6 Motorcycle Safety Tips To Ensure You’re Ready for Spring
If you’re like many riders who store a motorcycle during winter, or significantly cut back on your riding, the approaching warmer weather might have you excited to jump back on your bike again. Here are some suggestions to make sure your bike is safe to ride before you head out onto the open road.
Motorcycle Safety Tip 1: Clean Out the Gas Tank
If you didn’t drain your gas tank before letting your bike sit over the winter, now is the time. Old, untreated fuel in your tank can become inundated with moisture or worse yet, rust. First, check for rust with a light and small mirror. If there is none, add a fuel system cleaner and let it soak. Drain through the petcock and see how stained it is. If it looks relatively clean, you can use fuel system cleaner with a fresh tank of gas. Repeat for a few tanks. If there is substantial rust in your tank, you should consider a more thorough cleaning or replace the tank.1
Motorcycle Safety Tip 2: Change the Oil
Although you might have changed the oil and filter before you stored your bike, it might be beneficial do so before the first ride of the season.2 The oil might have condensation from lack of use. If it’s only been a month or so since you’ve ridden, at least check the oil level before riding.
Motorcycle Safety Tip 3: Inspect the Battery
If you left your motorcycle battery on your bike during the winter months, you’ll need to charge it or replace it. Use a trickle charger to charge it overnight and check the fluid level if you don’t have a maintenance-free battery. Use distilled water to fill cells to the recommended levels, not tap water.3 Once your battery is charged, test it so it doesn’t leave you stranded on your first ride.
Motorcycle Safety Tip 4: Check Tires and Tire Pressure
Never get on a bike after an extended period without doing a visual inspection of your treads and a tire pressure check to factory-recommended levels.4 It’s natural for tire pressure to decrease while it sits for weeks or during colder temperatures. Tire rot usually takes some time, but you should check for cracks, worn tread, punctures, uneven wear, or bulges. If you find damage, tow your bike to the shop and replace tires before riding.
Motorcycle Safety Tip 5: Examine Controls and Bolts
From nesting animals to kinked cables and bent levers, all sorts of things can happen to your bike while it’s in storage.5 If fixing these things is above your skill level, take it into a mechanic. If all bolts and cables seem to be tightened and attached properly, go on a short and slow test ride to sense if there are any abnormal vibrations. Of course, put on your helmet first!6 Once you’re back from the ride, recheck all parts to make sure nothing vibrated loose.
Motorcycle Safety Tip 6: Reevaluate Your Motorcycle Insurance
The best safety practices are no replacement for a motorcycle insurance policy that fits your needs. Maybe this year you plan to ride more (or less) than before. Maybe you’ve upgraded your bike with the latest safety equipment over the winter. Or perhaps you’ve taken an accredited motorcycle safety course, even if you’re a veteran rider. All these things can affect your rates and it pays to ask an insurance professional for advice.
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Over the years, Answer Financial has helped more than 4 million people like you find the right coverage for their homes and vehicles, including motorcycles. One of the easiest ways to save on coverage from top-rated insurance companies is to visit our website to quickly compare rates and customize coverages from multiple companies.
March 8, 2022
1. “Save That Old Tank: How to Clean Rust Out of a Gas Tank,” NADA Guides, https://www.nadaguides.com/Motorcycles/shopping-guides/how-to-clean-rust-out-of-a-gas-tank
2. “How to Change Oil and Oil Filter on a Motorcycle,” wikiHow, https://www.wikihow.com/Change-the-Oil-and-Oil-Filter-on-a-Motorcycle
3. “Care for Motorcycle Batteries,” wikiHow, https://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-Motorcycle-Batteries
4. “Motorcycle Industry Counsel Tire Guide,” MSF-USA.org, https://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/mic_tire_guide_2012v1.pdf
5.“T-CLOCSSM Inspection Checklist,” Motorcycle Safety Foundation, https://www.msf-usa.org/downloads/T-CLOCS_Inspection_Checklist.pdf
6. “Motorcycle Safety,” CDC.org, https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/mc/MotorcycleSafetyGuide-a.pdf