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Did you know that if your bike has a faulty tail light you can find yourself in all kinds of trouble, and that you are responsible for making sure your machine is in a road worthy condition before you hit the road? Claiming you didn’t realise that something was wrong is no defence when it comes to road traffic law. Below are some simple steps you can take to check your bike and make sure it is in good working order before every ride.
You should check that the number plate is still attached to the bike and that it is visible and can be easily read. This might sound obvious, but it is very easy for number plates to become splashed with mud or for vibrations to cause them to twist around into a position which means they can’t be read.
You should walk around your motorcycle and check for any water, oil, or other fluid leaks. You should also check the engine hoses and radiator for white marks; these can indicate a leak.
Check the Controls
You should then take a moment to check the bike’s throttle, brakes and clutch to ensure there is some free play in them. If the throttle is difficult to move, then it is too tight and it is likely that when you move the handlebars to one side you will inadvertently rev the engine, which isn’t great if you are turning a tight corner.
Check Your Tyres
You should check your tyres when they are cold, as warm tyres will give a false high reading. Check the manual for a list of correct pressures for your tyres. You should also check the tread of your tyres for wear. Tyres generally have wear indicators, which will give you an easy visual reference; however, as a general rule of thumb, you need 1.5mm of tread at the point that is the most worn. While checking the depth of the tread, you should also keep an eye out for nails and other debris which may have become stuck in the tyre without puncturing it. This can result in either a slow puncture or a sudden blow out. If you find anything, get the tyre changed ASAP.
Switch on your ignition and make sure your headlights are in good working order, on both full and low beam. You should also check the other electrics, such as indicators, brakes and horn. Start the bike and listen to the engine. If the engine struggles to turn over, you may have a low battery.
Let the engine run for a minute to two to warm the oil, then switch it off before checking the oil levels. You shouldn’t check your oil from cold as this will lead to a false low reading. You should also ensure that the bike is on level ground when checking the oil, as if the bike is leaning this will also give a false reading.
Checking your bike before you set off on a ride won’t just ensure your machine is road legal, it could also save your life.