Jul 5, 2022
 in 
Guides

Mechanical Checklist to Sell a Motorcycle

 By 
Ericka Ellis

If you are considering selling your motorcycle and want to get the most money for your bike, it’s important that your vehicle is prepared for this transaction. In order to maximize your offer, our industry experts detailed a mechanical checklist for you to sell your motorcycle yourself to get top dollar. 

Think Like The Buyer 

As owners of our beloved motorcycles, it’s hard to see past what we love about our bike. You are already familiar with it, you know how it rides, when it needs some TLC and so forth.  However, your potential buyer doesn't so it’s important to view your motorcycle as if you were the consumer. 

What kinds of things would you be checking for? Perhaps you would look for the more obvious things like any apparent crash damage, leaking fluids and the bike’s overall condition. But understand, most buyers are searching for the more inconspicuous details that can go unnoticed if you don’t know what to look for. 

During the process of selling your motorcycle, you have to take a more cynical approach. Look for what could be wrong with the bike and address those things first

You must always consider what a buyer is looking for. 

Have Realistic Expectations 

The first step to sell a motorcycle is to make sure you are setting realistic expectations as far as the quality of the machine. Give it a thorough inspection and do your research to make sure you are pricing it according to fair market value, not just the blue book value. ‍

A potential buyer isn’t just paying attention to the look and feel of the motorcycle. They are inspecting the motorcycle all the way down to the nitty-gritty details, the fine print, the ins and outs of the bike: also known as the mechanical integrity.

Mechanical Checklist

To help you make sure you are covering all the bases, our experts have compiled a checklist of mechanical items that most buyers use to inspect onsite. With this list, you can examine every area a buyer will likely pay attention to while ensuring everything is in tip-top shape. That way, you know you are selling an all-around great machine that is worth the price you're asking for. 

Engine

  • Oil: Is the oil relatively clean and at the correct level? Are there any leaks?
  • Starting: Does the engine start easily and run within a few minutes?
  • Idle and throttle response: Does the warm engine idle smoothly and respond to the throttle?
  • Noise: Are there any knocks, rattles, or unnecessary rumbles?
  • Transmission: Does the transmission engage smoothly?
  • Clutch: Is the clutch properly adjusted? Does it drag or slip?
  • Exhaust: Are there any rust bubbles or broken hardware at the cylinder head?

Cooling System

  • Coolant level: Is it filled to the correct level? Are there any leaks?
  • Temperature gauge: Does the indicator normally read with the engine warmed up?
  • Coolant fan: Does the fan come on when the indicator approaches the red zone?

Bodywork

  • Fuel tank: What is the general and paint condition?
  • Fenders and side covers: Are there any scratches, dents, or broken side-cover tabs?
  • Seat: Is there any missing trim or collapsed foam? Are there any tears?
  • Paint and chrome: Chrome should be shiny and free of rust, what is the condition?
  • Windshield: Are there any cracks or glazing? Is the windshield adequately mounted?
  • Saddlebags: Are there any signs of damage, tears, or abrasions?

Controls

  • Handlebars: Are the bars straight and the grips in good condition? Are the mirrors in place?
  • Levers: Are the levers properly adjusted and straight?
  • Switches: Do all the switches work as they are supposed to?
  • Cables: Do the cables operate freely without binding? Are there any tears in the rubber?

Electronics

  • Battery: Does the battery start the bike without effort?
  • Lights: Do all the lights, beams, and blinkers work correctly?
  • Horn: Does it work?
  • Charging system: Does the headlight get brighter as the rpm rises?
  • Instruments: Do they all work smoothly? Are they all legible?

Fuel Tank, Lines, and Petcock

  • Fuel tank: Is there any internal rust or signs of leaks?
  • Fuel hoses: Are they secured and in good condition?
  • Petcock: If applicable, does it move freely and are there any leaks?

Tires, Wheels, and Sprockets

  • Tires: Is there plenty of tread left and are there no signs of dry rot?
  • Wheels: Are there any dents, or any wobbles when spun?
  • Spokes: Are all the spokes tight and straight?
  • Wheel bearings: Do the wheels spin smoothly without excess play?
  • Chain: Is the chain lubricated and adjusted?
  • Rear sprocket: Are all the teeth properly formed and straight?
  • Belt: Are there any abrasions?
  • Belt pulley: Is there any excess wear or external damage?
  • Shaft drive: Are there any leaks? Does the wheel turn smoothly without weird noises?

Front Fork, Frame, and Rear Suspension

  • Steering head bearings: Are there any dents?
  • Fork tubes: Are they perfectly straight when viewed from the side?
  • Fork Seals: Are there any leaks or signs of wear?
  • Alignment: Are the fork tubes parallel when the wheel is centered? Is everything straight?
  • Clips: Are all securing clips for the speedometer or brake hose in place?
  • Frame: Are there any repainted areas, welds, or deep scratches due to problems or an accident?
  • Rear shocks: Is there any loose mounting hardware or leaks?
  • Swingarm/suspension pivots: check swingarm for play and check each pivot point

Extra Check Points

  • VIN and engine numbers: Have they been altered, or are they mismatched?
  • Service records and paperwork: Is everything complete and on hand?

We can almost guarantee that if you take into consideration the mechanical checklist our experts provided for you, your bike will be ready for sale in no time! 

Let us know your thoughts! Is there anything you would add to this list? 

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