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Tech Tips

Scooter Maintenance

With more and more scooters on the road racking up miles, there is a greater need for service work on these machines. Read on for key maintenance tips that are specific to these powersports units.

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High gas prices and a wider range of model types have elevated the scooter in American eyes. Large displacement maxi scooters like the Suzuki Burgman 650 have given scooters the power and comfort to be at home on American interstates and high-speed highways. Small displacement scooters are more efficient than ever with MPG ratings reaching into the triple digits.

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With more and more scooters on the road racking up miles, there is a greater need for service work on these machines.

Scooter Maintenance Items
Scooters need oil changes, air filter replacements and valve clearance inspections just like motorcycles — beyond this, they also have their own set of specific maintenance needs.

1. Accessing Components
Scooters are usually covered up with bodywork. Often there will be built-in maintenance covers for accessing items like carburetors, batteries or spark plugs. Removing the cargo box under the seat often gives great access to the engine from above.

2. Servicing Exhaust
On many scooters, the exhaust system must be removed to take off the rear wheel. Have new exhaust gaskets on hand,
especially if you work on the same scooters often.

3. CVT and Centrifugal Clutch
The centrifugal clutches wear over time. The clutch-shoe
linings and drum inside diameter need to be inspected periodically and any time the clutch is slipping or failing to disengage. Most scooters use a belt and pulley CVT system for an automatic transmission. The belt condition should be inspected regularly. Often there are specifications for minimum belt width and maximum deflection. Pay particular attention to the direction of the belt rotation. Make sure the pulley faces are clean and smooth. Check for oil, water and dirt contamination of the belt and pulleys.

4. Final Drive Lubrication
The CVT on the scooter doesn’t directly drive the rear axle. A final reduction gear set transmits the power from the CVT to the rear axle. This gear set must be lubricated with gear oil, which oil should be changed regularly. Hypoid gear oil is often the specified lubricant for these gear sets.

5. Oil Injection System
Scooters are some of the last remaining street vehicles that use 2-stroke engines. The 2-stroke scooters do not have recirculated engine oil; they use a total loss oil injection system. The oil tank must not be allowed to run dry. If the oil tank runs dry, or if the oil lines are disconnected, air can get in the oil injection system and block the flow of oil even if the tank is refilled. The oil lines need to have the air bled out any time the lines are disconnected or the tank is run dry.

6. Brakes
Scooters brakes have about as much in common with ATVs as they do motorcycles. Unlike a motorcycle, scooters often have parking brakes that need periodic adjustment. Linked brakes are very common in scooters, and these systems can have specific air bleeding instructions. In addition, scooters have a brake switch to prevent the engine from starting if a brake is not applied. If the scooter engine refuses to start, this switch should not be overlooked. Consult the service manual for the particular model for brake system inspection and maintenance information. 

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