Scooter Tips & Tricks
Unfortunately it's time for...
Winterizing is one of the most important services that should be done to your scooter every year. Here in the Upper Midwest we usually have long cold off seasons so your scooter needs to be put away correctly to avoid any hassles come next Spring. ie: dead battery, carburetor is dirty, etc... Scooters just don’t like to sit by their lonesome for an extended period of time. This is especially true considering the current gas formulation’s ethanol content. Ethanol wreaks havoc on carbureted vehicles. The smaller the carb and engine, the greater the havoc.
Here are some tips to help your scoot require as little professional help as possible once the sun comes back out.
CHARGING SYSTEM - The small battery in your scooter is acutely sensitive to cold weather and lack of use. Once a battery has deeply discharged, the battery becomes a lost cause. Batteries aren’t cheap, making it both smart and easy to maintain your current battery. To do this, you will need a Battery Tender Jr. The Battery Tender is a trickle charger which should be attached to your battery consistently when the scooter is not in use. This product monitors your battery and keeps it at its optimum charge level all the time, ensuring that your scoot is ready to roll and that your battery does not get destroyed by way of a deep discharge. You can use the Battery Tender Jr with the battery still in your scooter by way of the detachable pigtails. That’s the best plan of attack if you hope to ride your scoot on the occasional nice day and your scoot is parked inside of a garage or shed with electricity. If your scooter lives outside without an electrical outlet located nearby, then you can easily remove the battery from your scoot. Bring the battery inside your house, find an out of the way spot for the charger and the battery, plug it in and forget about it. The important note here is that batteries do not like sitting directly on a concrete floor. Make sure you get that battery off of your floor!
The Battery Tender Jr is available at Scoot Jockeys of MAC for $39.00.
STABILIZE YOUR FUEL - Grab your handy dandy bottle of Startron , available at Scoot Jockeys. That small bottle is good for a whole lot of fuel. Use as per the instructions and add a measured amount of Startron to your gas tank. What’s the deal with Startron, and why is it abso-freaking-lutely necessary? One bottle will last you for 48 gallons, and it will save you 20-fold in terms of services and frustration. Startron does FAR more than most fuel stabilizers, which is why it is the only fuel stabilizer we use. Most fuel stabilizing additives do just one thing, and that is keep gas from going bad over time. Startron does that quite well. It is also a fuel system cleanser (similar to Seafoam), which helps keep your carb from getting crazy gummed up. Last but not least, Startron has stuff in it that helps your scooter (or motorcycle or boat or lawnmower or…) deal with the ethanol in today’s fuel. Plastic and rubber pieces in fuel systems tend to swell and degrade over time when driven with E10 exclusively, and Startron helps to slow that process. By filling the tank, you’ve removed most of the empty space in the gas tank. Empty space means that there are surfaces for condensation to gather. That condensation leads to water in your fuel system (bad) and rust in your gas tank (worse).Using Startron in the gas and then running the scooter for a bit before tucking it away for the winter will help the current tank of gas stay good and combustible for much longer than it would without the stabilizer. The cleaning element of Startron will help keep fuel in your carb from evaporating, leaving behind a horrible nasty sticky stuff that clogs the tiny passages in the carburetor. In the event that the scoot sits for long enough for the gas in the carb to evaporate anyways, the addition of Startron keeps that sticky residue from really sticking.
DRAIN YOUR FUEL FROM CARBURETOR - Scooters often have exceedingly small carburetors. These small carbs have even smaller passages through which the fuel travels. The smaller the passage, the faster the fuel evaporates, making it more likely that you will have crap stuck in the carb, even not long after parking it. So what you want to do is locate the carburetor on your vehicle (All are slightly different) and find the flat screw facing towards you on the bottom of the carburetor. Usually these are located above the lower left side belt cover. Peek in there with a flashlight and locate that flat screw. Stick a screw driver into it and crack it open by turning to the left. A little gas will start to trickle out so have a rag ready. Once it stops dripping out, tighten the screw back up and don't start it again until Spring. This will help the carburetor not get varnished up during the off season. For folks with fuel injected scooters such as the Vespa GTS or the Genuine Blur, you don’t have quite as much to worry about as the carbureted scooters. The fuel injection is a computer driven process, and fuel isn’t sitting there in a mechanical carb going bad. Make sure you use the Startron as instructed above and you will almost certainly be good to go, fuel-wise.
Sometimes we see folks that do everything right and STILL have a running problem in the spring. Does that mean that your scooter is a lost cause? Nope! In that case, it is even MORE important to take care of the winterization process as noted. Using Startron means that if your carb does still need to be cleaned in the spring, it is a quick and easy process. No need to soak the carb for centuries, no need to struggle and/or make up 4 letter words. A simple cleaning with compressed air will usually take care of business, a procedure that takes less time than a soak and clean, and accordingly costs less than a soak and clean.
TIRES - Make sure that your tires are at the optimum air pressure as suggested by the scooter manufacturer. Flat tires will only become more flat over time, and eventually your tires can become misshapen from all the weight sitting on the same spot on the tires. If your scooter lives inside over the winter and you know that you definitely won’t be riding it before spring, you may want to prop the center of the scooter up and keep the tires off of the ground completely. That will definitely prolong tire life after a long hard winter, but obviously isn’t useful for folks that keep their scooter outside.
CLEAN AND COVER - the heck out of your scoot before you park it for the winter. Dirt becomes more difficult to remove without damaging the paint of your bike over time. Use a scooter cover to keep your bike away from weather as well as prying eyes/hands. Scoot Jockeys carries a number of different covers for different uses.
Are these instructions too much for your brain to manage? It’s ok! Scoot Jockeys of Midwest Action Cycle offers winterization services as well as monthly winter storage. Monthly winter storage is only $25 per month and winterization costs depend on the vehicle. Call us for more details!