motorcycle

7 Steps to Storing Your Motorcycle in Winter in Cache Valley

Winter is Coming

motorcycleIn fact, winter is kinda here. Oh, sure the calendar may say it’s got a few weeks left, but for all us Cache Valley motorcycle enthusiasts, the part that matters is finished. It’s gotten cold. We’ve had our first snow – it didn’t stick around, but the next one probably will. The roads are going to get slippery and icy, which isn’t safe to drive on. If we bundle up tightly, we might get a little more time out of it, but not much. It’s time to put our motorcycles away for the winter.

Storing a motorcycle in the winter takes some steps, though. If you want it to be in good condition when you start in the spring, here’s what you have to do.

1. Top Off the Tank

The problem with gasoline is that it isn’t stable when it sits. When left over the winter, it can go bad, leaving gunk in your tank that’ll need to be cleaned out before you can ride it again. On the other hand, you can’t leave the tank empty, either. Do that and condensation could fill it with enough moisture to damage the engine and hurt its performance.

What you do instead is fill the tank up full before you put it away first. Then you add a fuel stabilizer. The stabilizer will keep the gas from deteriorating over the winter. Once you’ve put it in, turn the engine on and let it run for a few minutes so the treated fuel can cycle through.

2. Check Your Fluids

check fluidsJust as an empty gas tank can let moisture in over the winter, your other fluids need to be refilled to protect it from condensation. Double check your fluids: brake, clutch, and coolant. Replace or refill them as necessary. Also remember to check the antifreeze to keep the engine from freezing up when it gets cold.

3. Check The Oil

Oil is an essential part of keeping your motorcycle running smoothly, but just like gas, it breaks down over time. It turns from a clean, golden liquid to a thick, black goo. This goo is full of contaminants that can corrode the engine parts and do serious damage over the course of a few months. Change the oil and filter plug before you store it.

4. Save Your Battery

Some motorcycles, especially new ones, will drain the charge off their battery even when the ignition is off. They do this to keep the clock set and maintain radio presets (if it has a radio). There are two things you can do to preserve your battery. First, you can remove the radio entirely and trickle charge it all winter. This is the most efficient way, because you don’t have to worry about it. If you want to store your motorcycle in one piece, then make sure the battery is fully charged before you put it in storage. Over the winter, you’ll have to charge the batter about once a month to keep it up.

5. Protect Your Tires

tiresFlat tires suck, but that’s a common problem with motorcycles once you pull them out in the spring. The best way to avoid this is to store your bike with the tires off the ground. That way, the weight of the bike won’t put pressure on them and cause them to deflate. If you don’t have the proper storage for that, then you can still keep them in good condition. All you have to do is inflate the tires to their maximum before you put it in storage and then remember to rotate them once a week.

6. Wax It Up

The insides of your bike aren’t the only parts vulnerable to moisture. Any metal is susceptible to corrosion, including the exterior. A good way to prevent rust is to give it a good wash, dry it thoroughly, and then wax it. Then you should spray your exhaust pipes with WD-40. For some extra protection, stuff a clean towel into the intake and exhaust pipes to keep water and nesting pests out.

7. Keep It Out of the Sun

Sunlight will damage leather and fade paint. To prevent this, park your bike in the garage and away from the windows. To get the best results, put a fitted, breathable cover on it. The cover will protect it from the sunlight as well as dings and scratches, and keep dust, grime and moisture off.

You’re All Good

Once you’ve done all this, your motorcycle is good to go. You can give it a good kiss and tuck it into bed for the winter. Rest easy knowing your bike will be ready to go when spring comes around. If you need any help getting your bike ready to store for the winter, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Motorcycles are our specialty. We’d be happy to help you out. Check with us today and see when we can fit you in.

Tuning your motorcycle

Tuning Your Motorcycle

Tuning your motorcycleTuning for Performance

Tuning for performance is something any motorcycle enthusiast knows about.  All motorcycles have certain base settings built into them to control how much fuel goes into the engine, how fast the wheels can rotate, and so on.  All of these elements combine to determine how any given motorcycle performs.  As any enthusiast knows, a good engine tuning can alter these settings to get more horsepower out of the engine.  These days, however, tuning is about more than just getting more power out of the engine.

 

What is Engine Tuning?

Put simply, engine tuning is the adjustment of the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to get better performance and alter the engine’s output, economy, and durability.  The basic settings on your motorcycle are selected by manufacturers to meet the standards on emissions and safety regulations.  While these settings are very functional, they aren’t always ideal depending on the use you intend for your motorcycle.

