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scooter maintenance: tips to protect your ride

When you hop onto your scooter and turn the ignition on, the last thing you want to hear is a series of shudders, sputters, and squeaks. Following these scooter maintenance tips can help you protect your ride and your wallet by preventing major issues and costly repairs down the road.

Have a game plan: read the owner's manual

Let's be honest — most of us don't curl up around the fire with a mug of hot cocoa and our scooter owner's manual. It's certainly not an enthralling read, but it is a necessary one. Not only will it help you learn the parts and controls of your scooter, it will provide you with a schedule for routine scooter maintenance.

It's wise to carry your owner's manual and a tool kit with you when you ride, too. In the event of a flat tire or a fuse failure, these materials can help you troubleshoot the problem and possibly make a quick fix before you can get it checked out by a pro.

Essential items for your kit

A good scooter emergency maintenance kit should include at least the following:

  • Rolls of electrical tape and duct tape
  • Phillips-head and flat-head screwdrivers
  • Nylon cable ties
  • 3/8" drive metric socket set
  • Short length of vacuum/fuel hose
  • Pliers and wire cutters
  • LED flashlight
  • Set of metric wrenches
  • Spark plug wrench and spare spark plug
  • Short length of wire

Unless you're a scooter maintenance guru, it's generally best to leave most major repairs and checkups to an authorized dealer.

Different years, makes, and models of scooters will require different maintenance regimens. And timely repairs are key to keeping your ride smooth and your safety intact. We suggest marking your planner or setting a phone reminder with your scooter's maintenance schedule so you never miss a beat.

Inspect your ride: the basics

A scooter doesn't require much (if any) daily maintenance. But it is a good idea to inspect your ride before you hit the open road. Here are a few things to keep in mind, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:

  • Keep your scooter or moped (nearly) as clean as the day you bought it. Dirt and grime don't just cramp your style. They can hide potential problems, too. (Plus, wiping down chrome parts on your scooter can prevent them from rusting.)
  • As far as your safety and smooth riding go, your scooter's tires take precedence. Check for cuts in the rubber and foreign objects like nails, and frequently check each tire's pressure with a good gauge. If a tire consistently shows low pressure every time you check it, it might be time for a patch or replacement.
  • Check your lights to make sure they're functioning properly. That includes headlights, brake lights, and turning signals.
  • Make sure your horn works and your mirrors are positioned correctly. Take a peek at the center stand to make sure there isn't a broken or missing retraction spring.
  • Double-check the controls. They rarely break, but it's important to look for stiffness, kinking, or anything unusual that could cause bigger issues.
  • Check oil, fuel, and if necessary, coolant levels.
  • Look for damage or cracks in your scooter's floorboards. Check its frame and suspension to make sure it will freely move up and down if you apply pressure to the seat or handlebars.
  • Make sure your brakes are working properly as you pull out of the driveway.

Also, check your battery about once a month to make sure it has a strong charge. If the fluid level is low, top it off with distilled water. Check your engine oil level, as well. It's best to identify and figure out a fix for problems before you leave the driveway. Being observant keeps you safe and keeps a molehill of a problem from becoming a mountain.

Keep on scooting: in it for the long haul

As you become a more experienced scooterist, you'll get to know your ride increasingly well. Take note of strange smells, noises, or leakages while you're out on the road. These could be signs of a bigger issue and should be given swift attention.

Here are some expert recommended best practices, via Scooter Focus, to help make certain your scooter keeps, well, scooting.

Every 6 months

  • Change engine oil
  • Check valve stems for cracks
  • Double-check tires, brakes, throttle operation, and lubricate cables if necessary.
  • Check all screws, bolts, and nuts on your scooter and tighten as necessary. Pay special attention to the exhaust and muffler fasteners, and front and rear axles.

Every year

  • Clean or change air cleaner
  • Check brake linings
  • Change transmission oil
  • Clean or replace spark plug
  • Check and adjust valve clearance
  • Check steering and wheel bearings
  • Inspect CVT drive belt for wear and tear
  • Clean and lubricate throttle and brake cables

And of course, the best way to begin protecting your ride is by starting a free online scooter insurance quote through Esurance. Being able to customize your policy is just as important to us as your ability to customize your ride is to you.

That's why you can tailor policy coverages to your needs, all while gaining financial protection and peace of mind at a price that won't give your wallet road rash. Yep, it's all smooth sailing from here.

Related links

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