motor bike

Bike Not Starting? The First 5 Things You Should Check

Few things are more of a buzz-kill than gearing up for a nice motorcycle ride and finding your bike not starting.

With a myriad of things that could be wrong, how do you figure out what the cause is and quickly get things rolling again?

Here are 5 simple things you should check first that are likely to be the cause.

1. Blocked Intake or Exhaust

If something has become lodged in your intake or exhaust valve, it can prevent your bike from starting. Check your bike’s repair manual, and learn how to check the intake/exhaust system. 

If you discover something lodged and can easily remove it yourself, this should be an easy resolution to your bike’s problem.

2. Dead Battery

One major clue that your bike not starting is because of a dead battery, is if your lights and horn are also not turning on at all.

If you drive a two-wheeled motorcycle that relies on an electric start only, you will need a high voltage to start. Even having a weakened battery could prevent your bike from starting. 

3. Engine Cut Off

Many bikers do this more often than not–they turn off their engine with just the ignition instead of hitting the cut off or engine kill switch.

So, if you have used the engine kill switch but forgotten that you actually did, you may want to check that it’s off before continuing to try the engine. 

4. Little or No Fuel

Not sure if you’re out of fuel or not? Sometimes when a motorcycle’s fuel gets low, it can be hard to tell the level with the gauge.

Related Reading:  Check engine light is on

It may seem rather simple, but one of the best ways to check your fuel level is to take a small flashlight, or even your smartphone, and shine it in the fuel tank to see.

You can also check with the classic method of gently shaking your bike while it’s on the main stand. Do you hear sloshing? The sound can help you figure out if there’s fuel or how low it might be.

5. The Spark Plug Wire

Fortunately, this problem is a simple fix that generally does not require a professional mechanic. The easiest way to check if the spark plug wire is at the root of your bike not starting issue is to unplug it and replug it in.

Spark plug wires may be jostled loose during a hard jolt or sharp turns. They are also often the target of bike pranksters

Bike Still Not Starting?

If you’ve checked these 5 things and still can’t figure out why your bike isn’t starting, it may be time to consult a professional.

For help getting a motorcycle towed or repaired, read more about quality motorcycle professionals near you.

Model-Specific Help

Issues with your bike not starting can also vary depending on the make and model you own. 

View our complete list of motorcycle repair service manuals, everything from Harley-Davidson, Cagiva, to Benelli.

We’ve got you covered so you can get your motorcycle fixed and hit the road, stat.