4 Most-Common Problems With Honda Silver Wing

The Honda Silver Wing is a maxi-scooter—a modest-sized scooter with a big ol’ 582 cc motor tucked between its legs.

The Silver Wing is a scooter that’s comfortable enough to ride long distances with a windshield fairing and enough space and storage to accommodate a legitimate tour.

The Silver Wing has been on the block since 2001, and we decided to dig up the dirt and bring you the most common problems real-life Silver Wing owners have aired out about these roomy little rippers.

1. Trunk Light Drains Battery

One of the most common problems among Silver Wing riders was with the scooter’s trunk light.

The Silver Wing has a luggage trunk on the scooter’s rear, and the trunk is equipped with a light to make the bike visible from the back. 

A sensor under the Silver Wing’s seat signals the light to the trunk when the seat is opened to make the rider and scooter more visible when the person is digging around in the under-seat storage compartment.

The trunk light illuminates even if the Silver Wing isn’t running as long as the trunk or seat storage is opened up; if the rider leaves the trunk or seat compartment opened, the light will stay on, potentially draining the battery.

The problem is often considered to be the rider’s responsibility to be mindful of. Still, more than a few riders I encountered during my investigation claimed that the seat compartment in early Silver Wing models had a malfunction preventing the seat from closing all the way. 

Here are a few real-life examples of Honda SilverWing owners who shared their experiences in troubleshooting the issue:

  1. One Silver Wing owner theorized that battery cables stopped the seat from closing all the way, keeping the trunk light on and draining the battery. He prevented the battery from draining while the bike was off by hooking up a 12v trickle charger when his scooter sat.

  2. Another Silver Wing rider shared some insightful info. She claimed a light with a manual cut-off switch intended for use in the Acura Integra fit in the Silver Wing with minimal modification required. You pop out the Silver Wing’s old part from under the seat, unplug the harness from the old light, and plug in the new component. Plug the light back into the hole you took it out of, and you can turn the light on and off manually even when the seat pops open. That said, don’t forget to switch it off when you’re done digging around in your luggage, or the installation was pointless.

  3. Another rider solved the problem by changing out the Silver Wing’s stock trunk light with an LED that puts significantly less drainage on the battery. That way, if the trunk is left open, the more-practical LED lights don’t drain the battery to the point of death unless the scooter sits for an extended period. 

  4. Finally, another Silver Wing enthusiast I encountered combined the best of all the solutions listed above. He not only fit an LED bulb in his trunk light that used less battery juice, but he also fitted the bulb with an on and off switch. That way, he can flick the light off when he closes his seat regardless of whether the sensor registers the seat as closed; if he forgets, the LED bulb doesn’t draw enough energy from the battery to drain it, even if he leaves it overnight. 

There you have it—even if you’re the owner of an older model Silver Wing, there are multiple ways around the battery-draining trunk light situation.  

Now, I haven’t been able to find confirmation from Honda on whether the seat on the early Silver Wing models had a malfunction that prevented it from closing or if it was a user error. Maybe there just wasn’t clear enough indication to the riders of whether the seat was closed completely. 

Regardless, you might be reading this after your battery is already dead. 

If that’s the case for you, in addition to the preventative measures suggested above, you’ll have to replace your scooter’s battery.

How to replace the battery on a Honda Silver Wing: 

  1. the battery is in the battery box below the seat.
  2. open the seat
  3. remove the screw
  4. remove the battery cover
  5. disconnect the negative terminal lead from the battery first
  6. disconnect the positive terminal lead
  7. pull the battery out of the battery box.
  8. install a new Honda-recommended battery for the Silver Wing by following instructions on the battery’s packaging.

Related: How Long Do Honda CBR 1100XX Blackbirds Last? 8 Examples

2. Corrosion Causes Tires to Deflate 

This problem isn’t nearly as widespread as the issue mentioned above, nor is it as frequently discussed; we thought we’d share the experience of a few other Silver Wing riders in case there are scooter cruisers out there experiencing similar issues. 

A few Silver Wing riders we encountered noticed that the air pressure in their tires was deflating faster than usual. 

These confused Honda scooter owners investigated their tires only to find no punctures or issues with their Silver Wing’s valve stems.  

Before diagnosing the issue, one rider specified that they had to top off their tire’s air pressure as frequently as once a week, a clear indicator of an air leak. 

Finally, this lone Silver Winger got frustrated enough to change the tires regardless of how much life the tread had left, if for no other reason to see if the situation improved. 

At the tire shop, the mechanics told the Silver Wing owner that the insufficient tire pressure resulted from corrosion inside the wheel, allowing air to escape through the rim. 

So what was the solution?

The mechanic cleaned the corrosion off as best as possible, and powder coated the wheel to prevent an air leak from happening to the new tires. 

Again, this isn’t a widespread complaint about the Silver Wing, but we’ve seen it in a few places and felt it was our responsibility to share their relevant troubleshooting tips in this article.

Related: 4 Most Common Problems With Honda Gold Wing

3. Leaking Fuel Tank (2003 Year Models, Solved Via Recall)

There was cause for alarm among owners of the early Silver Wing models as the tanks on over 2,000 Honda maxi-scooters were leaking fuel. 