 

What Can Tuning Do?

improving performance with engine tuning                  The first thing to understand is that tuning your motorcycle is all about what you want, because every adjustment will have its trade offs.  There is no way to tune your motorcycle so that every function is at its best.  That said, there are a lot of things you can tune a motorcycle for.  The most common reason people tuned motorcycles in the past was for improved power.  With the right adjustments, you could get a lot more horsepower out of a motorcycle.  Cosmetically, people can also adjust the settings to control the sound of the motorcycle engine, creating that roaring rev that biker gangs are famous for.  The drawback to this is that your bike’s engine is put under more stress.  It will need more regular maintenance and the overall lifespan of the bike will be shorter.

These days, however, horsepower isn’t always what you want to go for.  You can also tune an engine to get better gas mileage.  Doing so decreases the power of the engine, but when you can increase your bikes MGP by 2-3 – or even 4-5 – you’ll save a lot at the pump.  And this is on top of how good the fuel efficiency of a motorcycle is just in comparison to a car.  It can really be worth it.

 

Deciding What You Want

What you want to tune your motorcycle to do depends on how you intend to use it.  For casual riders, the default settings are usually good enough.  It gives a good balance of speed, control, and fuel efficiency.  Nothing is spectacular, but nothing is really being sacrificed either.

If you’re using your bike for racing, you’ll definitely want more horsepower out of it.  You can also tune it to give you tighter turning and better acceleration, though these kinds of settings can make the bike more dangerous for inexperienced riders.  If you do a lot of off-road biking, more horsepower is also a good idea.  It can help you get over the occasional hills and dips you’ll run into.

For riding around town, especially if you’re looking to save gas money, tuning for fuel efficiency is a great option.  If you don’t care about speed and power – and on the smooth roads of most cities, power really isn’t a need – you can adjust the engine to be highly fuel efficient and save yourself a lot of money.  You can also tune the engine to be quieter so you don’t disturb your neighbors as much, which I’m sure they’ll appreciate.

In general, it’s a good idea to know what you want out of your bike before you ask someone to tune it.

 

We Can Help

SE Performance                  Here at SE Performance, we have a real passion for motorcycles.  While we work on vehicles of all kinds, motorcycles have always been a favorite.  We have years of experience with them.  We know the ins and outs of fine tuning to help you get the most out of your machine.  If you’re looking for some fine tuning, or just need to make sure your motorcycle is up to standard, come and see us.  Get in touch with us today and schedule an appointment.  See how we can help you get your machine running just the way you want it to.

Washing Your Motorcycle

Riding Time for Cache Valley!

Motorcycle

Photo by Sourav Mishra

Spring is finally at full go in Cache Valley.  The snow is gone, the weather’s warming up, and the roads are clear.  It’s time to bring out your motorcycle.  Before you get started, though, you ought to wash your bike first.  It isn’t just about looking good; cleaning your motorcycle is essential to keeping it in good working condition.  Dirt and grime can corrode the paint and cause the parts to rust.  It can also clog up the engine, or add friction to the moving parts.  So, before you get started, make sure it’s in ready to go.

What You Need to Know

It’s tempting to use household cleaners and power washers to clean it quickly.  This is an amateur mistake.  The pressure of power washers can force water into the electrical components, causing damage.  Household cleaners may be cheap, but they have chemicals in them that can damage the paint, stain the chrome, or even corrode the metal, which is exactly what you’re trying to prevent by cleaning it in the first place.   Before you start, you should go out and purchase some cleaners specifically for use on motorcycles.

Avoid washing in the middle of the day.  The sun can dry out the soaps before you can rinse them off, which will leave stains.  When you do wash it, be sure to leave yourself some time for the engine to cool down.  If you put cold water on hot metal, it can cause serious damage.  On top of that, minerals and contaminants in water will do more damage if they’re warm.

Using the right tool for the right job is very important.  You’ll want to use both a sponge and a brush.  Sponges can be used for larger surfaces, while brushes will more efficiently clean the nooks and crannies out and are easier on the delicate parts.

Steps to Cleaning

1. Light Wash

First, remove the seat and any leather on the bike.  Cover the battery with plastic sheeting and seal off the exhaust pipe with plastic wrap and a rubber band.  This will help keep water out of the electronics and the engine.

Next, use plain water to remove the surface grit.  A simple hose with a nozzle that allows you to control the pressure will work great here.  Use gentle streams around the hub and wheels and other delicate parts, but apply a little bit more pressure for the broad surfaces.

