How To Start a Motorcycle That Has Been Sitting? Easy Steps

Learning how to start a motorcycle that has been sitting is an easy but slightly lengthy process, and with the proper steps and instructions, even someone who needs to gain the basic knowledge of motorcycle maintenance will be able to start it with ease. However, remember that there is only a certain amount of time you can leave a motorcycle before it becomes nearly impossible to start it again.

How To Start a Motorcycle That Has Been Sitting

It is relatively straightforward to start one that has been sitting for a few days at most, but it becomes an entirely different story when the time that has passed exceeds many months or even years. Regardless of the time, we have detailed methods in the subsequent sections to help you smoothly operate the motorcycle and get it to function accordingly without a hitch!

How Can You Start a Motorcycle That Has Been Sitting?

You can start a motorcycle that has been sitting by cleaning its spark plugs and tank. Add fresh fuel and inspect the battery voltage and the air filter. It’s also a wise idea to inspect the oil filter and the coolant and replace what needs to be replaced.

  • Cleaning the Spark Plugs

After removing your motorcycle cover, the first step towards preparing your bike for a ride is to check the spark plug. A plug that is not working efficiently can make it challenging to start the motorcycle or cause the engine to run poorly.

To clean the plug, use a piece of fine-grained sandpaper and a wire brush to remove any dirt or buildup. Make sure to clean the whole surface of the plug until it is clean and shiny.

  • Checking the Tank

Storing your motorcycle in a room subjected to temperature variations can be challenging as it can lead to condensation and oxidation. This situation can be exacerbated if the bike is kept outside or stored in an iron container, accelerating the oxidation process. Therefore, taking the necessary precautions to keep your bike in top condition is essential.

Before turning on the fuel tap, it is essential to inspect the bottom of the fuel tank with a flashlight. This step is crucial because if there are any traces of rust or oxidation, fine particles may clog the fine vents of the carburettor. This can lead to performance issues and other problems.

  • Adding Fresh Fuel

When a motorcycle is immobilized for a long time, the carburetor can become stuck inside the fuel inlet, leading to issues such as the engine running too lean or too rich. Therefore, after replacing the old fuel with fresh fuel, it is crucial to take additional steps to ensure the fuel system works correctly.

If your motorcycle has a carburetor, it is recommended to open the valve of the carburetor and drain some of the fresh fuel to flush out any impurities that may have accumulated during storage. This will make sure that the fuel system is functioning correctly and the engine is running at its best.

Adding Fresh Fuel in Motorcycle

Suppose your motorcycle has a fuel injection system. In that instance, you can switch on the ignition five to six times to refresh the contents of the injection circuit. This will help ensure that the fuel flows correctly through the system and the engine runs smoothly.

You should also check the car’s air filter to ensure it is both squeaky clean and free from any debris that may have accumulated during storage. A clogged air filter can completely restrict airflow to the car engine, which can cause it to run poorly.

  • Inspecting the Battery Voltage

Suppose a battery is left uncharged for an extended period. In that case, it can drain thoroughly, and checking with a voltmeter can help determine if it can be revived or needs replacing. A fully charged battery should show a voltage of 12.8 V to 13.0 V on the voltmeter. If the reading is lower, it may be time for a replacement, even after charging.

If a battery has been periodically charged, it may still be usable. Still, replacing batteries that have been idle for more than a year is wise.

  • Cleaning the Air Filter

After checking the battery, the next step in preparing your motorcycle for use is inspecting the air filter. If the bike has been kept in storage for less than a year, it’s possible to clean the filter using compressed air and reuse it. However, it’s essential to inspect the filter to ensure it’s working correctly regularly.

Over time, dirt and debris can then clog the filter, reducing its efficacy and causing engine performance issues. It’s also worth taking note of that different types of air filters may require other cleaning methods, so it’s essential to consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Replacing the Air Filter

Air filters are essential to a motorcycle’s engine, as they prevent all the dirt and debris from entering and causing damage. Suppose a bike has been in storage for more than a year. In that case, replacing the air filter rather than trying to clean it is generally recommended. This is because air filters are made of pleated paper, and their effectiveness can deteriorate over time.

Replacing Motorcycle Air Filter

It’s imperative to keep in mind that a clogged or even a dirty air filter can cause a reduction in engine performance and potentially even engine damage. Therefore, it’s wise to save time and replace the air filter, if necessary, to ensure your motorcycle is running at its optimal level.

