If you're in the market for a motorcycle, you may not have the budget or desire to drop tens of thousands of dollars on a brand-new vehicle. There are plenty of reliable used motorcycles for sale at affordable prices. However, there are always some vehicles to be wary of, as a seller might be trying to get rid of a sub-par vehicle for more than it's worth. Below, you can learn about what to look for when buying a used motorcycle so you can get the best value possible.

A Smooth-Sounding Engine

Give the motorcycle a test drive. Listen to the engine while it runs. An engine that's running properly sounds clean and smooth. If you notice any abnormal noises like rattling or knocking, you should be wary of underlying engine problems. You can also listen to what the engine sounds like when the vehicle is idling. If you notice sputtering or other signs that the engine is struggling to keep up, the previous owner might have gone for a long period without running the engine.

An engine that hasn't run in a while may become difficult to start up each time. If you note any abnormal noises, it's up to you to determine whether you want to take on the risk of buying a motorcycle with an insufficient engine.

A Realistic Mileage Reading

Look at the odometer of the used motorcycle you'd like to buy. If you see a reading that shows all zeroes, it could mean a couple of things. For one, the original odometer might have never worked or recently stopped displaying the correct number. Or, the previous owner could have replaced the odometer altogether in an attempt to hide a high mileage. You should also be wary if you spot an oddly low mileage. For example, a 2015 motorcycle likely won't have only 2,000 miles on it.

Once you view the odometer reading, you can compare the number you see to the number that appears on service records for the motorcycle. This way, you can confirm whether the odometer reading is accurate. If the current reading is significantly lower than the reading on a past service date, you should know you're dealing with a True Miles Unknown (TMU) motorcycle. Rather than taking a risk with a motorcycle that may have racked up 100,000 miles or even more, you may consider looking at other options.

Clean Paperwork

In addition to looking at proof of the motorcycle's service records, you may request a full vehicle history report from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. This report can reveal helpful information regarding the motorcycle's past. When you conduct a search on the motorcycle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can discover how many previous owners the motorcycle had. You can also find information on any accidents in which the motorcycle has been involved.

Still, you can discover if it had major repairs, whether it's been stolen, and whether the motorcycle has a clean title without any liens. For example, if you find out that the motorcycle has had its transmission replaced several times throughout its lifetime, you may be wary of purchasing it. Instead, you may want to look for a vehicle that has undergone less intense repair work.

No Oil Issues

Before you purchase a motorcycle, make sure that you check the oil. You can look into the oil window and confirm that the oil is semi-translucent and dark brown in color. If you notice that the oil is black, this may be a sign that the owner hasn't changed the oil recently. While this may simply be a one-time late oil change, it may be indicative that the previous owner didn't keep up with regular oil changes. Without regular oil changes, the motorcycle may have experienced wear and tear to its engine.

If you're having difficulty seeing into the oil window, you can pull out the dipstick to confirm the oil's color. While you're checking the current condition of the oil, you can also look underneath the motorcycle to check for oil leaks. Look for oil that's currently leaking, and check the area underneath the motorcycle's resting spot to look for evidence of past oil leaks. Leaking oil may be the result of a drain plug with misaligned threads or an issue with the primary gasket, both of which are relatively easy fixes.

However, there may be a more serious problem present, so you can be conscious of buying a motorcycle that's leaking oil.

Tires With Good Tread

Check the tread on the motorcycle's tires. To do so, you can use the old penny trick. Simply take a U.S. penny and put it between two ribs of the front tire. Ensure that Lincoln's head is facing toward the ground. If part of his head is cut off, the tire has good tread. If you can see his entire head, the tire has poor tread and needs replacement. Repeat this process with the other tire.

Check for uneven tire wear within the same tire and between the motorcycle's two tires. While replacing motorcycle tires is simple enough, uneven tire wear and tear may indicate more serious problems. For example, the motorcycle could have improper alignment. It's important to have a mechanic check out this potential issue before you confirm your purchase.

A Lack of Dents and Other Physical Imperfections

You can visually inspect your desired motorcycle to determine if it's a worthwhile purchase. Look for any major dings or scratches, as these could be signs that the motorcycle was part of an accident. You can also look for any parts of the metal that are turning blue, as this can indicate the motorcycle tends to overheat. You can also check for physical damage to the exhaust pipes and gas tank.

If you're buying from an independent seller, you may have to be extra diligent in examining the above factors. When you shop at a trusted dealership like Your Auto Source in York, you can rely on the quality of motorcycles. Browse our bargain inventory for various used motorcycles in great condition. You'll find motorcycles from Harley Davidson, Suzuki, and other beloved manufacturers. Contact us today to get in touch, and we'll help you find the used motorcycle that's right for you.

Motorcycle by pyntofmyld is licensed with CC BY 2.0

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