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Spring Tune-Up

When spring comes, the first thing you want to do is get on your scooter and ride. After months of neglect, your scooter will probably want a little more TLC before you make her earn her keep. It doesn't take long, and the better you take care of the scooter, the better it will take care of you.

Gear Oil: Assuming you haven't changed the oil in your winterizing steps, you will need to change the oil before you put many miles on the bike. Old dirty oil will leave all kinds of grime in the bottom of your gearbox and on your gears, and you want that stuff gone. Be sure you warm your scoot up thoroughly before doing this, ride it around the block for a mile or two, the oil will run out better when it's hot. Place an oil collection pan underneath your gearbox and remove the drain bolt. Let the oil drip out for a little bit before you replace the bolt. Next, remove the oil fill bolt and fill it with the required amount of fresh clean oil, then replace the bolt.

2-Stoke Oil: If your scooter is a 2-stroke with an oil injector, be sure to fill up the 2-stroke oil to the full level. If it is a pre-mix fuel system, or a 4-stroke, then disregard this step.

Battery: Before putting the battery back in, make sure the electrolyte levels are where they need to be. Electrolytes will evaporate over time, and you will perioodically need to fill the battery with distiled water up to the fill line indicated on the side of your battery. Be sure to use distilled water only, and pour it in a little at a time into each of the cells (those little yellow plugs) on top of the battery. Be sure you've charged up your battery completely before replacing it (you can buy a battery tender at any motorcycle shop for 30 or 40 dollars), strap the battery back into place and then connect the positive (red) terminal first, then the ground (black) one.

Cables: Your cables connect you to all the operations of your scooter, so you want to make sure these are all in good order before you venture out too far. Lubricate all these cables with a spray lubricant and inspect them for any serious wear and tear. Replace any cables that look like they're in a bad state, and test and adjust the cable tension. There are a number of cables - front and rear brake, throttle, speedometer, choke (if applicable), clutch (if applicable) and two gear shift cables (again, if applicable - manual scooters will have more cables than automatics).

Lights: You want to see and be seen, so test all your lights and replace any weak or dead bulbs. Test you high beam and low beam, your rear running lights, turn signals (if applicable) and brake lights.

Tires: Inspect your tires for any dry rot or for overly-worn tread. Your tires keep you from sliding into sudden disaster, so keep these in good order, so if you see any cracks in the tread or sidewalls then replace the tires. Make sure all the wheel nuts are tight, and that your air pressure is at the correct level for both front and back tires - your owners' manual will probably tells you what the correct pressure is (or you can find it online if your scoot doesn't have an owners' manual).

Spark Plug: You only have the one, so if you've been using it for awhile then replace it with a new one. They're cheap, so better safe than sorry.

Article by Kevin Montanaro


The VTScoot InfoBase

The Scooter Defined Winterizing Your Scoot
The Vermont Scooterist Spring Tune-Up
Scooter Buying 101 Tools to Carry
Riding Gear 101 Buyer Beware: Modern
Buyer Beware: Vintage VT "Moped" Definition
Tuning Your Carburetor Basic Maintenance
How to Manual Shift Vespa vs Lambretta
Rules For Group Riding  



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