For some motorcycle riders, the mandatory inspection process can feel like an unnecessary evil. That’s especially true of new Harley buyers doing a Texas motorcycle inspection, for they’re getting a great machine that’s virtually guaranteed to pass every element of the inspection with flying colors.
But it is important to know what passing means. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the motorcycle inspection process and what parts are inspected, with a focus on how Harley Davidson owners can expect to be affected by this process.
Motorcycle Inspection Basics
Let’s start with the simple part of the inspection. The basic goal of a typical motorcycle inspection, regardless of which state it’s conducted in, is to make sure that the bike is both safe to operate and roadworthy.
So what does that mean, exactly? The best way to answer that question is to break your bike down into systems, then take the requirements from there.
The list of systems is relatively basic. It includes the fuel system, the lights, brakes, tires and wheels, seat, horn, and windscreen. Some of these tests, like the one for the horn and the brakes, are run on a simple go/no-go or pass/fail test.
There are some specifics that are more detailed, however. Mirrors are part of the inspection process, for instance, and the inspector will check both the integrity of the mirrors and their placement.
Inspecting the lights is a bit more complex than you might think. In most states, the taillight needs to be visible from at least 200 feet behind the bike, and the headlight should be visible from different distances that will vary according to the speed of the motorcycle.
Brake inspection can be a little different, too. For most motorcycles that were manufactured after the early 70s—1973, to be specific, there should be one brake point in the rear of the bike and another up front. In some states, though, older bikes will only require a single inspection point.
Formal Inspection vs Your Inspection
One of the advantages of knowing how the motorcycle inspection process works is that your knowledge can provide a bridge for you to conduct your own inspection. That’s especially true for riders who have put some wear and tear on their Harleys, so let’s review.
Start with the tires. To do your own inspection, find the DOT text line, then locate the four numbers at the end of that line. That will tell you when the tires were made, which is important because motorcycle tires will often age out before the actual wear and tear catches up with them.
Studying the grooves and tread is a fairly simple process, but it’s essential if you want to make sure that you have enough traction for any riding condition you’re likely to encounter.
Now let’s look at the brakes. The basic inspection includes the rotor, rims, and brake pads, but when you inspect the pads, make sure the fiber is glued to the top of the metal-backed plate. If that fiber is excessively worn down, your braking distance will suffer in ways that may compromise your safety.
Next up are the chains. Most modern motorcycles have a roller chain that’s also referred to as an O-ring chain, and many riders think this chain doesn’t need maintenance.
The truth is a little different—the O-ring contains fluids, and it should be thoroughly lubricated to keep the chains from falling. The tension should also be carefully assessed, with the slack measured according to the owner’s manual or the rating that is supplied near the chain itself.
The clutch is important, too. If it’s hydraulic, the fluid needs to be checked to make sure the level is where it should be. If it’s a cable clutch, check the gap for wire strands or any segments of failing cable that may stick out. If you see these strands when you pull the clutch open, cancel your ride until you get them fixed.
Finally, check the suspension. Make sure the fluid isn’t leaking. A leak, like exposed wires, means you should put a hold on any riding, as this can affect the way your brakes work, too.
The Texas Motorcycle Inspection Process
The motorcycle inspection process in Texas is fairly typical, and it pertains only to safety. Only the systems listed above are inspected, and you do not have to present proof of purchase. Currently, the inspection costs just under $15, and you can check that cost by accessing the link for the individual inspection station.
To find one, visit this Inspection Station Locator.
If you have any individual questions about your motorcycle that are related to inspection, contact us at the Kingwood Harley dealership! We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver experiences that fulfill our customers’ dreams, and we would love to fulfill yours.
Harley Davidson of Kingwood
Harley-Davidson of Kingwood is your #1 Texas Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer. Our full-service facility offers new and pre-owned motorcycles, parts, maintenance, riding apparel, and everything else you need to get your Hog on the road. As a winner of the Harley-Davidson Gold Bar & Shield Circle of Excellence, we’re committed to providing top-notch customer service every day of the week. Stop by and visit the Harley-Davidson of Kingwood Showroom on Northpines Drive in Kingwood, TX!