If you’re a motorcyclist, you’ve likely been itching to get your bike out of storage after the long winter. Spring and early summer are perfect times to ride, especially in the mornings and evenings. But if you’re riding your motorcycle for the first time in a while, it’s important to remember that it needs a thorough inspection, maintenance, and possibly even some repairs before you take it out on Oklahoma’s roadways.
Inspect These Parts on Your Bike Before Riding It This Spring
Motorcycles have fewer safety features than other vehicles. When riders are involved in accidents, they rely mostly on the equipment they’re wearing, such as helmets and padded leather jackets, to protect themselves. Because of the risk of suffering serious injuries, riders should always take as many steps as possible to reduce their chances of being involved in accidents—and that starts with ensuring their bikes are safe to ride.
Storing your motorcycle over the winter can lead to various parts and components degrading, rusting, or failing. Some of those part failures may be immediately noticeable, while others may take time to show up. You don’t want to find out something is broken in the middle of a ride. It puts you at risk of losing control and crashing.
Check these components for potential dangers before you hit the road this spring:
- Tires—Tires are among the most important components of any vehicle, including motorcycles. Because motorcycles have only two wheels, even small tire issues can have big consequences. Check your tires carefully for signs of dry rot or damage. In addition, ensure they have plenty of tread remaining and are filled to the recommended PSI.
- Lights—One of the biggest risks that motorcyclists face is not being seen by other drivers. Lights are designed to help motorcyclists see at night and in inclement weather, and to help other drivers see them. Ensure that your headlights, tail lights, and brake lights work, as well as your turn signals if your bike is equipped with them.
- Bolts—While it’s unlikely that any parts on your motorcycle will fall off mid-ride, loose bolts can be an issue, especially after a full season of riding. When bringing your bike out of storage, check all bolts to ensure that engine and road vibrations haven’t caused them to loosen. Tightening bolts not only improves safety, but it also ensures a smoother ride.
- Cables and lines—Winter can be harsh on motorcycle components, and nothing is more affected than rubber and plastic parts. Cold, dry air can result in dry rot on critical components such as brake and throttle cables, brake lines, oil lines, and more. Use a flashlight and inspect the entire lengths of all plastic or rubber cables to ensure they’re not cracked or broken.
- Fluids—While it’s unlikely that the gas in your fuel tank went bad over the winter, it’s possible that you may be running low—especially if your bike developed a leak. Before heading out, ensure that your motorcycle is topped up on fuel and coolant, and that its oil is at the correct level and has been changed at the recommended intervals.
- Battery—Batteries are particularly susceptible to damage and corrosion during the winter. If your battery bit the dust after being exposed to too many cold nights in a row, you’ll know right away; your bike won’t start. But there’s also a chance your battery has just enough juice left to get you to your destination, then leave you stranded there. Don’t take any chances—use a battery tester and replace yours if it’s dying, corroded, or damaged.
- Chain—Chains should be clean, clear of all debris, and well-lubricated. It’s rare to find a bike that’s been stored over the course of a winter with a pristine, ride-ready chain. Be prepared to clean your chain and re-lubricate it. While performing those tasks, inspect it for damage and replace it immediately if you notice any links are chipped or severely rusted.
After giving your motorcycle a thorough inspection and repairing or replacing any damaged parts, you may be raring to go. But don’t be too eager to test its limits without checking all of your bases first! Some winter and storage-related issues aren’t always obvious to the naked eye. That’s why it’s best to take a short, low-speed cruise around your neighborhood to ensure that you won’t get hit with any nasty surprises when you’re many miles away from home or an easy place to pull off the road.
We Help Injured Motorcyclists Get Compensation after Crashes
At Parrish DeVaughn, our Oklahoma City motorcycle accident attorneys work hard on behalf of injured riders. Following the tips above can help you reduce your risks of being involved in a crash, but a significant number of motorcycle accidents occur due to distracted drivers or drivers who simply don’t look out for motorcyclists.
To make matters worse, insurance companies often side with drivers, or at least fail to sympathize with motorcyclists after crashes. That’s because there’s plenty of bias against motorcyclists in the insurance world, and many adjusters assume that motorcyclists are responsible for their own crashes due to reckless driving.
If you or someone you love was hurt in a motorcycle crash, we’re here to ensure that you get a fair shake at full compensation for your accident-related expenses. Contact us today for a free consultation. We’re here to help.