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If your motorcycle won’t start and you’ve already checked the battery, it’s time to look for other causes. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why a motorcycle might not be turning over and provide tips on how to diagnose and fix them.
We’ll cover possible issues with the spark plugs, fuel system, ignition coils, air filter, starter solenoid or relay switch, engine oil level or quality, electrical connections, or wiring harnesses.
By ruling out each problem area one by one using our step-by-step guide below you can determine what is causing your motorcycle to fail to start up.
Motorcycle Has Power but Won’t Start
If your motorcycle won’t start, and you’ve already checked the battery, it’s time to look for other causes.
There are a few common reasons why a motorcycle might not be turning over, so let’s explore some of them in this article and provide tips on how to diagnose and fix them.
Easy Solutions First
Sometimes, you bike won’t start for the simplest reasons.
Most riders have been there, and it usually boils down to spacing on the proper start up sequence.
Yes, it sounds obvious, but it’s always best to rule out the simple and easy problems first.
If your motorcycle isn’t starting, make sure that:
- The ignition is in the on position.
- The kill switch is in the running position.
- The fuel petcock is open and there is enough gas in the tank.
- The bike is in neutral.
- The kick stand is down, if you bike has a kick stand sensor.
With the simple, stupid issues ruled out, you can then move on to next steps.
1. Spark Plugs
The first place to check is the spark plugs.
Faulty spark plugs can cause your bike to not turn over because they are responsible for creating the sparks needed for combustion inside the cylinders of your engine.
If the sparks aren’t in operating condition then fuel will not ignite correctly or at all.
If you find that any of your spark plugs are worn out or corroded then replace them with new ones according to instructions from your owners manual.
Be sure that each cylinder has its own dedicated plug as well – having one single plug connected across multiple cylinders will decrease efficiency significantly.
Also, be sure that the spark plug wires and caps are in good condition and properly connected to each plug.
2. Fuel System
Another reason why a motorcycle may not turn over could be related to its fuel system.
If there is an obstruction in the line between where gasoline is stored (the tank) and where it needs to go (the carburetor), then no matter how much gas there actually is in the tank it won’t make it into combustion chambers due to blockage preventing flow.
In this case, you may need to check the fuel filter and/or clean or replace it if necessary.
Other fuel system issues can include clogged carbs or improperly synchronized carburetors. Learn more about those topics here:
3. Ignition Coils
The ignition coils are also another possible source of trouble; these critical components can fail over time due to wear and tear from exposure to heat, cold, moisture and vibration.
If the coils are weak or have been damaged then they won’t be able to produce enough spark for combustion either – so inspect them closely for any signs of deterioration.
4. Air Filters
You should also take a look at your air filter. Clogged filters will reduce airflow into the engine causing it to starve for air which in turn negatively impacts its ability to produce power during start-up.
Regularly cleaning or replacing your bike’s air filter is an important part of routine maintenance that should not be overlooked.
Finally, consider the starter solenoid or relay switch – these components are responsible for sending an electric current to the starter motor when you press down on the ignition switch.
If they have become damaged or corroded over time then they won’t be able to do their job properly and therefore your bike won’t start.
If all else fails, check the engine oil level and quality as low oil or dirty oil can inhibit startup too. Additionally, inspect any electrical connections and wiring harnesses for signs of wear, tear or damage as well.
By ruling out each problem area one by one using our step-by-step guide above, you’ll be able to figure out what is causing your motorcycle to fail to start up and take the appropriate corrective measures. If you’re still having trouble figuring out what’s wrong, don’t hesitate to contact a professional mechanic for assistance.
Find everything you need to know about fixing and maintaining your motorcycle in our motorcycle maintenance section.