Scooters 101: Your Questions Answered

  • Post category:Scooters 101
  • Post last modified:May 13, 2023
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Motor scooters are a great way to get around or goof on over the weekend. If you’re new to the idea of scooters, I totally get the confusion. They just aren’t the norm all over the place.

The good news is that by sharing information online I get a lot of questions on the side that people are embarassed to ask! There’s no sense in being embarassed! I’m on a mission to help others get on a scooter & join me on 2 wheels of some kind!

Let’s dive into those questions.

VIN Numbers

Yes, your scooter should have a VIN number as it is a unique identifier that helps you know that it’s YOUR scooter. It also gives more information like the make, model and more in case that information is needed.

You can find the VIN on the documentation from when you purchased the scooter, in your insurance documentation, or perhaps on the scooter itself.

On my Vespa it is basically located where my toes point at it, and the same is true for my Genuine Buddy Kick (only a bit higher). On the Kymco, it’s out in the open but very discretely so under a rear panel.

➡️➡️Read more: Find your VIN, paint number and more ⬅️⬅️

Do Scooters Use Keys?

Motor scooters do have traditional keys just like you’ve likely seen for a car.

However, just like cars, there are more and more models that have key fobs that allow starting when that fob is nearby. The Yamaha XMAX and Kymco AK550 have this type of key system.

Others like the modern Vespa models have fobs, but they are more for popping the underseat storage box and finding the scooter & still use a key to start the scooter.

If a scooter has a carburetor, you can also kickstart, but yes, in general, motor scooters use keys.

Do Motor Scooters Have Batteries?

Motor scooters use gas to fuel the engine, but they also have batteries to start and such.

If you’ve seen a car battery, then you get the idea. Just on a way smaller scale. The size of a scooter battery is closer to that on an ATV, golf cart, or riding mower if that makes sense.

They are smaller, and they are generally located in a compartment under the floor board, in a compartment in the underseat storage box, or even behind a panel located behind the windshield in some cases.

I show some of that in this video on charging a battery (newbie style).

➡️ Scooters vs Motorcycles: Complete Guide

What is High Mileage for a Scooter?

If you’re looking at a used scooter, then know that this is a tricky question. Scooters can easily surpass 50,000 miles if they are maintained, and there are stories of even more miles.

Lots of people buy a scooter, and they don’t end up riding them all that much. This means that they can sit neglected for a period or even years, and vehicles just don’t like this kind of neglect.

So it helps to have some history of the scooter even if you have to use context to try to guess. I go into more detail into what to consider about the mileage of a scooter in this article.

➡️➡️ Read more: What is High Mileage for a Scooter? ⬅️⬅️

What About Titles & License Plates? How about mopeds?

Scooters are essentially a type of motorcycle, and motorcycles are a type of transportation that falls under most of the rules of traditional 4-wheeled vehicles.

Even 50cc scooters that are sometimes referred to as a moped fall under most of the rules (outside of state-specific drivers license rules at least).

Pro-tip: Mopeds are 2 wheeled transportation that stands for motorized pedals. There aren’t pedals on motor scooters, so we’re going to refer to them as scooters from here on out! 🙂


Scooters do have a title as part of the registration process when purchased, and they also receive a license plate through the same process.

If you are looking to buy a scooter, make sure it has a clear title! Scooters are stolen frequently, and if someone claims they’ve lost the title, you could very well be buying a stolen scooter. Who wants any part of that business?!

➡️➡️ Read more: Moped Titles – Don’t get burned! ⬅️⬅️

Do you Have to Wear a Helmet to Ride a Scooter?

Only 3 states in the country have a blanket rule that you can make that choice. Even in states where you see motorcycle riders, much less scooter riders without a helmet, generally have some rules – even if it is about the younger people in your state.

➡️➡️ Read more: Are Helmets Required for Scooters? ⬅️⬅️

Using a Scooter for a Motorcycle Test

I love to hear when a new rider thinks about taking a course like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course. Did you know some states allow you to essentially take your test through that course?

That’s how I got my endorsement in Texas. I spent a weekend at Awesome Cycles in Spring (around Houston). Driving an hour away for the course wasn’t fun, but I was surprised how much I learned – and they let me take the course on their scooter!

Along the same lines, you can generally use your scooter to take a motorcycle test. After all, your scooter IS a motorcycle. It’s not 100% straightforward, so read more here 🔽.

➡️➡️ Read more: Can I use a scooter for a motorcycle test? ⬅️⬅️

Scooters Don’t Like to Sit Unused

All forms of transportation prefer to be used! That sentence sounds a little silly, but it’s true! Have you seen a neglected bicycle in a garage? The chain is awful, the tires are flat, and it needs more than a good cleaning over time.

Scooters are the same. You can certainly take steps to reduce the issues by doing what is called winterizing your scooter. You would do this over winter if you won’t be riding, but you can do it anytime of year if you expect to not ride for a period.

But how long is too long? It depends, but I definitely raise my eyebrow if you plan to let your 50cc scooter sit unused for over 3 weeks without some kind of intervention!

Read more:
How long can a scooter go unused before problems happen?

Is a scooter right for you? If you have any lingering questions, I do work hard to reply to all comments I get through the email sign-up <<do that here>>.

If you’re worried about what you don’t know that you don’t know, you will want to read this guide:

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