motorcycle 101 guides

What to Do After Buying a Used Motorcycle?

What to Do After Buying a Used Motorcycle?

Modern motorcycles come with several ride-assist features, making them expensive. If you work with a low budget, a used motorcycle is the better option. You have plenty of options available if you want to buy a used motorcycle. Make sure to leave enough in your budget for maintenance, repairs, and aftermarket parts to improve the used motorbike’s performance and look.

Buying a used motorcycle can save you a lot of money. However, if it has not been maintained properly, it can break down early. Before buying a used motorcycle, make sure to thoroughly inspect its condition and performance. You might need to clean the engine, carburetor, fuel injector, and fuel tank and change the fluids in the engine, brake, and forks after buying a used motorcycle. Read this article to learn what to do after buying a used motorcycle.

Also Read: What to Look For When Buying a Used Motorcycle

1. Used Motorcycle Inspection Checklist

You should thoroughly inspect the used motorcycle before buying it. After taking the used motorcycle home, carefully inspect it for any physical damage to the engine, suspensions, gearbox, and tires. Make an inspection checklist and keep marking off the tasks after performing each one.

1.1 Check for Any Physical Damage

Check for Any Physical Damage

Before buying a used motorcycle, check the vehicle’s frame for any signs of damage. Try to ask the previous owner if he/she has ever gotten into a crash while riding this motorcycle. Check for any hidden or internal damages that could result in oil leaks. Sometimes a crack or similar damage is covered with paint and polish. If a motorcycle part has become too old and cracked, replace it with a new one.

1.2 Check the Oil Leaks and Seals

Check the Oil Leaks and Seals

You should conduct a detailed inspection of the seals. Most oil leaks are due to worn-out seals that can no longer hold oil inside. You can tell if a motorcycle is suffering from oil leaks by visually inspecting the part. For example, signs of oil leaks in the engine are greasy black stains on the engine cover. If your motorcycle has worn-out fork oil seals, the oil stains will be visible on the inner tube of the front forks. If you smell burnt oil while starting the motorcycle, this may also be a sign of engine oil leakage. After buying a used motorcycle, you should replace the oil seals to prevent damage to the engine, suspensions, and brakes.

1.3 Check the Fluids

Check the Fluids

If you have bought a used motorcycle from a trusted owner, there might be no issues with the fluids. However, checking the oil levels can let you know if you need to add or replace any oil. There are several motorcycle fluids necessary for smooth operation, including engine oil, gear oil, brake oil, fork oil, and engine coolant. If any motorcycle fluid is low or has degraded in quality, the motorcycle will eventually break down over time.

1.4 Check the Filter

Check the motorcycle filter in case it is dirty or clogged. Debris can stick to the motorcycle air filter over time and cause it to become clogged, preventing air from passing through and causing a rich fuel mixture to enter the engine. Engine performance can also degrade if the fuel-air mixture is not balanced. Replace the filter if it is dirty after buying a used motorcycle.

1.5 Check the Brakes

Before you ride a used motorcycle, make sure to test its brakes to ensure they work properly. The thickness of the brake pads can become reduced over time, making the brakes ineffective. You do not need to ride a motorcycle to test the brakes; just pull the front brake lever and press the rear brake pedal to see if the brakes work. If the front brake pads look soggy, it may indicate a fork oil leak. Replace the brake pads if they are worn out.

1.6 Check the Tires

Tires are motorcycle parts that remain in contact with the ground and absorb impacts. They also start to wear out over time and must be replaced after exceeding their service life. You can check the condition of the tires through a visual inspection. If they are too old, rough, and cannot maintain air pressure, replace the tires.

1.7 Check the Wheels

It is common for used motorcycles to have unaligned wheels. You can check the alignment of a wheel on a static wheel balancer. Hang the used motorcycle’s tires on a static wheel balancer one by one and slightly rotate them. If they do not immediately stop after the centrifugal force is removed, the wheels may require balancing. However, if there are dents, cracks, and rust on your motorcycle’s wheels, you will have to replace them.


