A Guide to Troubleshooting a Motorcycle Engine Diagnostics System

hands connecting device to motorcycle diagnostic system

The engine diagnostics system in your motorcycle is the computer that helps to control all of the various electrical functions of the vehicle. If this portion of the motorcycle doesn't function properly, it can lead to numerous negative effects on the bike. These may be very easy to diagnose and obviously due to the diagnostic system, or they may be extremely subtle and appear to be caused by other problems. Due to the range of issues that can develop, there is no way to address them all in one place. However, follow this rough guide to begin to diagnose the problem with your engine computer system in your motorcycle.

Step 1 - Take Note of the Symptoms

The first step that you should take is to make a list of all of the different symptoms that you see or experience while driving the bike. Be on the lookout for any electrical problems in the dash, and engine problems, difficulty turning the vehicle on, battery failure issues, and anything else that seems to be malfunctioning. Write all of these down to keep track. Next, park the motorcycle and leave it running while you listen for the sounds of the engine idling. See if it makes any unusual sounds. Finally, examine the motorcycle physically while it is off in order to look for any other problems that may be physically involved.

Step 2 - Isolate the System

Are the problems related to the battery charging, the engine starting or stopping, the lights on the vehicle not working properly, or some other related problem? If so, it's likely that there is some sort of a problem with the engine diagnostics system and the electrical wiring of the motorcycle. If not, the problem that you've identified may be due to some combination of other systems.

Step 3 - Test the Alternator and Generator

Ensuring that you maintain all safety procedures in order to avoid electric shock and other injury, take the motorcycle apart so that you can see the electrical system. On newer bikes, you'll see the alternator, which is responsible for providing electricity to the battery and other systems. Older motorcycles have a generator. Oftentimes, you can visually diagnose the problem; if there is a blown fuse or a damaged wire. This may be very easy to replace. Test the electrical output of the alternator or generator with a voltmeter. If the electricity seems to be flowing fine, move on to the next step.

Step 4 - Test the Battery

Engage in a simple test to determine whether or not the battery is able to maintain its charge. This can be done with any number of inexpensive battery reading devices that are available at hardware stores and auto repair shops.

If you're still unable to identify the problem, take the bike to a mechanic for more advice.