Spring servicing: Get ready for your first customers

Publish Date: 
Jan 17, 2014
By Tracy Martin

Use this opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to unload a bike from a pickup or trailer using a set of ramps that are available for sale. Check out Ramp Master for aluminum ramps that fold and will fit into a pickup bed. While you’re showing them the benefits of using real motorcycle ramps, talk about tie downs and wheel chocks. My favorite is the Pit-Stop/Trailer-Stop Wheel Chock by Condor.

Because you will be replacing lots of dead batteries, it’s a perfect time to sell customers a smart battery charger. Yuasa has a new 1 amp Automatic Battery Charger & Maintainer that is an excellent choice for powersports home charging. In addition, you can upsell the battery charger with an easy way to connect it to the vehicle’s battery. Powerlet Products makes all types of electrical connectors and adaptors for just about anything that can be connected to a motorcycle or ATV.

TIRES AND BATTERIES

As mentioned before, tires and batteries are probably the two most replaced spring items. For any motorcycle that comes into your shop inspect the tires for tread depth (3mm or less and it should be replaced) and for sidewall cracking or hardness and overall condition of the rubber.

Use the date code on the tire’s sidewall (located next to the letters DOT) to determine its age. The first two numbers represent the week of manufacture and the last two are for the year. A date code of 0611 shows that the tire was made in February, sixth week of the year, in 2011. Tires that are three to four years old or older will have relatively hard rubber and should be replaced.


Bob’s BMW in Jessup, Md., came up with a clever marketing idea for selling tires — the Tower of Shame. The tower (see image, right) is easy to create. Just stack tires that should have been replaced long before they actually were (tires with the cord showing, bubbles, blowouts, etc.) and place it where customers can see what rubber other riders trust their lives to. It's a great way to start a conversation about tire replacement.


Just like tires, batteries should always be tested even if the vehicle is in for other service. It’s a familiar story: if a motorcycle, ATV or watercraft leaves your shop and soon after the battery goes dead, it’s going to be the dealer’s fault, so be proactive when it comes to batteries.

Battery testing used to be somewhat time-consuming, because the battery would have to be charged and then load tested. This is not true anymore, and there is battery test equipment that measures a battery’s internal resistance. Yuasa’s Digital Powersports Battery Tester (part number YUAOOBTY01) checks a battery’s health, state of charge and if it’s good, bad or weak in about 30 seconds — and the battery does not even have to be charged or removed from the vehicle for testing.

A final tip: if a customer brings in a vehicle that’s been stored over the winter and the engine is running rough, or it’s hard to start — put some fresh gas in the tank. It’s amazing how many problems rotten gasoline causes, and this simple fix provides an instant tune-up.

Author’s note: Many thanks to Chris Buell, Service Manager at Bob’s BMW, for his assistance with this article.