Most motorcycles perform best when they’re used regularly, the most effective way of preparing your bike for winter is to simply keep riding it. But most of us don’t live in a climate that allows a 365-day riding year. So, unfortunately, we need to prepare our rides for some period of winter storage. Here are some tips to help you winterize your bike and make sure it’s ready in the spring.
- Think about where you can store your motorcycle. Storing it indoors, particularly in a heated garage, can help. Call around to some local dealers and ask about storage, or see if you can “rent” some space from a friend or family member. Try to avoid storing it outside during the blustery, snowy winter.
- Take your bike out for one last ride. This is the most important part. Make a half-day of it, and enjoy it because you won’t be riding again until spring.
- Top off your tank with fresh gas before you get home. Once you get home, the real work starts.
- Add the suggested amount of fuel stabilizer, start the motorcycle, and let the stabilizer cycle through. This ensures that the stabilizer mixes with all the fuel in the fuel system and engine. Solids, or gels, form when gasoline goes stale and can damage your engine. Products like Sea-foam or Sta-Bil will help prevent this from occurring.
- Change the oil and oil filter.
- Check the air filter and clean or replace it.
- Check your brake pads, tires, and belt or chain for wear. Make a note if you need to replace them over the winter.
- Hook your battery up to a trickle charger. For the longest time, I was using the full Battery Tender but then a guy at the battery store told me that for a none dead battery a Battery Tender Jr. will be fine and it’s half the price. Experts note keeping it charged will help extend the life of the battery.
- Check the pressure in both tires to make sure they’re filled to the proper level.
- Wash your motorcycle well, making sure to scrub all the bugs, dirt, and road grime off. Wax the paint and chrome, leaving a thick coat of wax on the motorcycle. It adds a layer of protection from bugs, dust, and dirt while it sits in storage.
- Put a leather protector on your leather seat and any other leather parts of your bike. If you have saddlebags or any other leather components that come off, store those in your home for the winter.
- Close off any openings with tape or stuff them with a cloth or old shirt to keep critters out.
I don’t cover my bike; I’ve heard stories about folks that have covered their bikes in the winter and come back in the spring to a bike that won’t start because a rodent looking for a warm spot decides to nest under the cover and chew on some wiring.
Also, make sure you check your owner’s manual for tips on winterizing and storing your motorcycle, there may be some recommendations that would have never occurred to you.
Ride or Die,