Prep Your Bike for Winter Weather
Soon, the always dreaded but inevitable season is coming…winter. Since trudging through the snow on your motorcycle isn’t the most practical way to get around, it’s important to store it properly during the cold season.
Maintaining your bike while you’re not riding it is just as important as when you are. If not done correctly, come spring when you pull out your motorcycle and dust off the seat, you might be met with flat spots in your tires, fluid that turned to paste and weird-smelling exhaust. Don’t give your bike the cold shoulder. Instead, use these seven tips to properly prepare your motorcycle for the winter.
TOP OFF THE TANK
Before storing your motorcycle, put some fresh fuel in the tank. Then add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer to keep the gas from deteriorating and to avoid leaving a brown layer of grime on your carburetor. Turn your bike on and let it run long enough for the treated fuel to cycle through.
FILL YOUR FLUIDS
When it comes to your bike’s fluids, you have two options. You can either drain the brake, clutch and coolant fluids entirely for the winter and refill them when you’re ready to ride in the spring. Or, you can double-check them and refill if necessary before you put your bike away for the season. If you go this route, be sure you use the type and amount of fluid recommended by your motorcycle’s riding manual. Also, be sure to check your bike’s antifreeze levels to prevent the engine from freezing while in storage. Lube up the throttle, kickstand, shifter and clutch cables to prevent moisture accumulation and rust, but avoid the tires.
GET RID OF OLD OIL
After riding your bike all season, the engine’s oil has most likely started to transition from a clean, golden fluid to thick, black muck. The contaminants in old oil corrode engine parts, which can do some serious damage to your motorcycle over time. Before you store your bike, change the oil and filter plug to avoid a sticky mess later on.
PROTECT YOUR TIRES
Ideally, you should store your bike with the tires off the ground to best avoid flat spots and uneven wear. But if that’s not possible, you’re not out of luck. Fill your tires to the maximum recommended volume and place your motorcycle on its center stand. If you really want to keep flat spots away, rotate the front tire once a week while your bike is stored.
MAINTAIN YOUR BATTERY LIFE
To maintain the life of your battery during the off-season, remove it and keep it on a trickle charger while it’s not being used. If you’d rather leave your battery in your bike, store it fully charged, then give it a charge once a month to prevent from dying. Either option could save you hours of bringing a dead battery to life when you’re ready to ride again in the spring.
WASH & WAX FOR SAFEKEEPING
Most motorcycle parts are made of metal, which means when they accumulate moisture, they’re prone to rust if left unattended for an extended period of time. Wash thoroughly, dry and wax your bike before storing it for the season to prevent corrosion and other damage. Take it a step further and spray your exhaust pipes with WD-40 to keep moisture and rust off. Consider stuffing a towel or other clean material into the intake and exhaust pipes to keep water and cold-season critters out.
STORE IT SAFELY
Store your motorcycle in a cool, dark, moisture-free and covered area. Sunlight can damage leather and cause paint to fade and cold moisture can cause parts to freeze. Consider investing in a fitted, breathable cover that will help prevent dings and scratches, dust, grime and moisture.
We’re not sure how long the cold weather will last, but we know it’s coming. Don’t wait to prep your bike before you store it for the off-season.