Monday, February 7, 2011

Things to consider BEFORE you start your bike for the first time this Spring

Read this before you hit that button!
It's been a long, cold, brutal Winter this year. Now that it's early February some signs of Spring are just beginning. The sun sets later and later each day and when it shines, its much stronger and does a great job of melting that horrible white stuff. You should have already had your bike stored on a Battery Tender and fuel stabilizer run through your fuel system. Starting your bike and running it every week or every couple of weeks is a great way of making sure when you are ready to ride it starts up without any trouble. Unfortunately because of the deep snow many folks were not able to even get to their bikes never mind start them up and let them run for a while. If this is the case, then there are a few things to do BEFORE you hit that starter button this Spring.

First check your air filter for a mouse nest. I know its a pain to get to your air filter, but trust me, if your bike has been the Winter home of mice, you want to find out before you suck their nest into your carburetor. It's a good idea to check anyway so you can make a note to order a new one if yours is plugged with dirt.

Next look inside the exhaust pipes for signs of mice. Here in New England we have mice, chipmunks and squirrels that love to find cozy places make homes for the Winter. Exhaust pipes are perfect spots to hide their nuts, seeds, and i have even seen dog and cat food stored in them by those pesty critters!  Again, you want to find that stuff before you start your bike, not after.

Now Check the oil. Yes i know you don't see any oil puddles under your bike, but humor me and check your oil BEFORE you start your bike. I have seen it before, some people have drained your oil and forgotten to refill it before putting it up for the Winter. Or maybe it did leak out and somebody cleaned it up. Maybe somebody hates you and drained your oil on you to play a horrible joke. Either way, please check your oil before you start it. Starting an engine without oil or very low on oil will result in catastrophic engine failure. At least bend down and look in that little sight glass for me will ya!

Now that you have made sure the coast is clear of all Winter squatters, and the motor oil is at the proper level ,you can safely start your bike and let it run on idle until it comes up to temperature. NEVER, EVER sit there and rev your engine when it is first started to "clear it out". When i hear somebody doing that i want to scream! Engine parts must come up to the proper engine temperature before you can rev the engine. If you don't let it warm up properly you can run the risk of severe engine damage.

Now the only other thing you should do is check your tire pressure before you ride your bike. They will naturally loose air pressure sitting there. You don't want to ride on them soft. It's bad for the tires and bad for the bikes handling.

Come on Spring!