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Bike Not Starting? Try Checking These 10 Things

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10 Things to Check When Bike Not Starting

Thanks to improved engineering and technological innovation, it seems as if motorcycles are getting better and better every year. Batteries are lasting longer, wheels are sustaining more traction on the road, engines are getting more powerful and reliable at the same time – the list goes on. However, there is no such thing as a perfect machine (if only), and today’s rides remain just as susceptible to mechanical hiccups and breakdowns as before.

If you’re an avid motorcyclist, you will one day experience bike start failure, if you haven’t already. When it happens, don’t pull out your phone and call your friend with a pickup truck right off the bat. Try checking these 10 common causes first, and you may be able to resolve your no-go woes and get back on the road in no time at all.

  1. Battery: This one’s a no brainer. The usual signs of a dead or dying battery include dim lights and the dreaded Click of Death. Cross your fingers and crank the starter. If that doesn’t work, there’s always jumper cables.
  2. Petcock: The petcock is the fuel control valve of your bike. Rust particles from your tank’s innards and corrosion can clog the petcock’s internal passageways. Try tapping the petcock to see if you can jostle the gunk loose.
  3. Vacuum line: If it’s not the petcock, it might be the vacuum line. Check for cracks or leaks. A little electrical tape can help you get home in a pinch.
  4. Clutch switch: Depending on the type of bike you have, you may need to pull in the clutch lever to get the starter motor to spin, even if the bike is in neutral. If the starter motor is refusing to crank, try squeezing and releasing the clutch lever a few times.
  5. Transmission: If you’re getting no response from pulling your clutch in, a faulty switch may be tricking the starter motor. Check your transmission and make sure it’s in neutral.
  6. Sidestand: The solution to your non-starting problem may be as simple as folding up the sidestand. Don’t feel foolish – it happens to plenty of good riders.
  7. Muffler: A prankster may have clogged the muffler exit with a potato or tennis ball, or, heaven forbid, a small critter may have taken up residence in the airbox.
  8. Fuel: You can check to see whether your bike has any fuel left by shaking it back-and-forth while listening for the telltale slosh. If your bike has a fuel pump, see if it’s running. If you have a carbureted bike, open the float bowl drain to see if the gasoline is making it to the carburetors.
  9. Plug wire: So you’ve checked all of the above and your bike still won’t start. What now? The issue may be electrical. Try unplugging and replugging connectors.
  10. Engine cutoff switch: You may not give the kill switch a single thought because you’re used to using the ignition key instead. Whatever the case, remember that sometimes the answer is right under your nose.
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These tips have been brought to you by the experienced California motorcycle accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm. If you ever get into trouble on the road, feel free to call us at (800) 522-7274 and we will fight to get you full and fair compensation for your damages.

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