If you’re one of the more than 400,000 licensed motorcyclists in Texas, warmer weather means hitting the open road on your favorite two-wheeled vehicle. But if your bike’s been sitting in a garage for a while, make sure you inspect it before taking that first spring ride.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends that riders complete an annual T-CLOCS inspection, which stands for tires/wheels/brakes, controls, lights/electrics, oil/fluids, chassis, and stands. Here’s what that entails:
- Tires – Check the tread depth, and look for signs of wear, cracks, embedded objects, or bulges. Check the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure, and test your air pressure when the tires are cold. Inflate if necessary.
- Wheels – Look for any bent, broken, loose, or missing spokes. Inspect the cast for cracks and dents and make sure rims are true (spin the wheel against a stationary pointer). Check bearings to ensure there’s no “click” between the hub and axle and no growl when spinning, and inspect seals for cracks or tears, excess grease, or a reddish-brown color (a sign of rust).
- Brakes – Check pads and discs for wear and ensure each brake independently keeps the motorcycle from rolling.
Inspect handlebars, levels, pedals, cables, and hoses for proper functioning and adjustment, and look for signs of wear or damage. The throttle should move freely and snap closed, and you should hear no revving when turning the handlebars.
Check all lights for proper function; replace bulbs or fuses if necessary. Check battery terminals, and remove any build-up. From a seated position on the motorcycle, adjust mirrors and ensure headlights are properly aligned/positioned. (Note: You may need a helper to observe your bike while you activate headlights, tail lights and turn signals, to confirm they’re working.)
In addition to changing or topping off oils and fluids, make sure no gaskets, hoses, or seals are leaking or damaged.
Carefully go over the frame, suspensions, fasteners, and chain/belt, keeping an eye out for cracks, loose fixtures, or missing components (such as bolts and nuts). The front and rear wheels should, when independently raised off the ground, spin freely, with no play. Front forks should have equal air pressure, as should rear shocks.
Check center and side stands to make sure the springs are in place and have adequate tension.
Generally, when you inspect your bike, you’re looking for signs of serious wear or conditions that could affect your bike’s operation (such as poor lubrication). If you don’t have the time, mechanical ability, or tools to inspect and adjust every component yourself, take your motorcycle to a reputable mechanic.
The attorneys at the Austin, TX-based Evans Law Firm have represented many motorcyclists who have been injured in crashes due to other motorists’ negligence. As motorcycle accident injury attorneys with years of experience, we help the people of Texas put their lives back on track. Contact us today if you need help with your personal injury case.