How To Start A Motorcycle That Has Been Sitting For 2 Years

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Leaving your motorcycle alone for longer than it should be is not unusual. It is something that a lot of motorcycle owners have done and are still doing. Some people leave their motorcycles unattended for months or even years.

You might ask if you can even resurrect a motorcycle that has been in this state for a long period. Fortunately, bikes are far less complicated than automobiles.

Thus it is possible to resurrect a motorcycle that has been resting for anywhere from a few months to even more than 20 years. It might sound impossible, but it is true.

So you may wonder how to start a motorcycle that has been sitting for 2 years? To start your motorcycle, there will be certain things you need to check and replace.

  1. Make Sure To Clean Your Motorcycle Spark Plugs
  2. Checking The Tank
  3. Make Sure To Eliminate The Air Filter
  4. Check The Engine Coolant
  5. Inspecting The Tires
  6. Inspecting The Brakes
  7. Check The Wires And The Joints
  8. Chain Lubrication And Cleaning
  9. Check The Carburetor
  10. Corrosion Inspection
  11. Take A Test Ride

Remember that there is no guarantee your bike will start even after you check and replace certain things. There can also be some serious issues that will require you to spend more time and money and visits to specialists.

To find out what you must do, keep reading this article to have a detailed understanding.

How To Restart Your Motorcycle That Been Sitting For 2 Years

Learn what will happen if your bike is not used for a long time

Before you think about starting your motorcycle, there will be certain important things you will need to check as well as replace if you see the issue is too serious.

This is crucial because you want to prevent any type of risks associated with your motorcycle and be sure it is safe to start and ride.

So, if your motorcycle has been sitting for 2 years or more, it will probably mean that the battery has either expired or needs to be charged.

If it is expired, it will be best to replace it with a new one, but first, check the expiration date. If you think it is still in good shape, you can simply charge it.

Following the installation of the new battery, the next step is replacing the oil.

It is important to note that doormat oil can go harmful even when your motorcycle has just been resting for a couple of months; it ages sooner when it isn’t utilized.

If your motorbike has been sitting for a while, the oil may have become rusty and runny. You must ensure that all rust elements and moisture are removed from the engine system.

You can even experience a sense of accomplishment after removing all of the rusted oil from the motorcycle. After the oil has been changed, the next step is to thoroughly remove the gas tank and fuel pipes and replace the gas.

You must know that gas can solidify with duration, which is most likely to happen to your motorcycle sitting for 2 years.

Because this will block many components on the bike, you will most likely want to repair the fuel lines and install a fuel filter inside the fuel line.

Besides that, you must know that a blocked carburetor is one of the most serious side effects of using outdated gas in a motorcycle. Because the jets in a carburetor are so insignificant, they can easily become blocked.

It will be best to clean the carburetor because it is one of the most common reasons motorcycles that have been sitting for too long do not restart.

Step By Step Guide To Start the Motorcycle

Here I will list down some additional factors you need to consider and fix so your motorcycle can stay again.

Above I only mentioned the main reasons that can prevent it from starting, but here are some more components that can malfunction after sitting for too long, so let’s take a look.

1. Make Sure To Clean Your Motorcycle Spark Plugs

If the electrodes lose their power while hibernating, which is very common, this activity enables them to create an extra-strong spark.

The best option is to clean the spark plug using nice-grained sandpaper and a wire brush immediately after taking off the motorcycle cover.

It is also good to check the spark plugs to see if they are worsened, and if they are, it’s best to replace them.

Indeed, if the motorcycle is left outdoors or in a temperature-changing climate, the spark plugs can become moist or damp and no longer provide a strong enough spark to ignite the combustion chamber.

You may also be interested in my article: When Should You Change Motorcycle Spark Plugs?

2. Checking The Tank

You must know that condensation and oxidation is one of the most common things that occur in the storage room, mainly because of the temperature change.

Keep in mind that if the motorcycle has been sitting outdoors for too long or in an iron container, it can be even more dangerous.

Make sure to examine inside the fuel tank using a flashlight before turning the fuel tap on. It is common for the particles to block the vents of the carburetor, especially if there are any indications of corrosion.

You should clean the fuel tank and repaint it so you can thoroughly remove all the corrosion from the inside.

3. Make Sure To Eliminate The Air Filter

You will need to replace the air filter after replacing the old battery with a new one. You will have to replace the air filters because your bike has been sitting for 2 years.

It would not be a problem if it was less than a year. Air filters are formed of pleated paper, and their effectiveness degrades with duration. It’s best not to spend extra time cleaning them because replacing them is a better option.

But do keep in mind that if your filter has been stocked for less than a year, you can easily clean it with packed air and reuse it. However, they must be inspected regularly to ensure they are still effective.

4. Check The Engine Coolant

Engine coolant is also another liquid that should not be overlooked. You must know that chemical energy is transferred to kinetic energy when the fuel is burned inside the combustion chamber, which results in a lot of tension.

Keep in mind that this friction generates a lot of warmth, which the coolant dissipates. Coolant, like engine oils, degrades with time.

