With the cold weather moving out and roads getting cleaned up after a long winter, riding again is one of the first things that comes to many minds. Before you pull your bike out of the garage and head out on the road, though, there are some things you need to do to get ready for riding season. Here are five spring motorcycle maintenance tasks you’ll want to complete before hitting the road.
1. Drain and Replace Fuel
If your bike sat all winter, the gas in the tank is most likely stale and will need to be drained and replaced with fresh gas. The easiest way to do this is to use a siphon pump and pump it out into a container to dispose of safely. If you don’t have a siphon, you can follow the fuel line from the bottom of the tank down to the carb and disconnect it at the filter to let the fuel drain out.
2. Charge or Replace the Battery
With fresh fuel in the tank, the next thing you’ll want to tackle is the battery. While some people put their battery on a trickle charge over the winter to keep it charged, many forget – and come springtime, they find that they have a dead battery. If you have one, you can charge it back up. If it’s more than a couple seasons old, however, it may be a better idea to replace it with a new battery.
3. Perform an Oil Change
The fuel is set and the battery is ready to go; now let’s get into a little engine work. Even if you had your bike serviced toward the end of the season last year, it’s not a bad idea to replace the oil and filter to start off the season on the right foot. It takes about 15 minutes to perform an oil change, and that can make a world of difference in your bike’s lifespan.
4. Inspect the Tires
There are just a couple more things to do before you’re ready to ride. A quick inspection of your tires is always a great idea. Look for balding tires that have cords showing or any sort of sidewall bubbles or other damage that could cause a serious safety issue. If you notice any of these signs, get your tires replaced right away. A new set is always a great way to ensure your bike is safe and ready for trips around town or across the state for the rest of the season.
5. Check Other Fluids
The last thing you should check is the other fluids that make your bike go. Things like brake fluid and coolant can leak during the offseason, and levels could be low. Sometimes it’s as simple as topping them off, but if not, a fresh fill is always a great thing to do before you hit the road.
Spring can be an exciting time for motorcycle owners. Getting out there on your bike and feeling the wind in your face lets you know that winter is gone for good and it’s time to have fun again. Before you head out, complete this small checklist to make sure you and your bike are safe and sound for the rest of the season.
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Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.