Rev Up Your Knowledge: Why Your Motorcycle Won’t Start and How to Fix It

As a motorcycle rider, few things are more frustrating than trying to start your bike and hearing only the sound of silence. Whether you’re getting ready for a ride, trying to leave work, or stranded on the side of the road, a non-starting motorcycle can ruin your day and potentially cost you time, money, and safety. While there are many possible reasons why a motorcycle won’t start, some are more common than others. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most frequent causes of motorcycle starting problems and suggest some solutions that you can try on your own or with the help of a mechanic.

Dead battery

One of the most common reasons why a motorcycle won’t start is a dead battery. Unlike cars, motorcycles have smaller batteries that can drain faster if not charged regularly or if exposed to cold weather. If you turn the key and hear a clicking sound or no sound at all, your battery may be dead or weak. To check your battery, you can use a voltmeter or a battery tester, or you can jump-start your bike with another vehicle or a portable battery pack. If your battery is dead, you may need to replace it or recharge it with a battery charger. If your battery is weak, you may need to ride your bike for a while to recharge it or use a battery tender to maintain its charge.

Bad starter motor

Another possible cause of a non-starting motorcycle is a bad starter motor. The starter motor is responsible for turning the engine over when you press the starter button or kickstart lever. If the starter motor is faulty, it may not engage or spin the engine, or it may make a grinding or whining noise. To diagnose a bad starter motor, you can try tapping it gently with a hammer or a wrench while pressing the starter button or lever. If the motor starts working, it may be a sign that it’s worn out or has loose connections. If tapping doesn’t work, you may need to replace the starter motor or have it repaired by a professional.

Clogged fuel system

A third possible cause of a motorcycle not starting is a clogged fuel system. The fuel system includes the fuel tank, the fuel pump, the fuel filter, the fuel injectors or carburetors, and the fuel lines. If any of these components are dirty, damaged, or blocked, they can prevent fuel from reaching the engine or cause it to run poorly. Symptoms of a clogged fuel system may include a sputtering engine, a foul smell, or a lack of power. To check your fuel system, you can inspect the fuel tank for rust or debris, replace the fuel filter if it’s dirty, clean the fuel injectors or carburetors if they’re clogged, or drain the fuel lines if they’re contaminated. If your fuel system is severely damaged or corroded, you may need to replace some or all of the components or have them cleaned by a professional.

Ignition problems

A fourth possible cause of a motorcycle not starting is ignition problems. The ignition system includes the spark plugs, the ignition coil, the spark plug wires, and the CDI or TCI unit. If any of these components are faulty, worn out, or disconnected, they can prevent the engine from firing or cause it to misfire. Symptoms of ignition problems may include a weak or no spark, a backfiring engine, or a rough idle. To diagnose ignition problems, you can check the spark plugs for fouling or damage, replace the spark plug wires if they’re worn out, test the ignition coil with a multimeter, or replace the CDI or TCI unit if it’s malfunctioning. If your ignition system is beyond repair, you may need to replace some or all of the components or have them serviced by a professional.

Other causes

While the above causes are some of the most common reasons why a motorcycle won’t start, there are many other possible factors that can contribute to starting problems. Some of these include:

– A faulty or loose kill switch, side stand switch, or clutch switch

– A damaged or loose wiring harness, fuse, or relay

– A flooded engine due to over-priming or over-choking

– A seized engine due to lack of oil or overheating

– A broken or worn out timing chain or belt

– A damaged or worn out camshaft or crankshaft

To troubleshoot these and other issues, you may need to consult your motorcycle’s manual, use a diagnostic tool, or seek the help of a mechanic.


In conclusion, a motorcycle not starting can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are easy to fix and some of which require more expertise and resources. By understanding the common causes of starting problems and trying some of the solutions suggested in this article, you can increase your chances of getting your bike back on the road and enjoying the ride. Remember to always wear proper gear, follow safety rules, and maintain your motorcycle regularly to prevent starting problems and other issues. Happy riding!