Follow the rinse with a pre-wash.  Use soft soap, a microfiber wash mitt, and separate the soap and rinse buckets.  This is just to remove the lighter dirt, so don’t go scrubbing too hard here, and don’t dirty your mitt on the greasy areas.  Rinse off the suds immediately to prevent spots.  A power blower is preferable to rubbing it down with a cloth.

2. Clean the Tires

Spray the wheels and spokes with wheel cleaner and let it soak for 30 seconds.  Using a boar-bristle brush, scrub the rim and spokes.  Rinse it with water and dry it with a blower and towel.

3. Polish the Dashboard

Do not put any cleaners directly onto your dashboard.  Instead, squirt a dollop of polish onto a microfiber towel and work it over using a circular motion.  Continue wiping until the haze is gone, then wipe it all off with a clean towel.

4. Clean the Engine and Drivetrain

motorcycle engine                  Spray some cleaner onto the engine and drivetrain components.  Let it sit for about one minute to penetrate the outer layer of dust.  Brush the greasy areas, then rinse them off with clean water and blow it dry.  You may need to do this more than once to get it fully cleaned.  As tempting as it might be to use pressure from a hose or power washer to speed it up, this is a bad idea.  The pressure would force water into the engine, where it will rust the internal parts of your motorcycle.

5. Shine the Chrome

To clean the chrome, use a 100% cotton rag.  The rag must be smooth to avoid scratching it.  An old t-shirt or dishtowel might work, but cut off any seams first.  This will prevent scratching.

Apply polish to the cotton rag and polish the chrome until the haze almost disappears.  Use a clean rag to wipe away the rest.

6. Clean the Leather

Using a sponge, apply leather cleaner to the seat and any other leather parts.  Once done, wipe it dry and apply the condition using a different sponge.  Then wipe it all dry with a clean rag.

7. Full Rinse

Give your motorcycle one last full rinse, then blow it dry.  Starting at the top, blow the water down and to the front of the bike.  Wipe off any remaining water drops to prevent spotting.

Nice and Clean!

Washing the motorcycle isn’t very hard, but it’s an important part of keeping it in good working order.  After your bike’s been in storage all winter, you’ll definitely need to clean it before riding it again.  All that time sitting probably gathered a lot of dust.  It’s also a good idea to clean it regularly, as riding it will pick up dirt from the road and squashed insects can cause your radiator to overheat.  Regular washing will also help you discover other problems, such as fluid leaks, before they become serious.  Just be sure you don’t overdo it.  While a serious riding trip that muddies up your motorcycle should be followed by another wash as soon as possible, casual rides don’t gather enough dust to require immediate washing.  Generally, once every couple of weeks is a good guideline.

Get In Touch

While it’s easy to clean a motorcycle, there are other problems you might discover that aren’t do-it-yourself issues.  If you happen to come across a problem while cleaning, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  We’ll take care of it right away.  The sooner you get it taken care of, the easier it will be to fix and the less it will cost you.

And if you have any other motorcycle maintenance needs, we’ll be here to help.

tune-up

Time For A Tune-Up

Spring-Cleaning

Last winter was a long and wet one. Even as late as earlier this month, snow was still coming down and the amount of rain we’ve gotten this spring was pretty unusual. The rain looks like it’s going to keep coming, but the snow is finally over. Now that it’s warming up, it’s a good time to get a quick tune-up for your vehicle. Last time, I went over a few routine spring maintenance and repair tasks you should do. Today, I’ve got a few extra items you should also look over.

1. Wipers and Windshield

Windshield WipersSince the rain doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon, you’ll want to make sure you can see. Check your wipers to make sure they work. The sleet and ice of the winter sometimes causes damage to them. They’re easy to replace and they make a huge difference, so don’t forget to check on them.

 

2. Lights

headlights and taillightsEven though the days are getting longer, you still need to make sure all your car lights are good. Driving around with a burnt out headlight, or taillight is asking for trouble. You need to be able to see where you’re going at night, and people behind need to see you. Not having a headlight can also get you pulled over for a safety violation, and a ticket is an extra expense that nobody needs. Since it’s also easy to replace lights, there’s no reason to neglect this either.

3. Sensors

Cars come with a lot of equipment nowadays. There are cameras, assistors, and automations like you wouldn’t believe. They can smooth your ride, help you see where you’re going, and monitor your car’s performance. What all of these gadgets have in common, however, is sensors. All of your car’s extra features rely on special sensors to keep everything in check. If those sensors get dirty, then those features can fail. Since some of those sensors are responsible for safety features, some of them might even stop your car from running if they’re blocked. Before you get too far into the year, you should take a little time to check the sensors and make sure they’re cleaned off.

