We all know a pre-ride motorcycle inspection is important. But it’s not just something to do in the morning—you should do it every time you start a ride. To make sure you don’t miss anything, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation created a checklist called T-CLOCS. The L is for lights. Here’s what you should look for:
Be sure to check out the whole T-CLOCS list for other safety check recommendations.
Every motorcycle has at least two types of bulbs—headlight and turn signal/brake lights. It’s safe to say most riders will know their motorcycle’s horsepower and torque specs before knowing their headlight part number. You’ll be able to find the common bulb numbers, sometimes called the trade number, of all of your motorcycle bulbs in your owner’s manual. Write them on a card and keep it with your registration. That way it’s handy if you need to buy a bulb while traveling.
Bulbs will burn out—most likely while you’re out for a ride. It’s not a problem if there’s a motorcycle shop or auto parts store nearby. But what if your headlight fails after dark on a remote country road and shopping for a bulb isn’t an option? That’s why it’s best to be prepared and carry spare bulbs for the headlight and turn signal. Most headlight and signal bulbs are small and can be easily stored on most motorcycles.
Lights sometimes stop working not because the filament burns out, but because of corrosion on the light socket. You can greatly reduce this problem by using dielectric grease when you install new bulbs. It’s available at auto parts stores in a tube size for your garage and in small packets perfect for carrying with your spare bulbs.
The good news is, modern motorcycle lights and electrical systems are so much better than years ago. New LED lighting options offer long life, bright light, and low power usage. But whatever lighting system your motorcycle uses, remember that even though lights are low maintenance, they do require some attention to keep you safe on the road.
Till next time, ride safe!
Winter riding isn’t just about bike maintenance. You also need to look out for road surface hazards. Here are more articles on how to deal with winter riding challenges: