Spring is officially here and it’s time to kick off fair weather riding season in Washington! Some riders have been on their bikes all winter, and some have been patiently waiting for the weather to warm up, but either way, it’s a good time of year to perform an annual maintenance check on your motorcycle. Taking a few minutes to do so ensures you’re doing all you can to maintain your safety and the safety of others on the road. Here are five spring safety tasks you’ll want to complete before heading out.
- Drain and Replace. Don’t start a new riding season with old fluids. Before attempting to start up your bike, drain any fuel from carburetors that is more than six weeks old. Gasoline can change its chemical makeup over time with parts of the mixture evaporating, turning what was once fuel for your bike into a brown muck that can clog carburetor jets and passageways. This can lead to poor performance, difficulty starting, or not starting at all. Now is also a good time to check your oil, brake fluid, and coolant levels, even if you just topped them off in the fall or winter months.
- Brake Check. Check brake pads, brake lines, and brake fluid (as mentioned above) before setting out on your first springtime ride. It’s important to replace worn pads or cracked lines and to test front and rear brakes separately to make sure they are in working order and free from scraping or squealing.
- Power Up. The most common issue from a bike sitting in storage all winter is a drained battery. While many riders put their battery on a trickle charge over the winter, those who skip this step definitely need to power up before hitting the road. If your battery is more than a few seasons old, however, it may time for a new battery.
- Inspect Tires. Nothing stops a ride faster than a flat tire. Check air pressure in both of your bike’s tires. Low pressure can make motorcycles difficult to handle while increasing tire wear and tear. Also, check for signs of damage such as cracks, balding, visible cords, sidewall bubbles and replace tires if needed.
- Gear Up. Don’t let your spring motorcycle safety checklist end with your bike. Make sure your motorcycle helmet is approved by the Department of Transportation and is free of cracks and damage. It’s also crucial to invest in breathable, versatile, high-visibility gear. You’ll need clothing that fits properly and doesn’t have any loose ends that could get caught on your bike.
It’s a Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety, and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families, and our communities.