4. Clean Everything

Since you’re already cleaning, you might as well do a good job, right? Inside and outside, cleaning the grime off your car will help stave off rust and corrosion. This will help keep your car running for years to come.

Let Us Help Out

tune-upThere’s a lot to go over. While it’s easy to fix or replace some of these issues on your own, you don’t always have the time. Since there’s a host of other maintenance issues you should be looking at this spring, why not let us help you with these minor ones while you’re at it? It doesn’t take us much time to check the wipers, lights, or sensors while we’re checking your fluids, breaks, and tires. We can take care of it all at once for you. Just get in touch and let us know how we can help with your spring tune-up.

Motorcycles

5 Common Problems with Motorcycles in Cache Valley

We Love Our Motorcycles

There are a lot of advantages to owning a motorcycle.  Motorcycles are incredibly fuel-efficient and create less pollution, saving you money and keep the air healthy and breathable.  That alone is a good reason, but that’s usually not the reason people get a motorcycle. There’s no denying the sense of freedom and relaxation that comes from riding a motorcycle.

There’s also no denying that there are a number of problems that come up with motorcycles.  In Cache Valley, where cold winters leave them in storage for at least three months, these problems are more common.  Here are the 5 most common problems you can run into and what you can do about them.

 

Fuel Contamination

Fuel contamination is one of the most common problems motorcyclists in Cache Valley face.  Gasoline doesn’t have the longest of lifespans and breaks down if left stagnant. While this isn’t a problem if you’re using it regularly, the cold winter months in Cache Valley will keep you off the bike.  Sitting in your garage or shop, the fuel will go stale and clog the system.  While there’s nothing you can do about not being able to ride in the winter, you can add fuel stabilizers to the tanks to keep the gas from going bad.  And if you can, try to use up the fuel in your tank just before you put it away for the winter.  That way, when spring comes, you can fill it up with fuel that you know is good.

 

Dead Batteries

This is another problem that comes up in the winter.  The battery life of a motorcycle is relatively short compared to a car. While this is not a problem for motorcycles that see regular use, the winter break is sometimes all it takes for the battery to die.  Keep a battery charger on hand and hook it up just before you get ready to bring it out for spring.  As a backup, have a couple of spare batteries on hand with your motorcycle accessories, just in case.  That way, you can get right back on as soon as the weather warms up enough.

 

Worn Tires

Worn tires are a serious problem and could lead to a breakdown or an accident.  The rule of thumb is to replace your tires every 3 years, but remember that’s just a guideline.  Blowouts on a motorcycles are much dangerous than for cars, so don’t take any chances.  Inspect your tires regularly for damage and replace them whenever you spot any signs of problems.  The best way to prevent premature wear is to keep the pressure on your tires at the proper level.  This is another problem that can crop up over the winter, because the cold air will make the air in the tires compress.  This can cause leakage.  Check the pressure each spring before you go on your first ride to make sure the tires are okay.

 

Poor Chain Lubrication

This is potentially the worst problem you can run into and the one most likely to cause a fatal crash.  If the chain isn’t properly lubricated, it could snap or slip, causing you to skid and crash.  Improper lubrication is another problem more likely to pop up the less you use your motorcycle.  While the motorcycle is sitting, you’re not thinking about its maintenance.  This is an especial problem for the winter months in Cache Valley.  You do not want the chains going bad while you’re on the road.  Make sure that you check the lubrication regularly, and take special care to check on them before you start riding after winter.

 

Debris in the Interior

Another problem you can run into if you don’t properly maintain your motorcycle is the collection of dirt and debris in the interior.  While not as deadly as the skids and crashes caused by worn tires or broken chains, it will make your motorcycle run poorly.  And again, here in Cache Valley, the winter months make this problem come up more often.  Regular cleaning helps, but who wants to wash a motorcycle during the cold of winter?  Certainly not you, and I don’t blame you.  But while it’s sitting in your garage, it will be gathering dust.  Make sure you wash it before you take it out in the spring.  And make sure you give it regular cleanings while you ride it, as the more you ride, the more debris it collects.

 

It’s All In Your Hands

The best way to avoid these problems is just to keep up with the maintenance of your motorcycle.  That’s ultimately all up to you.  You have to be the one to remember to take care of your bike’s needs.  That doesn’t mean we can’t help you out, though. If you’ve got any trouble with your motorcycle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’ll help you make sure you keep your motorcycle running smoothly and keep it going for years to come.