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7 things you should check if your motorcycle is not starting
By Naveen Soni
April 21, 2016 16:35 IST

Perform these simple checks to resolve the problem on your own

There is nothing more frustrating than your motorcycle refusing to start just when you thought you wanted to go for a relaxing ride. No, it is not the all common cold start issue that we are referring to here. There are times when due to our own ignorance we land ourselves in such frustrating situations.

You may agree that some do panic when that happens. We are here to tell you how by staying calm and performing some minor checks you may be able to resolve the problem on your own.

We tell you 7 simple checks that you may want to perform when your bike just refuses to come to life:

Weak/Dead battery

The battery that is safely secured onto your bike is indeed the lifeline of its entire electrical system. For two wheelers equipped with just an electric start, the starter motor is wholly dependent on the battery. Only if the battery carries sufficient charge would it be able to crank up the motor that demands a fairly high voltage from the battery.

On a relatively weak battery one would not be able to use the electric start. Some signs of a dead or a weak battery are when you push the horn button or switch on the headlights, none actually work well or report total failure.

No fuel

When your fuel level goes down, it is very difficult to judge its availability using the gauge and that could also be a reason why your bike isn't starting. At that time, you can use some old school techniques to check if your bike has fuel or not.

One of the easiest way is to shake your bike gently when on main stand and wait to hear that typical telltale slosh of remaining fuel, if any, from the tank. Alternatively you could also check it using the flashlight of your mobile phone.

Clogged fuel tank vent

There is a very small vent provided on the fuel tank of your motorcycle for the outlet to supply fuel continuously to the intake system. In most of the bikes in India, it is the keyhole of the fuel tank cap.

When this vent gets clogged, the tank stops the supply of fuel to the lower system. You can unclog the vent with a very thin wire or pin along with a forced blow in that hole.

4. Clutch is not engaging properly

When you are starting your bike and the transmission is in gear, you need to pull the clutch lever properly. Sometimes, the clutch does not engage correctly and creates a starting problem. In such condition, bring your transmission in neutral and try again.

Blocking intake or exhaust

Blocked airbox or muffler exit is also a condition that creates starting problem, which can occur due to any reason including pranksters in your neighbourhood. So, you should also check the intake and exhaust system of your bike if there is anything extra in them.

Loose spark plug wire

Loose spark plug wire is not a new thing for motorcycle riders; it can occur due to the jerks or could be a prank. You don't need any mechanic to fix this problem. Just unplug and re-plug the connectors and try to start the motorcycle again.

Engine cut off switch

It is one of the most common things we forget to check before getting annoyed with the starting problem. Most of the time we use the ignition key to turn off the motorcycle instead of the engine kill or cut off switch. So when we use it, we forget to turn off the switch sometimes and keep trying to crank the engine.

Photograph: Yehudi Menuhin/

Naveen Soni
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