Its cooling capabilities also deteriorate over time, and it must be changed entirely to prevent the engine system from heating too much. It is also worth mentioning that this change is suggested to be done every two years.

5. Inspecting The Tires

Before going behind the wheels after two years, you must check if the tires are properly inflated. If the motorcycle has been parked for a long time, it is typical for the tire pressure to drop. (Check for Harley-Davidson riders).

Motorcycle tires typically have an ideal pressure range of 28 PSI up to 40 PSI. However, relying on the manufacturer, it’s recommended to evaluate the appropriate tire pressure by examining the inscription printed on the tires.

6. Inspecting The Brakes

Place your motorcycle in its center form, and then twist each tire with your hands to inspect the brake system.

Make sure to spin the front wheel and apply the front brakes; similarly, when rotating the rear wheel, apply the rear brakes.

If the brakes screech when pressed against the disc pad, it will be best for you to search for wear and tear on the disc pad and the disc shoe.

Also, examine the brake fluid status while you’re at it. Remember that brake fluid should be updated every 2 years to 3 years in most cases; however, if the motorcycle has been sitting for a long period, it is advisable to restore the whole fluid with new.

7. Check The Wires And The Joints

When checking the motorcycle’s wires and joints, you must know that anti-corrosion sprays should be used on all of the electrical joints.

Clean the coil as well as the spark plugs cable completely. Other than that, various other joints, such as saddle hooks, footrests, and kick-starters, can be treated with the same spray.

8. Chain Lubrication And Cleaning

The chain is said to be one of the most crucial parts of a motorbike, yet it is also one of the most neglected ones.

The chore of lubrication and cleaning the motorbike chain is known to be one of the easiest and most important tasks to do. It is highly recommended that you finish this exercise before taking your motorcycle for a test drive.

9. Check The Carburetor

An expensive and quality combination of air and fuel is required for the motorbike engine system to function responsibly and create optimal strength.

The carburetor keeps the air and fuel ratio constant. On the other hand, the carburetor is likely to be blocked with fuel debris and carbon due to lengthy non-activity. (Learn more about fuel injector and carburetor).

These contaminants might lower carburetor efficiency, resulting in poor engine performance. It’s critical to flush the carburetor with SeaFoam before you start riding again on the road.

10. Corrosion Inspection

The execution and formation of motorcycle parts are affected by condensation, weather changes, and especially sun rays. You must know that these factors can make the rubber parts fragile, while metal components may rust.

Necessary actions are required because if you do not do anything, the motorcycle parts can corrode easily and rust and will be hard to deal with.

Corrosion normally starts close to the exhaust system and spreads to other metal components over time. Corrosion can eat away metals from the inside, leaving them sunken and fragile.

Examine the muffler and exhaust system for signs of rust. If you detect some remnants, you must take the proper precautions to keep your exhaust from rusting.

11. Take A Test Ride

Once all the parts are in working order, it’s time to fire up the engine and go for a spin. Take it slowly, and remember that most of the engine’s lubricated mechanical components may have dried up.

It is best to allow your motorcycle to wait for a few minutes to ensure that everything is properly greased and warmed up.

Examine all of the lights and indicators for proper operation while the bike is idling. When you notice everything is working smoothly, then it is safe for you to go for a ride.

How Long Can A Motorcycle Be Left Unattended?

You must know that your motorbike should never be left alone for more than a month or so without being started or appropriately prepared.

If a motorcycle has not been adequately prepared for a storehouse, it will be best for you to take your motorcycle out for a ride at least once a month.

You probably even wonder if the motorcycle can be repaired again if it has been sitting for way too long.

There isn’t a definitive explanation because it all relies on where exactly the motorcycle was parked and what kind of weather it was in. It also relies on how much time as well as the money you’re ready to put into repairing it.

What To Do If Your Motorcycle Fails To Start

If you’ve attempted everything that I have mentioned above, including a careful cleaning of the carburetor, and your motorcycle still won’t turn on, you can attempt the push start approach.

To do so, first, locate a slope in your immediate surroundings; once there, shift into second gear and totally release the clutch. (Learn how to shift gears on a motorcycle).

Now you must sit on your motorcycle and make sure to gently push it up the incline. After you have done that, be sure to release the clutch once you’ve reached a comfortable speed.

With the help of this procedure, you will be able to manually rotate the piston, which will then eventually start the engine system.

If the motorcycle still doesn’t respond in any way or start again, you’ll need to figure out what’s going on.

You must also know that it is not always the engine that’s to blame; a broken spark plug, as well as an ignition coil, can also be to blame.

If you also do not know how to fix these issues on your own, then it will be best to visit an expert and get it done for you.


The bottom line on how to start a motorcycle that has been sitting for 2 years is that you will need to replace a lot of components of your motorcycle so it can start again because it has been sitting for too long.

However, it will depend on the weather conditions as well as where the bike was stored. Two years is a long time which can affect a lot of its components and might also fail to start.

It will also cost you extra time and money, but in most cases, the motorcycle tends to work efficiently again, so it will be worth an experience for you.

But according to many experts, you should take your motorcycle for a ride at least once a month, so its components don’t get damaged.

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