f you are anything like most other motorcycle owners, you love, value, and care for your motorcycle as if it’s a part of your family and its upkeep is essential to you.
A motorcycle can be a dangerous machine that holds hefty repair costs if not cared for properly; that’s why correctly storing your motorcycle for winter is crucial to your safety and your wallet. Here’s what to do to ensure your bike stays in good health throughout the frigid winter months.
Clean your motorcycle
It’s always nice to wash, wax, and see your bike shine, but you may not know it is essential to clean it before putting it in storage.
Any dirt, bugs, or muck left on your bike from your summer rides will be nearly impossible to clean off after sitting in the garage. Dirt stuck inside your wheel wells, brakes, and other components will become increasingly hard to remove once you are ready to get your bike on the road again. Additionally, your paint job could become damaged by leaving it dirty for such an extended time.
Lubricate any moving parts
When any vehicle sits for months at a time, you should always lubricate all of its moving parts thoroughly.
Use a lubricant like WD-40 and oil up the chains, cables, and controls. Remove the spark plugs and put oil into the holes. Spray the underside of the chassis, the fork seals, fork lowers, and hoses.
Make sure all moving parts are oiled up to ensure you don’t come back to a rickety-rust mobile.
Change your oil and filter
This one might seem obvious to some, but be sure to change your oil and oil filter. Dirty oil is like poison to a vehicle, and having that greasy, black sludge sit inside your motorcycle for months will deteriorate its insides.
When purchasing oil, make sure to choose one that can withstand cold temperatures without needing to be cycled.
Fill the gas tank or empty it
You have two options here; you can either fill your tank and add a fuel stabilizer or empty your tank and coat it with a fuel tank sealer.
Leaving fuel in the tank can lead to corrosion, gum varnish, carbon deposits, and pricey repairs to your carburetor or fuel injection system. Leaving your tank empty, on the other hand, can lead to rust caused by condensation.
Using a stabilizer or tank sealant when filling or emptying the fuel tank is the most vital part of the process.
Keep your battery charged
You can either remove the battery and place it on a trickle charger for the winter or keep it on and start your motorcycle up every few weeks to keep it charged.
If you have a lead-acid battery with screw-on tops, be sure to check battery acid levels to avoid a short between the internal plates.
You should store your battery in a warm place and keep it charged up. There are battery tender systems that can maintain your battery life if you plan to remove it.
Prep the tires
Cold air lowers your tire pressure, so fill your tires and give them a bit extra air to keep them from going flat over winter. Having a flat for an extended period of time will destroy your tire. Flat tires in the cold can become stiff, brittle, and even crack, and once you pump your tires back up, that flat spot may not go away, which is especially dangerous for a motorcycle.
It would be best if you also tried elevating your motorcycle as a way to keep its weight off of the tires. Even full tires can suffer from those flat spots when sitting for too long.
Plug the exhaust
The final steps to take for storing your bike are pretty simple.
Plug your exhaust with a cloth to keep rodents out. Make sure you leave no holes because mice are relentless when looking for a warm place to hunker down.
Some people also place mothballs around their bike as a rodent deterrent.
Cover your motorcycle
Lastly, you will want to find a good cover for your motorcycle (preferably not plastic).
Covering your bike for the winter keeps it protected from rodents, condensation, and abrasive dust.
Choosing a well-fitted-custom cover will provide the most protection.