Your motorcycle has been in storage all winter, but the weather is turning nice once again and you’re itching to get back on the road. Before you bring out your bike, you should perform a routine tune-up to make sure it will function flawlessly all summer long. Doing a tune-up on your bike isn’t hard, but if you follow the steps lined out in this handy guide, you won’t miss a single step.
Check All Your Fluid Levels, Change if Needed
The first step in bringing your bike out of hibernation is to check all your fluid levels. Even if your oil level is correct, this is an excellent time to change the oil. You’ll need a drain pan, a new oil filter, and enough oil to fill your engine. Place your pan under your oil drain, pull the plug, and let all the oil drain from the case. Next, replace your oil filter, making sure to use some clean oil around the gasket as a lubricant. Replace the plug and fill the oil with fresh oil.
You should also bleed the brakes and replace the brake fluid. While you do this, you can check all your brake lines for wear or cracks as well as verify that your brake pads are in good condition. If anything needs to be replaced, this is the time to do it, before it presents a safety hazard for you and others on the road.
Lastly, you should change your fuel filter and add fresh gas. Doing so removes some of the sediment that may have settled in the tank over the winter.
Plug it In
Cold, harsh winter conditions wreak havoc on batteries, including your motorcycle battery. Remove the battery and check for white powder on the surface. If you see this, you should probably replace the battery. If your battery is all good, hook it up to a trickle charger to get a full charge before you try to start your bike.
Give it Some Spark
Next, you’ll want to check and/or change your spark plugs. Whether you change them every spring or not will depend on how much mileage you regularly put on your bike. If you’re a frequent rider, this is an excellent time to change them. If you’re more of a weekend warrior, then check the plugs for wear. If the electrode on a plug is dirty, it needs to be replaced. If not, you can check your plug gap and continue using it.
You should also check all the spark plug wires for wear or cracks, indicating they need to be replaced.
Don’t Forget Your Chain
Without your chain, your bike won’t have any forward motion. Check that there is enough tension on your chain by pressing on it. If it’s loose, use the wheel adjusters to correct the tension. Look for rust or debris on the chain. You can use a little WD-40 on it, letting it soak for a few minutes to remove rust. Next, spray WD-40 on a brush (a firm toothbrush works well for this) and scrub the chain clean. Then, lubricate the chain well.
Put the Rubber to the Pavement
Before you take your bike out on the road, check your tires. If any cracks or flat spots have developed over the winter, your tires should be replaced. If your tires look fine, air them up to the proper pressure and check for leaks. You can do this with a spray bottle of water with a few drops of dishwashing soap. Spray the tires and look for bubbles to form, indicating a slow leak.
Chocking it Up
There are times, especially during the tune-up process, when you might want to secure your bike a bit better than just using the kickstand. For this, there are wheel chocks. If you’re looking for something to prop your bike on, you can try these on for size. Wheel chocks are also excellent when you want to haul your bike on a trailer or put it on a lift for any reason, so they’re good to keep around.
Give it a Good Wash
No one wants to ride around on a dirty bike! You probably cleaned it before putting it away last fall, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it another bath. Storing it in the garage has probably let dust collect, so give your bike a good wash. This is the perfect time to treat your seat (if it’s leather) and polish up all the chrome. You’ll want your bike to look gorgeous for your first time out.
Getting your motorcycle out of storage for the season is an exciting time! But be sure you give it a regular tune-up before taking it out on the road. Not only is it a safety issue, but you’ll want your bike to run flawlessly all summer long. When you do a tune-up in the spring, you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the season unless you have an unforeseeable problem. Routine maintenance will help keep you on the road.