It’s easy to love your Vespa, right? The cool, stylish look it boasts is different to any other motorbike. It will take any road that challenges it, and it’ll turn on a sixpence. It’s cheap and clean, and the noise level isn’t bad, either.
Unfortunately, you’ll pay a little more to service your Vespa than you will for your automobile. You might pay $35 bucks for an oil change on your car, and closer to $80 for the same thing—using less oil—on your Vespa.
Tips on looking after your Vespa Scooter can help keep your money where you want it, which is in your wallet where you can spend it at the great places your Vespa will take you.
First and foremost, you want to look after your Vespa’s paint job. If you’ve acquired a used Vespa or if you’ve had yours for a while, you’ll want to bring the finish back to life. It’s easy with a bottle of premium wax, some soft cloths, and a little elbow grease. Oh, yes—don’t forget the rubbing compound.
• Before you buff and wax it, give it a sudsy wash. Use some soft, clean towelling to dry it thoroughly.
• Cover the chrome areas with masking tape to protect them from your rubbing compound. It’s best to mask off the rubber and plastic parts as well.
• Buy a good brand of rubbing compound. If you’re going to give your Vespa a good rub, you want to do it with a quality product. Apply the compound to a soft cloth and then rub it over the surface in swirling circles. The friction created by the abrasive particles in the compound actually heats up the paint to remove small scratches.
• Once the rubbing compound is wiped away, apply polish to give your Vespa a glossy shine. Wipe off excess polish so that it won’t attract dust.
Don’t forget to give your Vespa’s seat some love. Most people use leather cleaners to keep the seat looking good, and they are careful to use seat covers.
After all, the sun and rain can be harsh to any surface left outdoors. You might want to check out a product such as Lexol Leather Conditioner and Preservative. Its composition mimics the infusion of oil preservatives that go into the leather during the tanning process. Even if your Vespa seat has taken a beating, something like Lexol will bring it back from the dead.
The same goes for the leather polish—don’t leave the surface swimming in leather cleaner or it will pick up every dust speck floating nearby.
Oil, Filter, and More
Your Vespa is not just a pretty face. You have to maintain it to get years of service from it.
• The oil should be changed after the first 1000 km, every 4000 km and whenever there’s a need to overhaul it. You can use a 5W40 fully synthetic oil or check with your local auto parts dealer.
• The air filter should be dismantled and cleaned with petrol (gasoline) every 4000 km. You’ll want to blow-dry it with an air jet. You’ll also want to do this after any overhaul.
• Decoking refers to the process of cleaning the top end of your Vespa. You need to remove the coke deposits from the engine as part of your general maintenance about every 6000 km. A Vespa runs on a two-stroke engine, and if you don’t clean the engine you’ll experience fuel inefficiency and hard starting. You can find exact instructions including photos at VespaMaintenance.com.
• Every 1000 km, go over your bike and make certain all nuts and bolts are tight.
• The gear selector, brake levers, speedometer, and drive pinion housing will require grease about every 4000 km or after major overhauls.
• Check the battery every few months, because you rely upon its power to run your lights, horn, and turn signals. Use a wire brush to remove corrosion from the battery terminals. Apply a good lubricant like WD40 to a soft cloth and wipe the terminals. If you plan on cleaning the vent tube or adding water to the battery, you’ll want to remove it from its housing before you work on it.
• Check your tires regularly for nails and also for tire pressure. Your front tire should carry a pressure of 1.23 kg/cm2. Rear tires should go at 1.8 kg/cm2 or, for a load over 80 kg, make it 2.58 kg/cm2.
• One of the last but not least tips for taking care of your Vespa is the advice to start assembling a great tool kit. You’ll want everything from a tire gauge to a sparkplug wrench, and also vital equipment such as screwdrivers, open-end wrenches and a 13mm box wrench, vise-grips, wire strippers, a torque wrench, cables, both wire cutting and needle-nose pliers, a fuse, electrical connectors, a crimp tool, a spare spark plug, ratchets—and a spare set of keys, plus paper and pencil.
Got some tips of your own, let us know in the comments area below.