Winter seems long and cold. Most of our motorcycles have not been used for several months. Some of us have prepared them well but most have taken a chance that all will be well come spring when that first “warm” day arrives and we pull them out to take the first ride of the season.
The service department sees many of these bikes after the owners are frustrated and angry when the bike does not start or run correctly. They know it’s their fault but took the chance anyway. What are the top five service problems we see every spring? Could the owners have prevented them? How bad could it be?
1. Dead or very low voltage batteries.
Batteries do not like inactivity. The average motorcycle battery loses about .1 volts every day it sets. Some with radios and electronic systems like the Goldwing lose far more. If it stays discharged for too long it is permanently damaged and will need to be replaced. A battery that is three or so years old will not tolerate being discharged and will go bad even quicker. Keep them on a Battery Tender and save yourself some grief AND money!
2. Motorcycle will not stay running without choke, won’t idle or hesitates.
The fuel has gummed up the carb jets. The tiny passages in the slow speed circuits are very small. Stale gasoline has evaporated and left deposits that clog the jets. If the motorcycle was running well when last ridden and only two or three months have passed then draining the old gas and replacing it with fresh fuel in the tank and carbs may cure the problem. Longer durations of improper storage will most likely result in a carb cleaning by professionals.
3. The bike does not handle like it did, maybe wobbles or steers hard, gas mileage is low.
The tires on your motorcycle have lost pressure and are severely under inflated. Continuing to ride on underinflated tires may result in a crash at worst or damage to the tires. Always check with a good tire gauge before riding. We see many motorcycles with only 10 to 15 pounds of air in the tires.
4. The engine smokes from the exhaust and makes more noise than before.
Over the winter storage time gasoline has leaked through the carb float valves and entered the crankcase diluting the oil with gas. Engine parts like camshafts and rocker arms are not lubricated with oil and clatter. Severe engine damage can occur if not corrected quickly. Always shut the fuel valve off when the bike sets unused for more than two or three weeks. Also, check your dipstick for the proper oil level.
5. The motorcycle, or ATV, starts but will not rev out. It acts like the choke is on.
Believe it or not we find mouse or rodent nests have been built inside your airbox! Everything from bird seed or dog food to shredded up newspaper or material have been stuffed inside the air intake system clogging it up. Usually pretty easy to repair, just clean out the air intake tract and airbox.
These are just some of the more common problems we see in the shop every spring. Some are just an inconvenience while others are expensive. The good news is you can prevent them from happening! Please send in your service questions and we’ll see you riding!
Motorcycle VS Car Oil
Oil is oil, right? There are no differences between motorcycle oil and oil I put in my car. Motorcycle oil is more expensive because they want to make more money. Engines are all the same.
Those are a few of the comments we receive daily from our customers about engine oil. What is the truth about oil? Does it make any difference? Will using automotive oil really hurt your motorcycle engine? Here are some facts to help you decide what to put in your bike.
First, the typical motorcycle engine runs at a higher RPM than almost any auto. Consider that a 2011 CBR600RR engine tops out at 15,000 RPMs. That’s 250 revolutions of the crankshaft per second! Add in the very tight clearances for the engine parts and the high horsepower it produces and you have a very demanding set of conditions for lubrication. Of course, most engines do not turn that fast but the typical Honda cruiser still will run at over 6000 RPM. Along with the higher RPMs and higher power comes additional heat. Most auto engines run less than 4000 RPMs and have a more even temperature. One of the biggest differences between cars and bikes is the clutch. With a few exceptions most motorcycle clutches run in the same oil as the engine. The cars automatic transmission or manual transmission does not run in the engine oil. This creates a very major issue. Auto oils are made to be very slippery, the less friction the better. Motorcycles on the other hand need some friction to keep the clutch from slipping. Next, the motorcycle engine oil runs through the transmission gears. This creates a crushing or shearing effect on the oil. Again, car transmissions are separate from the engine oil. There are other different demands on the motorcycle engine VS the auto engine but these are the bigger ones.
Motorcycle oil starts out the same as auto oil with a petroleum or synthetic base but then the differences start. Motorcycle oil has additives called friction modifiers for the clutch operation, additives for the extreme RPM demands and additives for the higher heat to keep it from breaking down. The components that give oil the multi viscosity are more elastic so they maintain that property even when run through transmission gears. Each company has specific blends they feel are best that are combined with the manufacturers requirements.
Oil is a complex fluid to go along with expensive high tech machines. When you consider the cost of repair that an oil failure will cost then buying the correct oil for your motorcycle or car is cheap by comparison. For more information on this topic please contact a Dreyer representative.