Learning About Dirt Bikes and All Terrain Vehicles

Tips for Fixing a No-Start Issue on Your Motorcycle

If you have a motorcycle, then you likely know that maintenance is necessary to keep your bike running smoothly. Even with regular maintenance, you still may find yourself with some issues that need to be addressed. A motorcycle that will not start is one such problem you may face. Unfortunately, the problem can leave you scratching your head, especially since so many things can cause the issue. However, there are a few simple things you can do to start diagnosing the problem.

Open the Choke Manually

If you have a motorcycle engine with a carburetor, like most motorcycles, then you may not be able to start the motorcycle from a cold start without opening the choke. If your motorcycle is new to you, then you may not have had to do this yet to get the engine working. Electric starts do not always require the manual maneuvering of the choke, but this is necessary if you are riding in colder weather or if the motorcycle has been sitting for some time.

If you notice that the engine will not idle when the clutch is released but does try to start, then this is a sign that the engine is not receiving enough fuel. You should open the choke before trying to start the motorcycle. This allows fuel to flood the carburetor so the engine can start easily. The choke is controlled by the choke lever, and you will see this on the left handlebar. The choke slides towards and away from you.

Before you start the motorcycle, pull the lever toward you about halfway to open it and try to start the engine. If the engine starts, then ride the bike for a few minutes. Turn the choke off afterward. The engine should be warm enough at this point that it no longer needs as much fuel to run. Do not forget to turn the choke off. If you forget, then your engine will be placed under a great deal of stress and may wear out sooner than expected.

Look for Fuel-Line Breaks and Other Fuel Issues

If your engine tries to start but will not turn over, then you may have a fuel issue that needs to be inspected. The fuel line itself may have a small leak or hole. If it does, then you may have trouble starting your motorcycle when fuel needs are the greatest. You can inspect the fuel line fairy easily since the majority of it will be exposed. The fuel line is either a stainless steel, nylon, or neoprene tube that runs from the fuel tank, to the petcock, to the carburetor. 

The start of the fuel line can typically be located underneath the seat, and it can be followed down to the engine. Visually inspect the line for breaks and feel the line for dampness. If the line is wet, use a rag to wipe the damp area and smell it. If you smell gasoline, then invest in a motorcycle repair immediately.  

If the fuel line is intact, then the fuel filter may need to be replaced. The fuel filter is an in-line filter that removes contaminants from the fuel. If it has not been replaced within the last year, then it is best to replace it. The filter can clog fairly easily and stop fuel from flowing freely. To change the filter, simply remove the hose clamps on either end of the filter, remove the old one, and purchase an identical replacement. Secure the new filter in place and reinstall the hose clamps. 

When you complete the filter replacement, consider adding an additive to the fuel tank, especially if the old fuel filter is noticeably clogged. Carburetor-cleaning additives as well as fuel stabilizers are a good choice. Talk to a company such as Monarch Honda for help or more information.