Why Is My Motorcycle Check Engine Light On? – (Explained)
I recently noticed that Check Engine Light, aka MIL (malfunction indicator lamp) on my motorcycle instrument cluster, was glowing. I went to the nearest mechanic garage, and they inserted an OBD2 scanner to detect the fault code. My motorcycle was diagnosed with an irregular drop in voltage supply.
Your motorcycle has many sensors that send signals to the electronic control unit (ECU). Based on those signals, the ECU decides how much fuel should be injected for better performance and optimum fuel economy. Once any sensors detect a problem, the ECU turns on the Check Engine Light.
Why is my motorcycle check engine light on? If your motorcycle check engine light is on, it means some sensors detected a malfunction in engine operation. The check engine light mostly turns on because your motorcycle ECU detected faults with an O2 sensor, throttle position sensor, camshaft position sensor, mass air flow sensor, or engine temperature sensor. It’s a warning light that the ECU diagnoses some issue, and you should fix it.
What Causes Check Engine Light On A Motorcycle?
Every modern motorcycle has a fuel injector system controlled by a motorcycle ECU. The ECU receives data from the various sensors installed at the intake and exhaust system and decides the correct fuel injection amount through complex mathematical calculations.
If any sensors stop sending data, the ECU turns on Check Engine Light to inform the bike owner. When your motorcycle misfires or creates any problem in the operation, you should immediately address the issue.
If you don’t address the issue, the problem could worsen, and you could end up paying high repair costs. You can visit your motorcycle dealer service center for fault diagnosis, and they will fix the problem.
How To Read Check Engine Fault Codes On A Motorcycle?
If your motorcycle is manufactured after 2021, it must have an OBD2 port that connects with the engine control unit (ECU). When you hook up any OBD2 scan tool, it will start communicating with the motorcycle ECU and retrieve the fault code.
Many Bluetooth OBD2 scanners wirelessly connect to your smartphone and ECU. You can use any OBD2 app on your smartphone to start scanning various modules.
If your motorcycle ECU has a fault code, it will appear on your smartphone screen. Once you diagnose the problem, you can fix it yourself (if it’s not severe) or get it fixed by any professional mechanic garage.
Here’s how to read Engine Check Fault Code on a motorcycle with a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner:
- Buy a Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner and OBD2 Adapter for Bikes from Amazon or any online store. (I recommend BlueDriver or OBDLink MX+)
- Locate the scanner port on your motorcycle (generally located below the seat) and hook up the adapter cable.
- Turn on the ignition key and insert the OBD2 scan tool into another end of the adapter cable.
- Download any OBD2 scanning app like Torque Pro or OBD Auto Doctor on your smartphone.
- Pair your OBD2 device via Bluetooth and scan all modules.
- Your scanner will give you Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) that indicate the faults.
- Fix the detected problem on your motorcycle and clear the code.
Note– You can always Google the meaning of detected OBD2 trouble code for better understanding.
How To Clear Check Engine Code On A Motorcycle?
Your Check Engine Light will not disappear until your fix the diagnosed fault and clear the trouble code from the ECU memory. Once you fix the issue on your motorcycle, follow the process to pair the OBD2 scanner and complete the scanning process.
Once you finish all module scanning, tap on the detected trouble code and then tap on ‘Clear.’ This will delete the OBD2 code from your motorcycle ECU. Similarly, you can clear all detected trouble codes and erase them from your ECU memory.
The check engine light will automatically turn off when you clear the trouble codes. Motorcycle manufacturers like Harley-Davidson can clear the check engine light code without an OBD2 scanner. Please read the user manual for your motorcycle.
Is It Safe To Ride A Motorcycle With Check Engine Light?
You’ll see a check engine light when any sensor detects a malfunction with your engine. But don’t panic; it’s just a warning light. You can still drive your motorcycle to a mechanic shop. You might notice misfires, inappropriate power delivery, low miles per gallon (MPG), and other issues. So, it’s better not to ride your motorcycle for longer with the check engine light on.
However, it depends upon the severity of the malfunction. You can charge the motorcycle battery if your MIL is triggered by a low-voltage supply (P0562). Also, don’t forget to clean your motorcycle spark plug if you notice a misfire.
Should I Stop Riding Immediately After The Motorcycle Engine Light Turns On?
The answer to this question is really tricky. It depends upon the severity of the problem that occurred in your engine. For that, you need to scan your motorcycle with an OBD2 scanner. Generally, the Check Engine Light is triggered when the O2 sensor detects incomplete combustion. If your O2 sensor detects incomplete combustion, the ECU will try to supply a lean air-fuel mixture to the combustion chamber, and your motorcycle delivers less power.
You can still drive your motorcycle at a lower speed to reach the nearest mechanic shop and resolve the issue. If your engine has major faults, you should probably pull over and have it towed into a repair shop.
A Check Engine Light or MIL (malfunction indicator lamp) is a warning light that turns on when your ECU detects any fault in the engine. You can scan the error code with a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner and fix the detected issue yourself. If some major faults are detected, you can take your motorcycle to the nearest mechanic garage for fixing.