What to check before renting a Scooter or Motorbike?

Last updated: March 2, 2022

Check Rental Motorbike

Imagine spoiling your vacations with a rental bike that suddenly starts messing up because of technical faults. Well, that’s horrible! Nonetheless, you don’t need to stress about it if you have correctly checked the scooter or motorcycle before renting it. Detailed checking before renting is especially recommended in high seasons, i.e., vacations, because rentals are too busy to keep a check on functioning of every vehicle.

Going through technical stability is just as important as verifying the documents if you want to protect yourself from any unpleasant situation during your journey.

Table of Contents

Why is it important to check the bike before renting?

Going on a journey with your favourite two-wheeler adds to the fun if it functions smoothly. Many reasons, when combined, make it inevitable to check a motorbike before renting it.

  • Safety: There’s no greater risk than having a vehicle with worn-out brakes. Not only does it increase the chance of accidents, but it may also put you in danger of a lawsuit if some unfortunate incident occurs. Thus, checking the scooter or bike before renting ensures a safe and smooth experience.
  • Time: Nothing spoils the day more than a rental motorbike breaking down in the middle of the journey. It takes many hours of continuous work and exhaustion to get it all put together to function. That’s how verifying the vehicle’s condition beforehand may protect your time and mental health.
  • Money: Bike rental will never take responsibility if you find some fault in functioning during the journey. Contrarily, they can easily blame you for that. It’ll cause further waste of money as you’ll be responsible for the compensation.

What documents/papers do I need to rent a Scooter/Motorbike in Thailand?

You need to follow a complete procedure before renting a vehicle, no matter in which place of the world you’re. In Thailand, you need to go with certain documents to rent a motorcycle or bike.

  • Passport: A passport or copy of a passport is essential to rent a vehicle in Thailand. That’s when they ask you to deposit the amount and hand over you the motorbike. Ensure that you don’t leave your passport with them because they may scam you by accusing you of damaging the vehicle later and holding your passport until you don’t pay a fine.
  • Driving License or Permit: Driving license from your country in addition to the international or Thai driving license is recommended to rent a motorbike in Thailand. However, you can rent a bike on your own risk without a driving license too.
  • Personal Travel Insurance: Having personal travel insurance is optional at most places and it covers riding a motorbike or scooter. With personal travel insurance that covers motorbike rental, you can travel without worrying about compensation in case of damage. If a person doesn’t possess insurance, he’ll have to pay from his pocket in case of any damage if bike are not insured by company.

What do I need to get from the Rental Company after Renting the Bike?

It is exhausting to go through police checkpoints, especially if they somehow find you suspicious. So the best approach is to leave for a journey with all the required documents so that you don’t have to waste much time clearing your position at checkpoints.

Besides going through the unnecessary grind, you might be found liable to a fine if you don’t have all the documents from the company. Therefore, the following are the documents that you must get from the rental company for a smooth and stress-free journey:

  • Rental agreement. (You must read and verify the contract terms before signing it.)
  • Insurance sticker from the transport office that should be stick on some visible place on the bike; it is a proof that the tax and compulsory insurance has been paid.
  • A copy of the green book – When renting a bike or scooter, it refers to the registration book following two pages: Page last paid tax and the page with registration data.
  • Copy of receipts that prove that the company has paid the compulsory insurance.
  • Copy of proof of insurance if the company has bought some other insurance plan.

Missing any of these documents may be taken as a traffic offence in Thailand and will result in some financial penalty.

How to check Scooter before Rent?

Now let’s make a checklist of all you need to check before renting a motorbike. Ensuring the quality of the bike before renting will not be very difficult once you have read this article. So let’s get started!

General Look

The general outlook of a product says a lot about it. Look for any scratches once you get to see the desired bike or scooter at the rental company’s outlet. It is also necessary to detect any broken or bent plastic in the structure.

If you are okay with any such issue, just take photos and videos of the vehicle so that you can assure the company that the vehicle had that specific issue at the time of renting, and it’s not you who caused it. 

