Breakdowns – they’re never a good thing; more so when you’re in the middle of a road trip that you were looking forward to. In case you’ve referred to our earlier pre-ride checklist that guides you on how to prepare for a road trip on a two-wheeler, you will be able to avert such a situation. However, as they say, one never knows when the devil makes his move. So here, in the third chapter of Get on the Road with Motoroids series, supported by TVS Scooty Zest 110, we put together a basic checklist of things to do in case you are encountered with this unfortunate situation.
Check out some more articles from the series:
- Riding Off the Road : Some Simple Techniques and Tips to Follow
- Is Age A Bar For Riding? Three Women Riders Share Their Perspectives
- Get on the Road : Riding in the Hills – Techniques and Tips
- Riding Solo in India : A Woman Rider’s Perspective
- Women Riding Groups in India : Triumphs and Tribulations of Our Girls on Two-wheels
- How to buy budget riding gear : A complete guide
- Video : How a Chennai Girl Realized Her Dream of Conquering the Mighty Himalayas
- Himalayan Highs Season 2 : Women of courage who conquered the mountains on their Scooty Zest
- Get on the Road with Motoroids Chapter 4 : Five Weekend Getaways on a Scooter from Five metro cities of India
- Get on the Road with Motoroids Chapter 2 : Ride preparations and basic checklist
- Adventure: A young lass on the TVS Scooty Zest 110 VS the mighty Himalayas
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- Keep calm – The most important thing is to not lose your head once your two-wheeler splutters to a stop in the middle of nowhere. Do not give in to fits of rage which might actually worsen the situation. By staying calm, you conserve energy, and think clearly – which is important for what follows next.
- Make way – Whatever the cause of the breakdown, push your vehicle to the side of the road (off the road, if possible) to ensure traffic can make its way around you. If it’s a foggy/rainy situation, switch an indicator on as a hazard warning, provided your battery and electricals are alive.
- Assess the damage – To do this, you need to have a basic understanding about how your two-wheeler works. Of course, you do not need to be a certified mechanic to do so, but a little hands-on knowledge about how your two-wheeler functions helps. Now damages can range from an engine failure to a puncture, so identifying what is the cause is the key. Before TVS Scooty Zest 110 scaled Khardung La last year, Anam Hashim ensured she spent enough time with the vehicle and understood it.
- Engine found guilty – In case of an engine failure, which can include calamities like a seizure, cracked pistons, and broken piston rings amongst others, you cannot do much. All you can do is call for help. For this, a subscription to a reliable road side assistance service is absolutely necessary. If not, storing towing service contacts in your phone also helps.
- Overheated heart – Engine overheating is mostly caused by oil leaks. Without engine oil to lubricate the motor’s internals, the components heat up, ultimately leading to a breakdown. In case of an oil leak, identify the hole in the sump, and as a temporary limp-home fix, shut it up with some MSeal, some of which you should be carrying as an emergency aid. Add some engine oil in case you’re carrying some and gingerly ride to the nearest service center or mechanic. Another cause of overheating could be engine abuse. If such is the case, keep the revs down or shut the engine altogether, and wait for some time to let the internals cool down.
- Petrol leaks – In most cases, petrol leaks are caused by rusted fuel tanks, so again, if your tank leaks fuel, MSeal can come to the rescue again, provided you identify the leak, or leaks.
- Spluttering – If your engine splutters, that means it isn’t breathing properly, or the carburetor is acting amiss. Check the air filter, to ascertain if anything is getting in its way. Clear the air-filter if need be, and for added measure, remove and clean the spark plug’s head as well. It’s also advisable to carry an extra plug. If it is a fuel-injected engine, there’s not much you can do apart from calling for help.
- Brakes & Clutch – In case any of your brakes fail, it could be because of a snapped wire. Stop the two-wheeler using the working brake and change the wire – you should always be carrying an extra set. Same goes for a clutch failure as well. In case the brake failure is a disc or a drum issue, you have to call for help.
- Chain off – Just like a bicycle’s chain, a motorcycle’s chain can slide off as well. If it does, it can be fixed by putting the motorcycle/scooter on the main stand, and putting in on just like on a bicycle. If it is a closed chain cover, then all you have to do is unbolt it, and get to work on the chain.
- Puncture – This is the most common form of breakdown, and can happen anywhere, anytime. Therefore carrying a puncture kit is absolutely necessary. Fixing it is a bit of a workout, but the fix is more or less permanent. In case of a tube, be prepared to push the vehicle to the nearest shop if it is within range, or else call for roadside assistance.
- Stay hydrated – It’s important to keep your own fluids topped off, because fixing or pushing the vehicle in the open is a strenuous affair, especially after a long ride. So it calls for a stock of energy drinks, energy bars and lots of water in your saddlebags. Also, carrying additional bulbs, and a change of dry clothes is advisable. When Anam Hashim rode to Khardung La on the TVS Scooty Zest 110, the biggest challenge was altitude sickness but staying hydrated allowed her to ride without much hassle.
Follow the suggestions above, and you will be able to avert most of the breakdown related catastrophes. Share the list with friends and family so that everyone benefits from it. We’d also love to know your thoughts and ideas on the topic via comments and through social networks.