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Five Motorcycle Repair Issues that Can Cause Accidents
When the weather is right riders want to ride! Riders typically prepare for the riding season, but they should also take the time to make sure that their bike is in proper operating condition before hitting the road on every ride. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests that riders follow the T-CLOCS inspection method before every ride. An acronym for Tires and Wheels, Controls, Lights and Electrical, Oil and Fluids, Chassis, and Sidestand T-CLOCS is a great way to make sure your bike is safe to ride. Some maintenance issues are more common than others, so following this protocol will help you determine if your fuel, battery, clutch, tires and electrical system are in tip-top shape before you saddle up.
1. Contaminated Fuel
Gas has a shelf life. If fuel is left sitting in your tank for too long because you have not been on a ride in weeks or months, it can become contaminated. And when fuel becomes contaminated, it can and will clog your system and affect the performance of your motorcycle. Luckily, there are few simple solutions to avoid these problems. The most fun tip? Ride your bike often. This way the fuel won't become stagnant. If that is not an option for you, can add a fuel stabilizer during the riding season to help clean and maintain the fuel system. If you are in climate that gets a traditional winter and you can't (or won't) ride for part of the year, drain your fuel tank during the colder months. These tips will help your motorcycle to continue to run smoothly and maintain the performance of your engine.
2. Dead Battery
Similar to motorcycle fuel, your batteries will also deteriorate if the motorcycle is not used frequently. The battery is prone to die quickly if you don't ride for at least a minimum of five hours a
. Just like with contaminated fuel, the easy solution is to ride more often. But if that is not an option you can use a battery tender or charger to keep the battery charged while it is in the garage. This is a great option for those cold weather months when you prefer not to ride.
Even if you ride often, your battery could still drain. Any of the following issues can cause your battery to drain either while in the garage or even worse, while you're on the road!
- Improperly installed electrical components
- Too many after-market electrical components
- Corroded battery terminals
- Battery is too old.
- Cable vibrates loose while riding (normally newer motorcycles)
Performing a T-CLOCS inspection before you ride can identify a number of these issues. Regardless of how they are discovered you should get the help of a trained motorcycle mechanic if you are not experienced with dealing with the issue yourself.
3. Clutch Issues
The motorcycle clutch is susceptible to a number of issues. Outside of normal wear and tear it can be exposed to breaks, cracks or bends if you are in a crash or otherwise lay down your motorcycle. Additionally, you want to make sure your cable is in good condition as well. If your clutch is not in proper working order, you will experience difficulty changing gears while riding. The inability to shift during an emergency to either stop quickly or speed up is critical and anything that hinders that is unsafe.
4. Worn Tires
When your tires are worn they become dangerous. You can typically see the wear and tear on the tread with a visual inspection (remember T-CLOCS) before you ride. In addition to the tread, you want to make sure that the rubber has not hardened to an unsafe condition. However, if you do not notice anything in your pre-ride inspection you can feel the warning signs of a bad tire when you are riding. If your bike starts to wobble, vibrate, the tires make a weird sound, or the handling becomes unstable you probably have a tire issue that needs to be addressed immediately. The best thing to do is slow down and pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and check your tires.
5. Electrical Problems
Depending on the age of your motorcycle you probably have a significant number of electrical components that help improve performance, provide comfort, or add to the aesthetics of your motorcycle. Whatever the use, these components can cause electrical failures if they are compromised.
There are usually only a limited number of electrical components on a stock motorcycle, but the wiring can be difficult and diagnosing the problem can also be troublesome. Once the owner starts to add components, it can complicate the system. Especially if the new components are not properly installed. If not installed properly or if the installation interfered with the stock components, an electrical component could affect your engine's performance, the lifespan of your batter, and some of the safety features of your motorcycle.
If you believe an electrical issue is affecting your motorcycle's performance, disconnect the battery to prevent injury and potential or further damage to the motorcycle. And if you don't have the skill to diagnose and fix the problem, get the help of a trained motorcycle mechanic.
What happens if I am involved in a motorcycle accident?
If you fail to maintain your motorcycle your chances of being involved with an accident are significantly increased. As with any automobile accident the consequences for all involved are potentially life altering and devastating. If an accident while riding a motorcycle, the liability or fault for the accident will most likely be attributed to the negligent party. If your bike is not in good condition, you may be considered the negligent party. Therefore, any medical injuries or damages to personal property of everyone involved in the accident will be the responsibility of that person…potentially you.
A professional familiar with the nuances of these complex issues is a great resource to consult in these situations and can help you determine damages, liability, and other factors relevant to the resolution of your matter.