March 2006

Getting Ready For A Trouble-Free Powersports Season!

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READY TO RIDE -- Tim Logsdon of RideNow suggests that this is the time to "de-winterize" powersports toys.Some simple inspections and preparations can lead to a safe and reliable riding season ahead. He offers some valuable tips re: battery maintenance, fuel and oil, and lubrication and inspection as Arizonans now get ready to rid

By Tim Logsdon

Yes. It is time to "de-winterize" your Powersports toys.

With the best of intentions, I had planned to winterize my PWC machines last fall, but I never seemed to have the time to charge batteries or add fuel stabilizer to the tank. But, I learned from the service team that some simple inspections and preparations can lead to a safe and reliable riding season.

Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA) have studies showing increasing trends in cross-ownership of RVs, pleasure boats, and Powersports products (motorcycles, watercraft, ATVs, and jet boats). Many of our readers enjoy these Powersports products, and we can all benefit from some maintenance tips to assure top performance and reliability.

There are many similarities in these machines in terms of drive train and operating systems, so for those of us who own several of them, de-winterizing and routine maintenance is similar.

For the Do-It-For-Me crowd, making a service appointment in this pre-season with your dealer will maintain factory warranties and assure that all systems are meeting the manufacturer’s specifications. Another popular alternative is to purchase maintenance agreements, such as the RideNow PCMP (Preferred Customer Maintenance Program).

These packages, for new and used equipment, include up to nine maintenance services across a three-year period as per factory owner’s manual – and offer up to a two-year extended warranty.

For the DIY enthusiasts, there are some tips to de-winterize. Basic battery and fuel maintenance, as well as lubrication and inspection, is essential for a pleasant spring maiden voyage and full-season riding pleasure.

Battery Maintenance

Adding a quick-connect battery terminal makes battery charging safe and accessible. These positive and negative connectors are included in many battery chargers, such as Battery Tender Chargers. I have a habit of leaving a trickle charger attached to my batteries between uses.

Fuel And Oil

If you did not add a fuel stabilizer product when you stored your toys last fall, you may need to drain your tank and add fresh fuel. If you fill the fuel tanks after each use, you can avoid condensation in the tank – and you are ready for your next ride!

Always check the oil-injection system reservoir on 2-stroke models and check the engine oil level on 4-stroke models at the beginning of the season and after each use.

Lubrication And Inspection

The best advice is to follow your owner’s manual. My manuals have maintenance schedules that are easy to follow because systems are covered separately such as Steering/Control Systems, Cooling System, Electrical, Propulsion, to name a few.

A good rule of thumb is to "lubricate everything that moves." This includes cables, all grease fittings for steering/controls, even seat and storage-bin latches.

‘Pre-Flight’ Inspection

All pilots conduct a thorough "walk-around" as flight preparation. A good tip is to look for anything unusual. Do you see evidence of any fluid leakage? Check fasteners for loose connections.

Do all controls work smoothly without binding? Is there any chafing on cables or tubes/hoses?

Always consult a dealer if you are in doubt about possible needed repairs or maintenance.

And, Some Final Tips —

  • Carry an extra drain plug (don’t ask me how I know!).
  • Supplement your basic tool kit that came with your product with extra spark plugs, an adjustable wrench, and tools that you may need for your trailer or other sports equipment/accessories.
  • Carry an emergency tire plug kit and inflation cartridges or pump for temporary trailer tire repairs if you do not have a spare tire.
  • Buy a first aid kit for each of your toys. Always be prepared!

As you prepare for this year’s season, you may want to visit the local RideNow dealers near you or go to :

  • Town & Country Motorsports – Chandler
  • Metro Motorsports – Glendale
  • Desert Motorsports – Scottsdale
  • YSA Motorsports – Phoenix
  • USA Motorsports – Avondale
  • Victory BMW – Chandler