Riding season is here! Pre-season Checklist.

April 24, 2024


Riding season is here! But before you get ahead of yourself, let’s run through a quick pre-season checklist.

  1. Check your fluids. That includes oil (and filter), coolant and brake fluid. Your bike might have been sitting for a while during the off season and fluids don’t love that. Checking the level and condition of your oil is a must. If your oil is older and dark in color, it would be a good idea to change it. When you do, throw in a fresh oil filter, too. Also check the levels of your coolant and brake fluid, topping off as needed.

  2. Inspect your tires. Given these are literally where the rubber meets the road, you want to ensure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated. If your tire is looking worn, has a puncture, or shows any signs of cracking or dry-rotting, it’s time to replace it.

  3. Can you stop? No, seriously. Make sure to check your brakes because you don’t want to experience a brake failure. An easy preliminary check is to roll your bike forward and see if your front brake alone, then your rear brake alone can stop it. If your bike has drum brakes, check the linkage and adjust it according to the owner’s manual. With disc brakes, check pads and discs for any signs of deterioration or wear. As mentioned above, check the brake fluid level and color. If the color appears dark or contaminated, it may be time to flush it with fresh fluid. Brake fluid can absorb moisture from the air, causing brakes to lose effectiveness. Plus it can potentially lead to corrosion and rusting of internal components, so be sure to check to your fluid carefully.

  4. Test your lights. It only takes a moment to look around the bike and make sure all of the lights are working. Check the low and high beams, turn signals, tail and brake lights.

  5. Lastly, give the entire bike a once over. Inspect the handlebars, suspension, frame, wiring, and drive line. Some bikes are chain driven, others have belts or a shaft drive. Refer to your owner’s manual for drive line maintenance. And keep an eye out for loose bolts, fastners, or any other suspicious items that might cause issues down the road. For a downloadable pre-ride checklist check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s T-CLOCS Inspection Checklist.

Another great way to ensure your bike is in tip-top shape is to take it to your local dealer and have them look it over. If you are getting your oil changed, dealers will often inspect your bike at no additional cost. And go ahead, ask them any of your burning maintenance questions. A little bit of maintenance and care at the start of riding season will make for many worry-free miles and plenty of good times.


Let’s talk. Then let’s ride.

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