Always take detailed photos of damaged element
Take photos of whole bike before rent

Brakes

Besides checking the bike on the parking, it is inevitable to take the test ride down the street to check if there is an issue with the bike’s functioning. Although front brakes need more attention, both front and rare brakes should work perfectly for a smooth journey. Ideally, it should neither be too soft nor too tight. Brakes should be comfortable to work with so that you don’t have to put any extra energy or effort to get the job done.

Nonetheless, remember that it is not an issue if you feel a little squeeze during braking. However, you may consider changing the bike if the squeezing is loud.

Checking brakes is crucial since any inconsistency can make you face more significant issues during the journey.

Tires

No one wants to face a flat tire during the journey, so it is essential to check the tires before renting the bike or scooter. You need to check the following things regarding the tires.

  • Tire pressure: Even a beginner can judge the tire pressure by palpating the tire superficially with fingers. A tire with perfect tire pressure seems full even when you sit on the bike. However, a tire with low pressure can be indicated by turning the handle during the ride. Doing this will elicit instability if there is a defect in tire pressure.
  • Tread: Treads in the tires are the grooves in the tire that ensure its firmness and stability. You can check the treads using a coin. Avoid renting a bike if the treads are bald or warn down.
  • Cracks, cuts and foreign bodies are common in old tires. Thus, look for them and avoid a bike with any such signs.
  • The bulged tire will do you no good; thus, avoid it at any cost.
Correct tire pressure and tread contact
Good tire inflation chart
Examples of tires has to be replaced

Lights

Isn’t it scary to think of travelling between the vehicles with no lights at night? They increase the chance of accidents triple-fold. In Phuket, you’ll find bikes with well-maintained and working lights compared to other parts of Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Even a cloudy day, during the night can be too dark to drive without the vehicle lights turned on in Thailand. Thus, the working lights are necessary to protect yourself and others from unpleasant incidents.

You should check the front lights and ensure that low beam, high beam, turning indicators, stop and rear, thus all lights are properly working.

You may ask the company to repair lights if you detect light issues. However, electrical harness is at fault if a company is unable to repair lights. Newer scooters have lesser light problems as they possess LED lights.

Horn

You’ll not be using the horn very often in Thailand, as Thai people are much calmer than those in Indonesia or Vietnam. Nonetheless, what will you do if you see a loaded pickup reversing the vehicle when he can’t see you through mirrors? In such a case, it’s necessary to indicate him using the horn of your bike. And that’s why you should check if the bike has a prominent, loud and continuously recognizable sound.

Beware not to use the horn unnecessarily and often to save others from inconvenience. Use it gently only when it is essential to communicate or warn.

Straight Frame

To ensure your protection during the post-rental journey, you should check if the bike’s frame is straight. Sometimes the motorcycles or scooters go through an accident that distorts their body such that they should never be on the road ever again.

You’ll get to know about the fault in the frame of the bike as soon as you put it on the road for the test ride. A motorcycle with faulted structure will lean towards a side rather than running straight on the road. Such a bike will continuously keep you pulling towards the side of the road. You’ll have an unsteady feel when applying brakes or cornering the motorcycle.

You can recognize the following indications in the bike after a serious accident:

  • Bikes are usually tuned with cheap spare parts following a severe accident.
  • One can frequently find unevenly fitted or protruded parts in the vehicle after an accident. They may be present in the form of finger-thick gaps between different parts. Minor mismatches are acceptable in the case of older bikes and scooters.
  • It’s a big red flag if the vehicle tilts more to one side when you drive, corner, or apply the brakes. Never consider a vehicle with such an issue.

Most of the time, you won’t find any significant difference in the working of a bike with a bent frame until you don’t apply brake or corner the vehicle. You should keep it in mind while going for the test drive.

Suspension and Handlebar

It’s a big no if the bike or scooter dips down too quickly; it indicates that the shocks are shot. You can analyze it by sitting on the bike and thrusting your weight back and down. Don’t choose a bike that dips down quickly towards the back when you do so.

