My Motorcycle Sat For Too Long and Won’t Start, Now What?

You try to start up a motorcycle that you kept in storage for a long period of time and … nothing. So you tested everything (battery, fuses, etc.) and it still won’t start. Now what?

Partzilla’s motorcycle expert John Talley livestreams Q&A sessions on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern. In this session, John was asked what else could be wrong with a motorcycle that sat inactive for a long period of time and won’t start after the charging system was tested and checked out okay. 

Motorcycle won't start sat for too long

Inactive Motorcycle Won’t Start Q&A

My bike won’t start after a long layoff. I checked the battery and it has a good charge. And I checked the fuses like you mentioned on your Honda VTX 1800 starting problems video. All appear to be okay, but still nothing. Do you have any ideas?

John Talley: Ok, so it’s been sitting up for a while. Alright, you said the fuses all appear to be okay, but did you go in with either a voltmeter or a test light and follow the power? For something like this, I would probably start with a test light, and just start from your battery and follow it through the fusible links. Make sure that none of them are blown by going to either side of the ones that are live, turning the ignition on and making sure everything’s passing power across. Now, you did say it has been laying up for a while? Where was it parked when you quit riding it? Because I’ve seen it happen way too many times when you put them in your storage building or worse than that, a barn with any type of feed in it and guess what happens. Well, you know what happens. The “varmints” come out of the woodwork, and they love electrical wires, I don’t know why. I guess there’s something they seek out of the covering on most electrical harnesses and just strip it down. So you may want to take a close look at the wiring harness to make sure it hasn’t been gnawed in half. Chances are that’s what happened to you. 

Buy test light

Buy multimeter

Watch the video below to learn how to troubleshoot starting problems with a Honda VTX 1800 motorcycle.

Watch the video below to learn about the differences between a test light and a multimeter.

Watch the video below for tips on how to make motorcycle wiring harness repairs.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.



Why Partzilla?

Commercial Discounts

Special discounts for companies in the powersports industry


Government Sales

Discounts for federal and most state and municipal agencies