The Two-Wheeled Warrior, Part I: Repairs

Greetings from the land of scooter commuters! After two months of sitting under the carport, alone but for the spiders weaving their webs all over her, my scooter, a 2002 Kymco People 50, is finally operational again, thanks to my first-ever at-home repair!

The summer saga began when I took the Kymco out for the first time, in May. I drove it a few miles and parked it while I volunteered at my local humane society. While I was volunteering, the entire contents of the gas tank leaked out onto the pavement. The maintenance guy stood watch to make sure it didn’t burst into flames, then used his forklift to put it in the back of a pickup truck to drive me home.

(Eco-recap: gas on the ground and running into a nearby rainwater grate is absolutely not good for the earth. Neither is strapping a scooter to the bed of a half-ton pickup truck.)

The guy at the shop where I bought my scooter in 2002, which by now has 4,500 miles on the odometer, said that Kymcos of a certain age can have leaky fuel filters. I asked if I could repair it myself, and he said, “You can do anything yourself, just be sure not to strip the rubber gasket when you tighten the filter.”

Cool, I thought, I can do this myself. Except that I’d never repaired anything mechanical before, and I was intimidated by the very idea.

Until last Sunday. I downloaded the repair manual for ten bucks, got out the socket wrenches, and took pictures as I went — kind of like digital breadcrumbs, in case I got lost. I found out that the hose was cracked, not the fuel filter, and bought a replacement part at the scooter shop for another ten bucks. All in all, from start to finish, it took a grand total of about two hours, three tools (socket wrench, allen wrench, and pliers), and $20.

So, if gas prices have you considering a scooter, go for it! They get great mileage (mine gets about 80 mpg) and are simple to repair — by you or your local shop.

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