How to: Keep your lights bright

If your bike’s keep­ing you in the dark this win­ter it may not be the bulb to blame

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

Be en­light­ened 1

Be­fore you start, make sure know the type of lights that are fit­ted to your bike. The con­ven­tional bulb needs no in­tro­duc­tion, they are usu­ally straight­for­ward to buy and fit. The var­i­ous types of new LED light­ing sys­tems, how­ever, need a bit more con­sid­er­a­tion. Check your user man­ual for spe­cific in­struc­tions with re­gard to check­ing out faults be­cause they can prove costly - an LED unit for a 2016 R1 is £740!

Rule out the fuse 2

If your lights have stopped work­ing it’s not al­ways go­ing to be a bulb that’s at fault. It’s com­mon for the lights to have their own in­di­vid­ual fuse, so be­fore chang­ing the bulb, check the fuses. If the fuse ap­pears to be OK then check the ter­mi­nals, if they are cor­roded clean them with abra­sive pa­per. The lay­out of the fuses and what they are pro­tect­ing is in the man­ual and spare fuses are of­ten lo­cated by the main fuse panel.

Ban­ish the boot 3

Gain­ing ac­cess to your head­light bulb or bulbs will some­times ne­ces­si­tate re­mov­ing var­i­ous cov­ers and pan­els. With these re­moved you will of­ten find that there will be a rub­ber ‘boot’ pro­tect­ing the bulb and head­light from the out­side el­e­ments, es­pe­cially wa­ter. Dis­con­nect the bulb con­nec­tor and then care­fully re­move the rub­ber cover.

As­sess the dam­age 4

There is usu­ally a spring-loaded clip that can be a bit fid­dly to work out. Pa­tiently un­clip it and re­move the bulb, tak­ing care not to touch the bulb glass. If there is no vis­i­ble dam­age to the bulb check to see if it works by con­nect­ing it to an out­side power source. If this test shows the bulb to be good, recheck the fuses and con­nec­tors.

Keep off the glass 5

You can check any bulb vis­ually for a bro­ken or burnt-out fil­a­ment and quite of­ten this is ac­com­pa­nied by dis­coloura­tion of the glass. The same goes for halo­gen head­light bulbs, how­ever you need to be care­ful not to han­dle the glass bulb. The slight­est amount of con­tam­i­na­tion on the glass will cause a hot spot, so han­dle the base only.

Watt is the ques­tion 6

Only use good qual­ity bulb brands and be sure to check the wattage and type is cor­rect for your bike. This in­for­ma­tion is im­por­tant as fit­ting an up­rated head­light bulb with in­creased wattage is not only il­le­gal but could also over­load the bike’s elec­tri­cal system. There are max­i­mum wattages for tail, brake and in­di­ca­tor bulbs.

Give your lenses a close up 7

Most of the lenses, such as the rear light and in­di­ca­tors, can very eas­ily be cleaned in a few min­utes as they are usu­ally re­tained by one or two self-tap­ping screws. Once re­moved, give the in­side a good wipe with a clean cloth; any damp­ness or ex­cess dirt could in­di­cate that a rub­ber seal is dam­aged and needs to be re­placed.

Can­cel out cor­ro­sion 8

Some­times a bulb fail­ure can be at­trib­uted to cor­ro­sion of the elec­tri­cal con­tacts. This is of­ten caused by mois­ture creep­ing in through a cracked lens or dam­aged seal. Any cor­ro­sion can be dealt with by rub­bing the con­tacts both on the bulb and the holder with wet and dry pa­per. It can be dif­fi­cult to get to the bulb holder, so try wrap­ping some pa­per around a screw­driver for bet­ter ac­cess.

The type has to be right 9

When you’re re­plac­ing ei­ther a rear light or in­di­ca­tor bulb make sure that you use the cor­rect type. At a glance the bulbs will have the same di­men­sions and of­ten sim­i­lar fit­tings, but a close look will show the twin fil­a­ment of the tail and brake light bulb with its off­set lo­cat­ing pegs. Also, in­di­ca­tor bulbs can have ei­ther orange or clear glass, so make sure you buy the cor­rect style of bulb for your bike’s system.

NEXT WEEK Keep a two- mo­tor stroke run­ning sweetly

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