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Motorcycle Won’t Start Without a Choke? Here’s Why

Motorcycle Won’t Start Without a Choke? Here’s Why

If your motorcycle does not start without a choke, there may be something wrong with the carburetor or fuel supply. If your motorcycle is suffering from this issue, you may have to clean or replace the air filter. Read this article to learn the best solution to fix your motorcycle if it won’t start without a choke.

1. What is a Choke?

What is a Choke?

A choke is a mechanical valve inside the carburetor that can stop the air intake to draw more fuel into the system. Most motorcycles have a knob on the exterior of the carburetor, which can be pressed to stop air intake into the carburetor. Other motorcycles have a small lever attached to the carburetor to turn the choke on and off.

Modern motorcycles are fitted with fuel injectors to better deliver fuel to the engine. The fuel injectors replace the carburetors as they provide better fuel delivery and performance. This is why young motorcyclists know so little about what a choke is since most modern motorbikes do not have a choke valve. However, there are still many riders who love riding old carburized motorcycles because of their classic looks and unmatched performance.


2. How Activating the Choke Can Help The Motorcycle to Start in the Cold?

How Activating the Choke Can Help The Motorcycle to Start in the Cold?

Old carburized motorcycles often struggle to start in the cold due to the engine’s temperature dropping to a level that prevents ignition when trying to turn the motorcycle on. A cold engine can also reduce fuel supply to the combustion chamber, resulting in cold starts.

2.1 How Does the Choke Work?

How Does the Choke Work?

A choke is a simple valve placed on the upper side of the carburetor. When it’s on, it becomes horizontal to stop air from entering the carburetor through the air filter. A vacuum is formed inside the carburetor, which sucks more fuel into the system, resulting in vigorous and quick combustion. The engine can reach an optimal temperature to operate in less time with an activated choke. However, the choke must be deactivated after two minutes since active choke results in more fuel consumption.

Also Read: How to Clean Motorcycle Air Filter

3. Why the Motorcycle Won’t Start Without a Choke

If your motorcycle doesn’t start without a choke, it can be due to the following reasons:

  • Your engine temperature is too low to initiate combustion
  • The air filter is too dirty and is letting dirt enter the carburetor
  • The fuel delivery system is contaminated
  • The fuel lines, including the fuel filters and petcock, are clogged with debris and restricting fuel delivery to the carburetor

Even if your motorcycle has clogged fuel lines, the fuel can still enter the system when the choke is turned on when starting the motorcycle. However, it is not a permanent solution to ensure your motorcycle keeps running.


4. Identify the Cause

Before you can fix the problem, you need to identify the cause of why your motorcycle won’t start. Dirt entering the air filter and carburetor, and clogged fuel lines are common issues with old carburized motorcycles. The major causes of why the motorcycle won’t start without the choke are:

  • Cold weather
  • Improper air/fuel mixture
  • Restricted airflow
  • Clogged fuel lines
  • Poor fuel delivery

The causes listed above are linked to the restricted airflow and poor fuel delivery causing the improper air/fuel mixture. Also, clogged fuel lines can cause poor fuel delivery to the engine.

Restricted airflow is often due to an old and clogged air filter. Clogged air filters and fuel lines result in an improper air/fuel mixture. For better engine performance, optimal fuel delivery, and low fuel consumption, the air/fuel mixture must be in a perfect ratio.

5. How to Fix the Issues

5.1 How to Fix the Cold Start Issue

If your motorcycle does not start in the cold without a choke, you can try the following ways to fix it:

  • During cold weather, store the motorcycle in a warm place.
  • If you manage to start your motorcycle, idle the engine for at least 7-15 mins to attain an operational temperature good for the engine.
  • If your motorcycle has a kick-start lever, use it to start the motorcycle as the electric starter may not work in the cold due to battery issues.
  • Do not keep the motorcycle parked too long
  • The fuel quality degrades over time if the motorcycle is parked too long. Therefore, drain the fuel in the tank and refuel the motorbike.
  • Use low-grade engine oils specifically manufactured for cold weather.


5.2 How to Fix the Airflow Issue?

The airflow issue can be fixed by inspecting the air filter. Clean the air filter to remove accumulated dust. If it is too old and clogged, replace it with a new one. It is a simple process that you can do by yourself.

5.3 How to Fix Clogged Fuel Lines and Poor Fuel Delivery

Poor fuel delivery and clogged fuel lines are the most common issues with older motorcycles. For better and uninterrupted fuel delivery to the carburetor, there must be no dust or blockage in the fuel delivery system. Removing the carburetor and cleaning it properly can remove dust from every corner. You should also check the fuel pipes connected to the carburetor for any blockage. If the fuel still does not reach the carburetor, this can be due to a faulty fuel pump. The fuel pump sucks the fuel from the fuel tank and transfers it to the carburetor. It becomes dysfunctional if it is too old and should be replaced.

6. Final Words

Several reasons why your motorcycle won’t start without a choke include a clogged air filter, blocked fuel lines, dirt buildup in the carburetor, and a faulty fuel pump. Activating the choke will stop airflow, pump more fuel into the carburetor, and open the pathways temporarily, but it is not a permanent solution. If you want your motorcycle to run and accelerate smoothly in any condition, make sure it has a clean air filter, carburetor, and fuel delivery system. Better fuel delivery ensures better engine performance.

A well-maintained motorcycle lasts longer and if you want to travel longer on your bike, several aftermarket parts can make motorcycle travel more comfortable and safe. Viking Bags has high-quality motorcycle parts, including sissy bars, backrests, handlebars, seats, crash bars, and fairings for your specific make and model. You can also find different luggage options at Viking Bags, including saddlebags, handlebar bags, and sissy bar bags.

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