Sooner or later, almost every gas scooter driver will have the occasion to ask, “What do I do when my scooter won’t start?” It is that sinking feeling you get when you insert the key into your ignition, twist your handlebar grip or step down on the kickstarter, and — nothing happens. Just a few clicks or dead silence. Now what do you do?
If you are not mechanically inclined, then you might believe your only recourse is to load your scooter into a flatbed truck and haul it to the closest scooter mechanic for evaluation. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do first, most of which will cost you nothing, and one of which is very likely to solve your problem quickly.
Just follow our easy checklist and before you know it, you may have your gas scooter back on the road.
Scooter Start Troubleshooting Checklist
- Was your kill switch pushed to the on position accidentally? Believe it or not, this happens quite often. Somehow, your hand pushes this rocker switch without you even realizing it. This has to be the easiest and fastest remedy to scooter start problems!
- Is your battery dead? If you’ve left your battery in your scooter for more than a couple of weeks without starting the scooter, there is every possibility that your scooter drained during the interim. Sometimes it can be recharged, but often it will need to be replaced. Avoid this problem in the future by taking your scooter out of the battery compartment if you don’t plan to drive for a while or by hooking it up to a trickle charger.
- Have you checked the fuse? You can usually find a scooter fuse in or near the battery compartment, which is usually under the floorboard on the scooter.
- Is it a choke problem? Try putting your hand over the air filter opening and see if it starts better. If it does, then the choke is probably the issue. At least now, you know where to start.
- Could the solenoid be bad? To check the solenoid, you have to locate it in your scooter (use your manual or look for help online), then put a screwdriver across the positive and negative terminals. There will be sparks so don’t panic. If the starter spins when you do that, you have to replace the solenoid.
- Do your valves need adjusting? For new scooters, especially cheaper varieties, after a couple hundred miles, it is likely that your valve clearances need to be adjusted. Check your manual or online to find out the right clearances for your size engine and how to do the adjustment.
- Did you hold in the brake lever when trying to start? For many gas scooters, there is a built-in safety feature that prevents the scooter from starting unless one of the brake levers is pushed in. Check both brakes when starting. One of them should work. If not, then it could be that your brake switch needs replacing.
- Did you drop your scoot or lay it down on its side? If so, gas or oil may have gotten into the wrong places. Try taking your gas cap off, changing out the spark plug and/or changing the oil and filter to see if that helps.
- Could your carburetor be clogged? Take out your spark plug and spray in starter fluid, then put your plug back in and try to start the scooter. If it starts and dies, you have a clogged carburetor and it needs cleaning. You can find carburetor cleaning fluid at your local auto parts store, but do follow the safety precautions.
If you move through this entire scooter start troubleshooting checklist, then you may still need to have it diagnosed and fixed by a professional. But hopefully you discovered why your scooter won’t start and are now back in the driver’s seat, motoring down your favorite road.