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What to do if your motorcycle stalls on the highway

Here’s a quick advice piece on what you should do if you’re bike stalls on the highway.

What to do if your motorcycle stalls on the highway

Motorcycles are all fun and games until your bike decides that the ride is over. Mechanical problems strike even the best and most meticulous of owners, and it could happen to you so it pays to be prepared no matter what. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’ve been on top of your motorcycle’s maintenance, it may happen to you. 

It feels great to ride on the highway, but should your bike’s engine stall on you, here are a few things that you need to take note of if and when it does happen. 

Don’t panic

Calm rider

The last thing you need is to panic on your motorcycle while going at speed. Keep calm and make sure to stay on the bike. If you’re going at a decent-enough speed, try and steer it to the side of the road. If there’s a lay-by, then try to aim for it. By steer, we mean do not lean it over. Simply point the front and guide it in while remaining upright. Once you’re nearing to a stop, gently apply the brakes as needed. 

Expect deceleration

Motorcycle Deceleration

If your bike happens to stall while you’re at speed, expect deceleration due to the rear wheel and engine braking forces acting on your rear wheel. Even without your engine running, you can still control your speed via the clutch. Be sure to pull it in and release it slowly. Pull it in all the way if you want to coast, and release it if you want to slow down your motorcycle and engage the engine brake. Meanwhile, scooters don’t come with clutches, so you’re going to need to be on the brakes. 

If your engine stalls, pull in the clutch slowly, and then aim for the next lay-by or the side of the road. You can slow down by releasing the clutch with a stalled engine or use your brakes. Just make sure to release or pull the lever progressively. 

Get to safety

Pulling over Motorcycle

Aim for a lay-by or the side of a road. Make sure that it is away from the flow of traffic, and make sure that you won’t get in the way of other drivers or riders. Remember, don’t lean your motorcycle to get to the side of the road. Check your mirrors, do a head check and make sure that nobody is behind you while pulling off to the side of the road. 

Check the bike

Checking motorcycle

When you’ve come to a complete stop, engage the side-stand, and inspect your motorcycle. 

Check the dashboard for any warning lights and indicators. If your motorcycle’s engine control unit (ECU). Be wary if you see something like a low-oil light, overheat, or low-battery indicator. Check your gauge cluster for any warning lights and then act from there. Try and restart your motorcycle’s engine. It could be that something threw off a sensor, making the bike freak out and stall, but do not ride it immediately after your motor comes back to life. Leave it running for a while and check if there are any errors displayed on the ECU. Rev up your motorcycle gently and check if there is any hessitation from the engine. If you do spot an error like a check engine light, but the bike is still running, there’s a big chance that your motor is in limp mode and won’t go past a certain engine speed. This mode forces you to take it easy as you bring your bike to the service center or back to your home. 

For carbureted bikes, you don’t usually get the luxury of a check engine light if something happens to go wrong with your fueling or your motorcycle. If your bike starts but refuses to hold its engine idle speed, adjust the idle air control valve. If your bike still refuses to start up, it could be a problem with your spark plug or your fueling is not properly tuned. 

Call for help

Calling for help motorcycle

There is only so much that you can do on the side of the road, and you don’t want to stay for long periods of time, so the best course of action is to call a towing service to bring your bike to the nearest service center where trained mechanics can have a look at it. 

Either that or call a friend with a pickup truck and a set of rails and tie-downs to make sure your motorcycle is secure. 

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