In 2003, Honda issued this recall statement concerning the Honda Silver Wing’s fuel-leak issue: 

2003 Honda Silver Wing Fuel System, Gasoline Recall 04V163000
Action Number: N/A
Service Bulletin Number: 04V163000
Report Date: Apr 12, 2004
Component: Fuel System, Gasoline
Potential Units Affected: 2497
Manufacturer: Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)
Summary: On certain scooters, some fuel tanks were improperly manufactured and do not meet material strength specifications.
Consequence: Engine vibration or riding on bumpy roads could cause these tanks to crack and leak. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, can result in a fire.
Remedy: Dealers will perform an inspection procedure that identifies defective fuel tanks. If the fuel tank fails the inspection, the dealer will replace it with an updated fuel tank. Owner notification began on April 16, 2004. Owners should contact honda at 1-866-784-1870.
Notes: Honda recall no. P26. Customers can also contact the national highway traffic safety administration’s auto safety hotline at 1-888-dash-2-dot (1-888-327-4236).

Source: https://www.automd.com/recall/honda_m/silver-wing_mm/

So there you have it. If you’re the owner of a 2003 Honda Silver Wing scooter and you’ve been experiencing fuel leaks, chances are you or the previous owner missed the recall, and you are eligible for a new tank on the house at Honda.

4. Handlebars Loosen and Detach (2002-2003 Year Models, Solved Via Recall)

Here’s another bullet dodged by Honda via recall—the gap between the lower handlebar clamp and the handlebar holder was excessive enough to let the handlebars loosen from vibration. 

The issue was widespread from the start, hitting almost 5,000 2002 models. 

The first recall notice looked like this:

2002 Honda Silver Wing Steering Recall 03V513000

Action Number: N/A
Service Bulletin Number: 03V513000
Report Date: Dec 10, 2003Component: Steering
Potential Units Affected: 4997
Manufacturer: American Honda Motor Co.
Summary: On certain scooters, excessive clearance between the lower handlebar clamp and handlebar holder creates stress that can eventually cause the handlebar to loosen or detach.
Consequence: This could result in a loss of steering control, which could lead to a crash.
Remedy: Dealers will install two lower handlebar clamps, add washers between the lower clamps and handlebar holder, and install new locknuts. Owner notification began on december 11, 2003. Owners should contact honda at 1-866-784-1870.
Notes: Customers can also contact the national highway traffic safety administration’s auto safety hotline at 1-888-dash-2-dot (1-888-327-4236).
Source: https://www.automd.com/recall/honda_m/silver-wing_mm/

4,997 Silver Wings, that’s a lot of scooters. And it didn’t stop there. I dug up a second recall notice, identical to the 2002 announcement; this time, it was regarding the 2003 year model Silver Wing:

 

2003 Honda Silver Wing Steering Recall 03V513000
Action Number: N/A
Service Bulletin Number: 03V513000
Report Date: Dec 10, 2003Component: Steering
Potential Units Affected: 4997
Manufacturer: American Honda Motor Co.
Summary: On certain scooters, excessive clearance between the lower handlebar clamp and handlebar holder creates stress that can eventually cause the handlebar to loosen or detach.
Consequence: This could result in a loss of steering control, which could lead to a crash.
Remedy: Dealers will install two lower handlebar clamps, add washers between the lower clamps and handlebar holder, and install new locknuts. Owner notification began on december 11, 2003. Owners should contact honda at 1-866-784-1870.
Notes: Customers can also contact the national highway traffic safety administration’s auto safety hotline at 1-888-dash-2-dot (1-888-327-4236).
Source: https://www.automd.com/recall/honda_m/silver-wing_mm/

Sound familiar? As it turns out, Honda used the same clamp and handlebar holder in both years. I could not find out if the 4,997 models mentioned in both notices are the same or if the number doubled; the production dates were the same, so it seems like they’re talking about the same 5,000 bikes.

Either way, losing the ability to steer on any vehicle is no joke, especially on a two-wheeler. If you own a 2002 or 2003 year model Honda Silver Wing and you’re experiencing loss of steering, take it into a Honda dealership near you for a free upgrade before your bars detach entirely.

Related: 6 Most-Common Problems With Honda Valkyrie (Examples)

General Pros and Cons for Honda Silver Wing

Here are some pros and cons of the Honda Silver Wing:

Pros

Here are some selling points of the Honda Silver Wing scooter:

  • Powerful, reliable 582cc engine with continuously variable transmission
  • Significant space for rider and passenger
  • Comfortable and ergonomic
  • ABS and special features

Cons

Here are some downsides of the Honda Silver Wing:

  • Trunk Light Drains Battery
  • Corrosion Causes Tires to Deflate 
  • Fuel System Failure (2003 Year Models, Solved Via Recall) 
  • Handlebars Loosen and Detach (2002-2003 Year Models, Solved Vis Recall)

What Do the Reviews Say?

… where most scooters are almost novelty purchases for zipping around the neighborhood, you can actually tour on the Silver Wing with or without the SO. And as a commuter/urban runabout, well, if you live in a warm/dry climate, like L.A., you could really get away with the ’Wing as an only vehicle. Keeping ahead of the traffic wave is no problem for the 582cc fuel-injected Twin, and Honda’s V-Matic transmission puts the power to the pavement with zero fuss. It’ll flash right up to an indicated 100 mph and feels stable enough doing it, though the windshield at that speed flaps alarmingly, like a possessed doggie door.

Source: https://www.cycleworld.com/2012/07/10/honda-silver-wing-riding-impression/

What’s the Resale Value on a Honda Silver Wing?

Year Mileage Price
2004 1,519 $4,999
2005 29,877 $4,790
2009 40,593 $4,100
2009 10,563 $3,995
2011 21,276 $5,000

Sources

Honda Silver Wing Recalls | automd.com

Honda Silver Wing – Riding Impression | cycleword.com

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike
Great!

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)