Oil seals: Define "good."

A. J. Souza /
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How many ways can you tell if your oil seals are "good"? I am confused. Just with leaks? Can you merely "look" at them and determine their quality? I have had one old auto mechanic advise me that you should run your bike regularly so that the seals don't dry up and become brittle.

But you guys in cold climates store bikes for weeks-months during winter. The forum is full of stories of bikes long (years!) unused that start up with some cleaning and new gas and plug. So, what determines a bad oil seal? How "brittle" is "brittle"? Do you just change them if you open the engine because you're already there? Guidance, please. (The cost of a seal for an E50 engine is $6.25. That's one of the reasons I ask.)

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