine after removing the spark plugs and cover the plug holes with a rag in order to catch any surplus oil that comes out.
This is done by rotating the crankshaft with a wrench as opposed to an electric starter or using a kick. Another way of rotating the engine is to place the bike in second gear and turn the wheel. Both ways imply that you first remove the spark plugs and keep the ignition off.
During storage, the clutch plates often stick together. You can visit a mechanic to help you separate them. A quick method to accomplish this by yourself is to place the bike in gear and before starting the engine, rock the bike back and forth with the clutch pulled in. This frees the plates.
Check the fuel
The gasoline’s quality drops after it has been stored for months inside the gas tank. Unless you added a fuel stabilizer before storage, your carburetor may need a full refurbishing to eliminate any residue from its components. You can tell that your carburetor is clogged by poor quality fuel if your bike only runs on choke at small openings of the throttle.
This happens because, as time passes, the combustible elements from your fuel evaporate. Moreover, if fuel remains unused for a long time inside the gas tank, it can cause varnish to form in the system and block filters. Temperature changes may cause condensation to form on the tank’s inside walls, leading to other problems.
Ideally, you should completely dry out the tank before storing the bike and observe if the tank is clean on the inside. If you didn’t drain the fuel or add a fuel stabilizer, you should now fill up the tank with high-octane fuel to make sure there is as much fresh gasoline as possible before starting it for the first time this season.
Check the electrical system
If you haven’t disconnected the battery or installed a smart charger before storing the bike for winter, chances are that recharging is in order or even a complete replacement of the battery. You can find out about the state of your battery by using a digital multimeter and measuring the voltage output.
If the battery terminals are corroded, you can clean them using a baking soda and water mix. Make sure that you disconnect the cables first. Brush off the corrosion and then rinse the terminals. Wait for the water to completely evaporate before reconnecting the cables. To prevent such corrosion from forming again, there are terminal protector sprays you can apply.
Assuming that you have a charged and functional battery you must then check all the lights, including the turn signals and stop lights. To check the stop lights by yourself pull the brake lever with one hand and with the other hand reach and hover it just above the brake lights to see if it reflects red light as you break. Also, you may use a mirror placed behind your bike.
Check the tires
Ideally, the bike should be stored with its tires off the ground. If this is the case, you only need to give them a visual inspection. However, if the bike has been sitting on its tires during winter, the rubber has most likely deformed and an indentation is visible on the area where the tires have made contact with the ground.
This indentation is known as a flat spot and happens especially if the tires have deflated since the last ride. To remove the flat spot and to correct the shape of the tire you have to over-inflate it by about 20% and leave it like that for a period of at least 24 hours. For example, if your tire usually has a pressure of 32 PSI, you would increase it to 38,5 PSI.
It is very important not to ride the bike while the tires are under these high pressures. Don’t forget to adjust the pressure levels back to normal before going out on the bike. Another option that you have is to change the tires completely. If you were thinking about changing them for a while, then this is a good opportunity, especially if you see cracks or rot on their surface.
Check the brake system
The brake rotors must be cleaned using specialized products and the brake fluid should be bled. The brakes are not as effective as they were before the winter so take care when heading out for the first time in traffic this season.
Give it a wash
Once you have checked everything else and your bike functions perfectly it would be a shame not to clean it as well. During these few months, the dust has surely gathered on your motorcycle and after the previous maintenance routine you may see even more dirt, oil or gasoline smudges on it.
Give your bike a proper wash before going out riding. During spring the weather is unpredictable and patches of snow may turn into dirty water. Protect your bike by applying some wax and be careful as you ride because the road conditions are still far from ideal and your skills are not as sharp as they were before winter.