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How to Start a Motorcycle That Has Been Sitting for a Month?

Has your motorcycle been sitting for a month? If you are here, it probably has. Or maybe you are contemplating the idea of leaving it sitting for a month.

The majority of people will wonder if they should be doing anything different before starting their motorcycle after it has been sitting for a while.

So how do you start a motorcycle that has been sitting for a month? A motorcycle that has been sitting for a month can usually be started and run if it has been properly stored. A month of sitting should not damage a motorcycle. However, some routine maintenance and check-ups may be needed before starting it in some cases.

In this article, I share with you more in-depth information about everything you need to know about starting a motorcycle that has been sitting for a month, the consequences of doing so, and all the things that you need to be looking for.

A motorcycle that has been left sitting for a while.

Can you just start a motorcycle that has been sitting for a month?

Leaving a motorcycle to sit for a month is nothing.

The odds of something going wrong with a motorcycle that has been left sitting for a month are extremely low.

However, if you really want to be as thorough as possible and make sure that everything is working perfectly, those are the steps that you should follow before starting a motorcycle that has been left sitting for a month.

There is nothing wrong putting in some elbow grease and taking the time needed to thoroughly clean and prepare your motorcycle for the road—it is just that none of these steps will be necessary in the majority of cases.

Leaving a motorcycle sitting for up to a month is usually considered safe and should not cause any problems starting the motorcycle.

In most cases—granted the motorcycle has been stored properly—it may be safe to start the motorcycle directly without any extra pre-startup maintenance or care, even after it has been sitting for a month. However, if you want to stay on the safe side, you should do some basic maintenance checkups before starting it.

If you are interested in learning more, you can go through my article about how long you can leave a motorcycle sitting.

How to start a motorcycle that has been sitting for a month?

Many riders will start their motorcycle and just ride it.

However, if you want to first make sure everything with your motorcycle is working okay and it is in good working condition—as you should—then you can follow these basic maintenance tips for starting a motorcycle that has been left sitting for a while.

Charge or replace the battery

If not used, motorcycle batteries can usually last between 2 to 5 months before dying. Older and more worn out batteries may die in about a month or so.

Check your battery and recharge it. If you have an older battery, make sure to check its expiration date—if it has expired, you should replace it.

If it has died, you can use a slow charger to get it going and then decide on whether or not any damage has been done and if it needs to be replaced.

In order to avoid your battery from dying, you can use a trickle charger.

Change the oil

Check the condition of the oil. If the oil is black and gritty or there is a lot of gunk build-up at the bottom of the pan, then you should change the oil.

Oil can go bad pretty fast when not used for long periods of time; however, a month of sitting should not do any damage to it.

If the oil looks fine, then make sure to check its level, and if it is below the minimum mark, fill it up.

Check the fuel

The fuel in the motorcycle’s tank can start to go bad in as little as one month if the ambient conditions have been pretty bad—especially if no fuel stabilizer has been added to it. 

Over time the fuel in your motorcycle’s tank will start to slowly degrade and lose its volatility. The problem is not only that it will be less efficient, but it can also damage parts of the engine and the fuel system.

Conversely, if the motorcycle has been stored properly, the fuel should stay good for at least three to six months. So the odds of the fuel going bad in as little as one month are extremely low.

Open up your motorcycle’s fuel tank, give it a little push, and slosh it back and forth. If it looks good, then at least top it off with some fresh fuel.

Check the carburetor

Depending on when the last time you cleaned your carburetor was, it may be worth inspecting its condition. 

A dirty carburetor is going to make starting your motorcycle a lot harder or affects its performance.

Check the condition of the carburetor and clean it if necessary. Using a carburetor rebuild kits and ultrasonic carburetor cleaner may be helpful.

Check the plugs and filters

Make sure to inspect the condition of the spark plugs and the air filter. Depending on how old they are and when the last time they were cleaned as they may need some attention. Clean them or change them if needed.

Check and change the fluids

The fluids will usually last a really long time unless the seals have been compromised or the motorcycle has been left in a very humid area. They may need to be replaced in certain cases.

Clean and lube the chain

Inspect the condition of the chain; clean it, and lube it. 

Check the tension of the chain; if necessary, you may need to tighten the axle and brake bolts.

Check the tire pressure and condition

Check the tire pressure. If the tire pressure has dropped too much, you should refill them. Typically motorcycle tire pressure is in the 28 to 40 PSI range, and motorcycle tires can lose between 1 to 3 PSI of pressure per month.

If your motorcycle has been left sitting for a month, the tire pressure loss shouldn’t be anything too drastic, but it is still worth your attention.

In addition to that, you should also check the tires’ condition and look for any flat spots. Flat spots can develop if the motorcycle has been left sitting and not moved for one month or more—especially during the winter.

Aspects that will play an important role in how fast flat spots will develop are the ambient temperatures and temperature swings, the type and condition of the tire, and the motorcycle weight.

The odds of flat spots developing on your motorcycle in one month are extremely low, but nonetheless, it is worth being informed about the risks.

Is it bad to leave a motorcycle sitting for a month?

Leaving your motorcycle to sit for a month will not be bad for it as long as some basic storage principles have been followed.

Many motorcycle riders will frequently leave their motorcycles to sit for several weeks to a few months. Especially during the winter, when motorcycles are frequently not used for several months on end.)

It is recommended to make clean your motorcycle at least a few times per month. However, if you haven’t been using it, you may not need to clean it as often. It is still recommended to inspect its condition at least a few times during the month.

The general rule of thumb is to never leave your motorcycle for more than a month without starting it and running it for at least 15 to 60 minutes if not prepared for storage. 

Just warming up your motorcycle for 15 minutes is usually not enough to evaporate any moisture that may have accumulated, and it will most likely drain your battery. (You can find more information about warming up a motorcycle in my article here.)

Is it bad to leave a motorcycle sitting for a month outside?

How the motorcycle is stored is going to have a huge impact on how likely it is for something to go bad.

Leaving your motorcycle outside can be bad for the motorcycle. (You can find more information about whether it is OK to leave a motorcycle outside in my article here.)

Your motorcycle will be at the mercy of the elements. High and low temperatures and temperature swings can be very unrelenting on your motorcycle. Rain can damage your motorcycle, too, introducing rust and wearing out some parts of the motorcycle. Even wind should not be underestimated.

As a result you may need to be more thorough about keeping it well-maintained and clean the motorcycle more often.

This is why the majority of owners will usually cover their motorcycle with a high-quality cover that will keep it protected from the sun and rain.

Choosing a good cover is mandatory because a low-quality cover can trap moisture underneath it or can be caught by the wind and turned into a sail, tipping the motorcycle.

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