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Vespa Scooter Troubleshooting

The Vespa is perhaps the best known scooter in the world, and motorcycle users in many nations also consider it the most fashionable ride on two wheels. The company describes the bike as "an unprecedented and unqualified success," however problems can arise with them over time. Getting the bike started and making sure it runs smoothly involves checking and maintaining a number of different parts. Problems with these parts can often fix yourself, but sometimes the services of a qualified mechanic may be needed.

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  1. Check the battery. If your Vespa won't start, the battery may be dead or nearly dead and will need charging. Many riders consider using the kick start as an early solution. The bike needs to be on its stand with the ignition turned on before you try this. Gently opening the throttle as you kick the kick-start lever can also help in getting the engine to turn over. If the kick start doesn't work, you may need to jump start the bike. Using jump leads, attach your battery to the battery of another bike, and start the engine normally. Once the bike is started, you must keep the engine running to charge the battery.

  2. Take a look at the spark plug. Engine faltering can arise if it is damaged or not working properly. The plug ignites the fuel mixture inside the cylinder in order to make the bike go. Locate the plug underneath the seat of the Vespa but above the engine. Check for discolouration which could indicate the oil to gas ratio in the bike is wrong. Clean or replace the spark plug altogether and try to start the bike again.

  3. Check for interruptions to the smooth running of the Vespa. Bad acceleration, jolts or leakages can indicate problems with the carburettor. The Vespa Maintenance website stresses the importance of this part stating: "The carburettor on all Vespas is something that should be kept clean and sealed." It is possible to clear blockages and rebuild a carburettor, but the process is complex and takes a particular amount of knowledge and expertise.

  4. Ensure the brakes and gears on your Vespa are working correctly, and make sure the tires are fully inflated and are not worn. Problems with any of these parts can interfere with the overall smooth running of the bike, and particular instructions on them can be found in the bike's instruction manual.

  5. Tip

    Problems with starting your Vespa may be less down to mechanics and fine tuning and have more to do with temperature or length of time for which it has sat idle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vespa User Manual
  • Registration documents
  • Wrench

About the Author

James Alexander

Based in London, James Alexander has been writing for U.K. newspapers, TV and Web sites since 2000. His work has appeared in "The Daily Mail" and "Yours" magazine and he has contributed to BBC Radio Scotland. He has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Glasgow.

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