Our Editor doesn’t do spring maintenance on his main bike – as it doesn’t stop getting ridden in winter.

So we’ve reached the time of year where things are thawing, the snow is largely gone, and, and you are probably getting an irresistible itch to ride your scooter.  At least I hope that’s where your irresistible itch is coming from.

You might ask – what should you be doing to wake up your beast and get it ready for the riding season?  Scoottoronto is here to help answer that with our handy tips and hints about spring scooter preparation!

The Checklist – what to check on your scoot:

Step 1:  Check your fluids – brake fluid and coolant if liquid cooled.

If your scooter looks like this, you may have gone too far in your spring preparation.

Step 2:  Check your lights – Are your blinkers blinking and your headlight headlighting?  You should check all of your lighting – make sure your brake light is going on, that your high and low beams work, and your blinkers work on each corner – lightning is a key part of the safety on your machine, and this should be part of several checks throughout the year on your lighting system.

Step 3: Consider replacing your fuel  Did you use fuel stabilizer? if not you will want to consider replacing your fuel, especially if you are using gas that is an ethanol mix.  Ethanol absorbs water and while this is a good thing in limited amounts – water gets absorbed up to a certain point and passes through the engine harmlessly – after it has been sitting and has absorbed more water from the atmosphere it may cause issues.  Fuel stabilizer and using non ethanol gasoline before storing the bike may be advised, otherwise if you experience issues such as the bike being hard to start or sputtering you may have to drain and replace your gas.  (We’d recommend using non ethanol gas when storing the bike and fuel stabilizer to help avoid this.)

Step 4:  Battery maintenance – charge it up!  Scooter and motorcycle batteries are generally quite small, and if not kept on a battery tender or disconnected during storage and kept in a warmer place, they may not have enough power when you go to start the bike.  This can be especially true if your bike has a parasitic charge – if something gradually discharges the battery even when the scooter is switched off.  Charging with a motorcycle charger should fix this.  Be careful what charger you use – an automotive charger may have too much amperage for a smaller motorcycle or scooter battery.

If you suspect you need greater levels of service, it might be time for your dealer or mechanic to take a peek. Here, Old Vintage Cranks in Acton looks at our Editors’ machine.

Step 5: Tires – how old, and how worn?  Tires are the thing that keep you upright and help avoid a brief tumble and a large explosion when going around a corner.  It’s a good idea to check them for flat sports, cracks, tread depth and also check the date code on the side of the tire – generally speaking anything older than 5-7 years should be replaced as the compound the tire is made from can harden and lose grip as it ages.  (As well as being more vulnerable to age related weaknesses that may cause the tire to deflate – which is not a good thing.)

Step 6: Oil Replacement (And filter if your scooter has one) 

It’s a good idea to start off a season with fresh oil – the lovable dinosaur (or synthetic version of same) that keeps our machines from becoming exceedingly impractical paperweights.  Consider replacing your oil and filter if your scooter has one.  (Many scooters have a simple oil screen instead of a filter, and thus require more frequent oil changes.)

Step 7: Cleaning – a coat of wax might help with UV if your scooter spends a lot of time parked outside, and cleaning your scooter thoroughly can also help in finding any little leaks or issues that are starting to develop.  Plus shiny bikes are faster.  It’s almost as effective as painting it red or adding a stripe.

Step 8: Brake pads – worn? – refer to your owners or service manual for procedure – but if possible you might want to check how worn they are.

Step 9: Drive belt – due for replacement? – Different machines have different belt replacement intervals – refer to your users manual for guidelines on when this is due for inspection or replacement, but keeping an eye on it periodically will save you getting stranded at the side of the road with a shredded drive belt.  And don’t ask me how I know this.

Early Season general tips:

  • Dress properly – cold can affect reaction times, and cause you to be less safe on the road. Also, cold tires might give less grip and if your municipality puts down sand or grit in
    winter you may have extra sand/grit on the road service which may case traction issues – be aware!
  • Keep in mind Toronto weather can surprise you as well – we very rarely have an April without snow for example, and since the temperature can be going above and below freezing, the possibility of black ice is increased
  • If you ride really early, you may want to wash your bike very thoroughly after the first couple of rains.  Sometimes it takes a few rains on Toronto roads for all of the salt to be gone, and it can help promote rust even on a plastic paneled scooter.

So that’s our suggestions for things to look at and consider when getting your machine to ride in the spring.  We hope you find this list somewhat useful and also that you do a better job of following all of these than our Editor does.  Remember, do as he recommends, not as he always does.