I’ve got a working answer, based on experience: When you start having trouble keeping up with them.
The other day I was out in the shed looking over my diesel tractor, which sits a lot when it’s warm and nice but becomes essential when it gets cold – and starts to snow. I thought I remembered changing the oil a few months ago, back in early spring. But the little log book I keep with it (and with all my vehicles) told me otherwise:
More than a year ago.
I checked the book I keep with my ZRX1200R sport bike. Way past time to change out the clutch/brake fluid, replace the coolant and do a valve clearance check. I thought I was keeping up with all that. So I am in the middle of playing catch-up with all of that now.
It needs a bath, too.
Then there’s the “old Kaw” – my antique ’76 Kz900. Has it already been four years since I rebuilt the engine? I guess I need to check the valves on that one, too. Should have done it at about 1,000 miles after the engine re-do. But the clock says 3,217 miles since the rebuild. And I really ought to drain the tank. That gas has been in there for awhile now, a year at least. Even with fuel stabilizer, the carbs (all four of them) are probably in need of a cleaning.
But get in line.
The GL650 needs front fork service; the seat’s getting long in the tooth. Foam is starting to show. I’ve been meaning to ship off the stereo head unit to this place that fixes these old Honda-Clarion units. Mine is stuck on one channel – one I don’t like, of course. Just haven’t gotten around to it. But, at least, I have kept up with the oil/filter changes – and somehow managed to changeout the shaft drive lube, so that’s something.
I really ought to clean/oil the chain on the KL250.
All four of them need the air pressure in their tires checked/topped off (so eight total tires) plus the Kz’s Metzelers are about eight years old now and probably should be replaced even though they still have 90 percent of their tread.
Come to think of it, the ZRX is gonna need a new rear tire soon (but not because of age).
Just keeping these machines clean – and cycling the trickle charger among them, to keep each one’s battery alive – is no small endeavor. I have no less than eight batteries to maintain – and maintaining them is important because batteries are expensive. $75-$100-plus each. That’s about $800 I have invested in just batteries. I made life easier on myself by purchasing a couple more trickle chargers. I now have three – and keep two of them semi-permanently hooked-up to the least-ridden machines. That helps some.
Oh yeah. I forgot (again) about the Trans-Am.
How long has it been since I last started her up? A month? I know I changed the oil this season. I think… .
And I did add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. I always do that. But I haven’t had a chance to give her a much-needed tuneup – let alone a proper detailing.
Because I’ve been too busy with my two trucks… one of them needed brakes; the other a new O2 sensor. Since these two actually get used – and the miles rack up fast – before I can turn around it’s oil change time again. Times two. Gotta remember to get a new state safety inspection for the silver truck, too. Plus rotate the tires. And check out the gold truck’s 4WD, so it’s ready for the winter.
Hence, no tune-up (yet) for the Trans-Am. It sleeps under its cover, like Rameses II in his shroud. One day, maybe they’ll both come back to life… .
Now my friend Graves has convinced me to buy one of his old bikes, a two-stroke Kawasaki S1 from the early ’70s. It needs a full-on restoration but it’s all there – and the price is righteous. Just $50 for the pile o’ parts. I will have all I can handle trying to resurrect the ancient smog machine, but it’s a must-do … another thumb in the eye of the gods of political correctness. There is nothing wilder – or more obnoxious – than a two-stroke triple tearing down the road. I cannot let this opportunity pass.
If I can find the time to get to it… .
Throw it in the Woods?