1.8 Check the Motorcycle’s Battery and Charging System

Used old motorcycles are usually not fitted with LED lighting and consume more battery power, causing the battery to drain more quickly. When the motorcycle battery is overworked, it becomes weaker over time and may start failing to charge. To avoid getting stranded due to a faulty battery and charging system, make sure to get your motorcycle battery checked by a mechanic. The motorcycle can also have starting issues if the battery is weak. Replacing the old battery is often a good investment.

1.9 Check for Rust

Check parts on used motorcycles that may be rusting. If a motorcycle part is completely rusted, replace it. Rusting spreads quickly if there is a lot of moisture. To prevent rusting, you can use the wet sanding method, rust-removing chemicals, or cover the area with fresh paint and finish.

1.10 Check the Inside of the Fuel Tank

Rust forming inside the fuel tank can degrade fuel quality, fuel consumption, and engine performance. If rust mixes with the fuel and enters the fuel lines, it could lead to restricted fuel flow and blockage. If you see rust inside the fuel tank, you can remove it by pouring in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, then shaking and rinsing properly to remove rust flakes. Afterward, drain the fuel tank and leave it alone to dry.


1.11 Check the Clutch Cable and Lever

Check the clutch cable for excess slack since a worn-out clutch cable can be too loose or tight. If the clutch lever does not return or returns slowly back to its original position after being pulled, it may indicate that the clutch cable is worn out. Make sure to replace the clutch cable to ensure safer and smooth rides.

1.12 Check the Throttle Cable

If a used motorcycle is not responsive when the throttle is twisted, there might be a problem with the throttle cable. Inspect the throttle cable and adjust the tension if necessary. If there is too much slack, adjust the throttle cable by the recommended length according to the motorcycle owner’s manual. If it is frayed or worn out, you should replace the throttle cable.

Also Read: Motorcycle Throttle Cable Adjustment Guide

1.13 Motorcycle Chain Adjustment

The motorcycle chain is the link that drives the motorcycle and transfers engine power from the gearbox to the rear wheel. It is more likely that a used motorcycle will have a worn-out chain due to constant grinding and friction between the chain teeth and sprockets and can also become loose over time. Adjusting the chain can help reduce slack and ensure better tension. However, if it is too rusty and worn out, replace it to ensure better power delivery to the rear wheel.

1.14 Check the Spark Plugs

Check the Spark Plugs

Old and faulty spark plugs can cause several issues, including starting problems and slower acceleration. Inspecting the spark plug’s color and appearance can tell you a lot about its condition and age. A faulty spark plug cannot produce the required spark at the firing end and can misfire, resulting in poor engine performance.

2. Wash It Thoroughly

Wash It Thoroughly

To ensure the used motorcycle looks clean, wash it thoroughly. Remove any dust, oil stains, and rust. There are several cleaning products available in the market for motorcycles. For better performance, you can also clean the engine, fuel tank, air filter, and fuel injectors. Cleaning these parts requires removing them from the motorcycle. If you are new to cleaning a used motorcycle, consult a professional mechanic.


3. Take a Test Ride

After making sure that there are no more issues with the used motorcycle and that the engine, brakes, and suspensions are working fine, take it on a test ride to better evaluate its performance.

4. Make the Changes You Want

By installing aftermarket parts, you can transform a used motorcycle as per your preferences. If you want to make it more comfortable for long-distance rides and touring, you can install a sissy bar, sissy bar pad, fairing, windshield, handlebars, and a seat. To protect your motorcycle engine, you can install crash bars. Viking Bags has a wide range of luggage options, especially for the specific make and model of your motorcycle to improve storage capacity. These include saddlebags, backpacks, tank bags, roll bags, and handlebar bags.

5. Final Words

Buying a used motorcycle is a good option if you have a low budget, but it can be frustrating if it has too many issues. Make sure to carefully inspect a used motorcycle before buying it. After buying a used motorcycle, make sure to follow the inspection checklist before going for a ride. Check for any physical damage, engine, oil leaks, brakes, filters, tires, wheels, and cables to ensure a safe riding experience. After inspecting the bike thoroughly, you can also adjust the ergonomics and transform the used motorcycle as per your preferences.

Reading next

Things You Need to Know When Buying Ape Hangers
Things You Need to Know When Buying Ape Hangers

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.