8 Things to Do before You Ride Your Motorcycle after Winter

hand replacing air filter on motorcycle

After the cold months of winter have come to an end, you’re likely dying to get back onto the open road with the wind in your hair. Before you do so, though, get your motorcycle ready properly for another great season with it.

1. Check the Battery

The first thing you’ll want to do once you take your motorcycle out of storage is to check the battery. Use a multimeter to do this, ensuring that your bike battery is putting out at least as many volts as it’s rated for. If it’s not, charge the battery to its full capacity before riding. If you charge it fully and it still neglects to give a good voltage reading, you’ll want to replace the battery with a new one.

While checking the battery, look for any corrosion in the battery terminals and look over the battery cables for wear or exposed wiring. Finally, check the battery case for cracks.

2. Check the Fuel

As long as your bike has been in storage for a year or less and you used a fuel stabilizer before the start of the winter, your bike should be okay on this front. However, it’s always good to double-check by opening the filler cap. Once you do that, check for any chunks or to see if anything looks out of the ordinary. The fuel should look consistent and clean for all systems to be a go.

If you do notice anything amiss, your best bet is to drain the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor prior to running the engine for the first time. Another healthy measure is to remove the spark plugs and pour two tablespoons of oil into the spark plug ports to lubricate the top of the cylinder walls before you ride for the first time.

hand pouring liquid into motorcycle

3. Check the Oil

The oil is another fluid to check prior to going on your first ride of the season. If you didn’t conduct a routine oil change before storing your bike, now is a good time to do one, as well as a filter change. If you did one prior to storage, just verify that the oil level is good and top it off if needed. Keep in mind that oil degrades when it sits for long periods of time.

4. Check for Leaks

Before you move your bike, check the ground below it where it was stored for any leaks. Be especially diligent in checking around the base of the engine and frame. If you see any stray liquid on the ground, trace the drops back to where they originated from. Both gaskets and seals have a tendency to shrink and crack during storage, so this is oftentimes the culprit behind a leak. If you discover any of these issues, they’ll need to be fixed prior to your first ride.

5. Check the Tires

You don’t want to hit the road with bad tire pressure, so check these to ensure that they’re properly inflated and that there are no leaks. Also look for cracks or deformities along the tires and verify that there is a fair amount of tread left. Look for flat spots, which are not uncommon after your bike has been stored for an extended period of time in one position. To effectively check for flat spots, make sure your tires roll smoothly.

hands checking air pressure in motorcycle tire

6. Check the Lights and Signal

Your lights and signal are another vital component of your bike that you’ll want to check on before your first ride back. Do a quick test on all of them in your garage or driveway before you hit the road.

7. Change the Air Filter

The start of a new season of riding is the perfect time to clean or change the air filter on your bike. Open the airbox to do this. Even if you changed the filter right before winter storage, you’ll still want to check the filter to ensure that no spiders or bugs took up residence here.

8. Avoid Revving the Engine

Although you may have to fight the urge to rev your engine at the beginning of your first ride of the season, it’s not a good idea. Oil sometimes drips down and settles in your engine when you first start your bike back up, so you’ll want to give it time to let the oil circulate before running higher RPMs on the bike.

For a small mode of transportation, there are many items to be checked and prepared before you hit the open road after a long winter.