  • Taking a Look at the Oil Filter

Dirty engine oil can cause buildup and obstruct the normal functioning of pistons, resulting in decreased performance and potential damage to the engine. Impurities around the oil filter can be cleaned with petrol, but if they are too stubborn, it is better to replace the filter. After draining the old oil, the oil tank should be refilled with fresh oil.

  • Changing the Coolant

During combustion, a significant amount of heat is produced, which can cause friction and wear in the engine if not properly dissipated. This is where the engine coolant comes into play. It circulates through the engine, absorbing the heat and preventing it from overheating.

However, like engine oil, coolant ages over time and loses its ability to cool the engine effectively. It is, therefore, essential to replace the coolant every two years or around that to ensure that the engine remains in optimal condition. Ignoring the replacement of coolant can lead to severe engine damage and costly repairs in the long run.

  • Assessing Tire Pressure

When a motorcycle is parked for an extended period, it’s normal for the tire pressure to drop. That’s why checking the force before taking your bike out for a ride is essential. While the ideal pressure range for most motorcycle tires is between 28 to 40 PSI, it’s recommended to refer to the tire’s brand-specific label to determine the perfect pressure.

Assessing Motorcycle Tire Pressure

Maintaining the correct pressure provides a smooth ride, improves fuel efficiency, increases tire longevity, and reduces the risk of accidents.

  • Checking the Brakes

While rotating the wheels, apply the front and rear brakes to check for squealing or grinding noises. Any such noises may indicate a problem with the disc pad or disc shoe, which should be checked for wear and tear.

Additionally, it is essential to check the level of brake fluid, which should be replaced every 2-3 years. For motorcycles that have been inactive for a long time, replacing the entire brake fluid with a fresh one is highly recommended to avoid any potential issues.

  • Treating the Electrical Joints

Take good care of the electrical components of your motorcycle to avoid any malfunction or failure. One of the prevalent techniques to do this is by using anti-corrosive sprays. These sprays help prevent corrosion from building up on the electrical joints, which can cause various issues.

In addition to treating the electrical joints, cleaning the coil and cables connected to the plug is also essential. These parts are crucial to the engine’s functioning, and any damage or wear and tear can lead to issues.

  • Cleaning and Lubricating the Chain

Lubricating and cleaning the motorcycle chain is a simple and highly effective way to keep it in top condition. To ensure the best results, performing this activity before taking your bike for a test ride is recommended.

Cleaning and lubricating the chain involves removing dirt, debris, and old lubricant before applying new oil. It is also essential to adjust the chain tension to prevent any unnecessary wear on the chain or sprockets.

  • Flushing the Carburetor

Suppose a motorcycle has been inactive for an extended period. In that case, the carburetor may become clogged with fuel residues and carbon, affecting its efficiency and leading to an underperforming engine.

Flushing Motorcycle Carburetor

To prevent this, it is recommended to flush the carburetor before hitting the road. Washing the carburetor involves cleaning it with a recommended cleaner or using a special cleaning kit.

The process includes removing the carburetor, disassembling it, and cleaning it thoroughly with the appropriate solution. Once the cleaning is complete, the carburettor is reassembled and reinstalled.

  • Checking for Signs of Corrosion

The performance and appearance of motorcycle components can be affected by moisture, temperature variations, and sunlight. If left unchecked, metal parts may rust, and rubber parts may become brittle.

Corrosion often starts near the exhaust and can spread to other metal parts, ultimately destroying them from the inside out. It is integral to regularly inspect your bike for signs of corrosion and take necessary steps to prevent it from rusting, particularly in the exhaust and muffler areas.

  • Taking a Test Ride

Before taking a test ride, the final step is to start the motorcycle engine and leave it to be idle for a few minutes to warm up and allow the mechanical parts to grease. It is essential to take it easy at first and inspect the lights and indicators for their functionality while the bike is idling.


Starting a bike sitting for a while can be a rewarding experience, but it will definitely require patience, attention, and a willingness to learn. By following our team’s advice reviewed in the summary below, you can gain confidence and knowledge to

maintain and repair your motorcycle:

  • To start your motorcycle that has been sitting, check the spark plugs and inspect them for damage.
  • Check the gasoline tank for any signs of rust or debris, and drain old fuel before adding fresh fuel with some fuel stabilizer.
  • Inspect the motorcycle battery voltage, and replace it if necessary.
  • Clean or replace the air filter, which can become clogged with dirt and debris.
  • Check the oil filter and coolant, and replace what needs to be replaced.

Remember, a well-maintained motorcycle runs better, lasts longer, and maintains its value. Therefore, we urge all motorcycle enthusiasts to take the necessary steps, as detailed in this article, to ensure their bikes are well-maintained and safe to ride.

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