After the unseasonably warm April we’ve had, many of us will have already been out on our bikes this year, but if you haven’t, or if you have, but you haven’t carried out our simple maintenance checklist, now is the time to do it.
After spending the winter in your shed, garage or under a tarp, it always pays to make sure that your bike is still in full working order before you set off for a ride. Even if you’ve used it every day during the colder weather and into spring, giving your bike a thorough health-check this weekend could save you from more than just the dreaded Eastenders omnibus.
Bike insurance claims show a definite spike at this time of year, as bikers start making the most of the warmer weather, and in many cases the claim – along with resulting injuries and inconvenience (not to mention increased premiums) – could be avoided by giving your bike a once once over and following the checklist the BikeSure team have put together.
Head honcho, Rob Balls says “A much greater proportion of the claims we get in the spring are related to maintenance issues. Whether from breakdown insurance, or accidents related to maintenance issues, the winter takes its toll on your bike, and too few people check the points. Bikers stand to benefit if the level of claims go down, because the fewer claims you have, the lower your insurance will be next year. It’s vital to give your bike a thorough going-over if you’ve stored it during the brass monkey weather.”
So here’s Rob’s checklist of the simple maintenance tasks which can save you money and might even save your life.
- Review any notes you made when you put your bike into winter storage. It’s easy to forget little things like that small part you removed to get a matching replacement and never got around to replacing.
- If you removed the battery for winter storage, check and clean the battery terminals before refitting. A bicarbonate of soda solution works well to clean the terminals.
- Charge and refit the battery. Positive lead first!
- Change the oil and filter, and check the grease and other lubricants.
- Check all cables and lubricate with the specified lubricants.
- Drain the fuel tank, clean and refill with fresh. This especially applies if you left it nearly empty during the winter. An empty tank will have air inside, and that air will have moisture, which will condense out in the cold as water.
- Check the tyre pressure and wear of tread. If you had a special winter pressure, remember to change it for summer. Don’t use a tyre cleaner on bike tyres – it will make them hard and slippery.
- Check all lights. Don’t forget the flashing ones!
- Check brake fluid level and ensure brake pads and shoes aren’t worn.
- Clean the inside of your helmet with a mild soapy solution and ensure it is dry. Examine it for hairline cracks.
- If you put away your winter cover during the summer, air it properly, then store it somewhere warm and dry. Don’t let yourself suddenly discover it damp or mildewy next winter when you suddenly need it again.
- Start a new log book for the year and write down your starting mileage – and all the actions you took to get out on the open road again. Promise yourself that you will keep it up to date this year!