You may also look at the front fork seals to indicate any suspension or handlebar issue. It is not good if oil on two rubber pieces encircles the rod that connects handlebars to the wheel. It is so because the shocks are crucial in handling of bike besides providing a comfortable ride.

Unlike the common misconception that doesn’t favour stiff or rigid suspension, the suspensions must be ideally hard and challenging. A hard and rigid suspension refers to the shock-absorbing capacity of the bike, while a lax suspension raises serious questions on this feature.

The handlebar should be intact but ensure that it doesn’t lock itself in any direction, making the sudden turning almost impossible. If the handlebar gets adjusted in an abnormal position after an accident, it becomes hard to drive at low speeds and in busy places.

Leaking suspension fork

Engine

The quality of the ride depends on the vehicle’s engine more than anything else.

The engine should start working easily and quickly. It generally takes 3 seconds on a scooter and a little longer on a motorbike. However, a long lapse between the starting time may indicate some underlying issues.

Well, it won’t be misleading to say that the engine speaks to you. Yes, its sound tells a lot about its functioning and maintenance. Think twice if the engine doesn’t hum regularly or throttle when on the stop or idle.

When analyzing the engine’s scooter, accelerate it from zero and check if it’s free of jerks, smooth, and doesn’t produce any metallic sounds. If you find these three features, the engine is fine. Report to Rental Company if you feel that the engine roars when climbing uphill, i.e., when climbing to the Big Buddha. The driving belt is usually wearing off in such a case, and it requires around three days in the workshop if it breaks down.

Additional Checks for Motorbike before Rent:

Clutch

Deeply observe the functioning of the clutch while you’re on the test ride. The lever of the clutch should neither be too firm nor too lax. One must be able to operate it easily and comfortably. It is a serious concern if the clutch produces any metallic sound when you press it.

 It should be convenient to hold the clutch at 1/3 of the total distance from the lever of the clutch.

Beware that the clutch should not slip when you fully release the lever with the gear engaged. It’s also a drawback if the clutch pulls the motorbike strongly when fully pushed. It might happen with a slight pull in some motorbikes.

Chain and Sprockets

Abnormal chain fitting can make your bike break down midway, whether it’s too tight or too loose. When you sit on the bike, they should move around two fingers width up and down from the midpoint. However, it can be four fingers away from the midpoint when riding through the dirt or mud.

Sprockets should hold the chain firmly so that it’s not easy to be pulled off. The sprocket should not have pointed or bent teeth as it may affect the adherence of the chain.

The chain should be adequately cleaned up and lubricated to avoid extra friction and erosion.

Signs of wear on chain and sprockets

Gearbox

You must check if the gear lever is firmly installed as it will cause great inconvenience if it falls off while driving. Ensure that the gearbox works moves gradually and returns to the centre position. It should be easy to switch gears instantly without facing some great trouble.

It is customary in some bikes to face difficulty shifting gear to the neutral position. However, it requires your skill to move it to the neutral. It should be easy to shift the gear with the engine on or off. Remember that when some motorcycles turn off the ignition, you need to put the gear in with the foot of the bike unfolded.

Summary

This article explains how you need to check everything about a motorbike or scooter before renting it. Even a minor defect will lead you to a great inconvenience during the journey, especially when you’re far away from the workshop. In conclusion, you need to keep the following points in mind before renting a motorbike or scooter in Thailand.

  • Keep your driving license, travel insurance, and other necessary documents with you while renting the vehicle and throughout the journey with that vehicle.
  • Ensure that you keep all the documents acquired from the rental company with you, i.e., rental agreement, tax/compulsory insurance sticker, papers from motorbike, general visual check, and the photos you took before renting. The company doesn’t unnecessarily charge you for the damage that was present before.
  • Do a test ride and go for a bike only if comfortable. Please don’t feel shy in asking for different bikes since you are the one who’s paying for them.
  • Although it’s necessary to check all the bike’s features, especially check and double-check brakes to see if they work fine.

That being said, we’d love to have you check our offers. We keep well-serviced bikes and your safety, and the protection of your time and money is our priority. So if you wish to spend your vacations with full energy and in a stress-free mode, get in contact now!

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