At the first good days, you want to get on your bike and go out and enjoy the good weather. But be careful, you must first make sure that your two-wheeler is in perfect working order to get back on the road. Indeed, after more than three months in the garage, a few checks are necessary. To take advantage of spring and learn how to check your machine yourself, follow the guide.
Recharging the battery
To avoid an empty battery, it is best to disconnect it before winter storage. If you have forgotten, your battery may not start up again in the spring. In this case, you have several solutions:
The first solution is to recharge your battery with a charger suitable for motorcycles. Some « smart » chargers will be able to adapt the intensity of the recharge depending on the condition of the battery. This can be useful if you ride infrequently or for short distances. A reminder: a battery starts to recharge after 50 km of traffic.
If your battery does not start, you can choose to buy a new one or recharge it with a car battery using cables. In this case, be careful with the connections of the cables and respect the polarity of the terminals.
Check the levels
Before riding your motorcycle it is important to check the fluid levels that ensure the correct operation of your motorcycle:
Engine oil level
This level should be checked regularly, especially if your engine is not liquid-cooled but air-cooled. This check must be carried out when the engine is cold so that the oil is returned to the crankcase. Depending on your type of engine, the oil may be in different reservoirs. For a two-stroke engine, the oil is located in a separate tank, while four-stroke engines have a dedicated crankcase or auxiliary tank. To check the oil levels, there are two types of check which differ according to the type of motorcycle: visual inspection through a sight glass or by dipstick on a rod. If oil is missing, top up with a suitable oil can and funnel.
If you notice a whitish colour in the oil, it is emulsified: moisture due to condensation in the crankcase has deteriorated the oil’s lubricity. This can happen especially if you use your motorcycle infrequently. In this case, the engine must be changed and the oil filter replaced.
This level varies little (except in the case of a leak), but regular checking can detect a problem early enough. To perform this check, you will need to remove a screw or cap to make sure the fluid level is visible. If fluid is missing, you will have to refill it through the same or another port (check the instruction manual).
Coolant drops a little: this liquid allows (if your engine is not cooled by air, water or oil) to cool the engine and clean the cooling system, to lubricate the water pump and to prevent corrosion. During winter storage, this liquid may have frozen and possibly cracked a cylinder head, so check for damage. The mark on the expansion tank will indicate the liquid level. Filling the expansion tank should be done cold, otherwise you risk getting burned.
The brake fluid level (or lockheed) drops as the pads wear: if there is no more fluid, the pads are at the end of their life. They will then have to be changed. You must also grease the brake control cables. Draining the brake system and replacing the fluid is quite technical and often requires the intervention of a professional. Remember to change the oil every two years. However, if you feel like doing so, we have prepared a tutorial on how to change your motorcycle brake fluid, as well as a buying guide to help you choose the right brake fluid.
Assessing tire pressure and condition
Tires are very important for your motorcycle safety. You will find all the information you need in your service manual: tyre pressure for a single person or for two people. This pressure level applies to cold tyres (the pressure increases by about 0.3 bar when the tyres are warm). To measure the pressure, you can invest in a pressure gauge.
In addition to the tyre pressure, you will also need to check the general condition of the tyres.
There must be no cracks or cuts in the tread and sidewalls of the tyres. Also remember to check the tread and the depth of the tread: it should not be less than a millimetre. If this is the case, you will need to change your motorcycle tyres.
Check the chain and controls
This step is very important since the chain tension guarantees a smooth and fluid line. At the end of the winter, before setting out on the road again, check that your chain is still taut (leave about 3cm of slack) and give it a little bit of a tune-up. You can then clean it, then apply motorcycle chain grease or lubricate it. However, do not hesitate to change the motorcycle chain kit if it is worn.