“My motorcycle won’t start!” Ask the phone-jockey of your local motorcycle shop or dealership how many times a day they hear that. While motorcycles are as different from one another as their riders are, there are some common trends as to why your motorcycle isn’t starting or isn’t working properly. Mechanics share their insight on what the most common reasons are for motorcycle problems and how to avoid them.
A good motorcycle mechanic is going to cost you around $90/hour. Instead of waiting to learn the hard way, read this and see the most common reasons a motorcycle ends up in the shop.
1) The Crash: Assuming you’ve survived, congratulations! Shops see a lot of bikes come in from accidents, the good riders figure out what went wrong and what they could’ve done differently, the rest will bring their bikes in again the next time they have an accident.
For tips on how to avoid “The Crash” read these posts: motorcycle safety tips and safety tips for scooters and small motorcycles.
2) Neglect: Better known as DMS (Deprived Motorcycle Syndrome), a lot can go wrong when you nonchalantly leave your sweetheart all alone for too long. Your battery can drain until it dies (buy a battery charger!). Your fuel can begin to go bad, corrode the inside of your gas tank, and clog up your fuel lines. Your brake callipers can seize up. You can find your chain and your once polished and chromed metals now spotted with rust. Your tires can dry and develop flat spots. A neglected motorcycle can have multiple problems causing it not to start or run properly. That means a lot labour time for diagnostics and repair, and there’s no time like labour time!
3) User Error: There’s nothing mechanics hate more than fixing someone else’s mess. What’s worse is when the customer was originally quoted for the work, decided to do it him or herself, couldn’t, and is now being quoted twice as much because the mechanic needs to spend time figuring out and undoing whatever the customer has done. If you don’t know what you’re doing, leave it to someone who does. You put your life on your motorcycle, taking it to a professional could save you more than just your money.
4) The Generals: General Wear’n’Tear and General Maintenance can be meaner than a Drill Sergeant, but as the old saying goes, no guts, no glory. Luckily for the riders who take this post to heart, the generals may just be the only time you find your motorcycle in a shop. Sooner or later we all need to pay the piper.
More good news: you can always do some easy maintenance yourself. Why not start with oil changes?
5) Lemons: My coworker thinks everything he buys is a lemon, but mechanics don’t believe in lemons very much these days. A lot of quality control goes into the manufacturing processes of any reputable motorcycle brand. Institutions such as Transport Canada have guidelines and policies, and ensure recall notices are sent out to protect consumers. If every vehicle you’ve bought has been a lemon, the only common denominator is you. If you still think you have a lemon it may be time to revisit the previous four points and try to figure out why your bike isn’t starting or where things went wrong. Lemons are a fruit, or maybe a vegetable, but probably not a motorcycle.
Like having money in your pocket? Read Save Money While Riding a Motorcycle.
Hopefully this will keep your money in your pocket and your motorcycle out of the shop, unless you feel the need to do a few upgrades of course. So tell me, were the mechanics right? What was your motorcycle last in the shop for?