Store Your Motorcycle for the Winter
Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Lynn, Eng
Did winter weather trash your motorcycles last year? Are you afraid of not being able to ride your motorcycle after the cold season? Fret not, as this step by step guide will help you properly get your bike into storage for safekeeping. How you store your bike will determine the amount of damage from corrosion and rust from inactivity it will sustain. In this guide, we will assume that you will store your bike for an extended amount of time, perhaps more than a month at least.
Things you will need
Anti-Winter Bike Essentials
Fuel-feed your bike
This step requires you to fill your tank with fresh fuel and then add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer. Adding the right stabilizer will keep the gas inside the tank from deteriorating and leaving a murky brown layer of paste in your carburetor's parts. Turn the motor on and let it run for about five minutes so the fuel can cycle thoroughly.
Remove old oil
As you know, any vehicle's fuel overtime turns from a fresh fluid into a dirty black muck. Some riders leave this behind and allow it to remain inside the machine just to save some cash. However, the contaminants of old oil can gradually corrode engine parts and damage everything over the course of months, and even more during the winter when the bike is stationary. Change the oil and filter plug before storing your bike to avoid a sticky situation during unpacking.
Before putting your bike in storage, remember to double-check the clutch, brake and coolant fluids as recommended by the bike's manufacturer. Better yet, drain all the fluids from your motorcycle completely and then refill them when you're ready to use it again or after the winter has passed.
Check the tires
Storing your bike with the tires off the ground is a great idea because taking the weight off the wheels is an ideal way to avoid any flat spots or uneven wear to your motorcycle later on. However, don't fret if you don't have that setup. Simply fill your tires to the maximum recommended level and place the bike on its center stand. Also rotate the front tire at least once a week to avoid any flat spots from occurring.
Conserve battery charge
Many motorcycles naturally experience slight battery discharge even after the ignition is off. This is because of the motorcycle's system requirements, like radio presets and the clock. Removed the battery from your bike and trickle charge it all throughout winter. Or if that's not your thing, simply leave a fully-charged battery inside your bike. If you chose non-removal, remember to charge the battery at least once a month while it's not in use.
Rust off and wax your bike
Moisture is the number one enemy of motorcycle metal, as it causes it to rust gradually away. Extended periods of storage can take their toll on your bike's internal and external metal works. To avoid this, thoroughly wash, dry and wax your ride before you put it away for the winter. For further protection, spray your exhaust pipes with WD-40 to keep rust and moisture away. You can also stuff a clean towel or even crumpled plastic bags into the exhaust and intake pipes to keep critters and water out. Just remember to remove it before you use the bike.
Choose where to place your bike
The sun can cause paint peeling or fading and damage leather parts of your bike, so if you have a window inside your garage, try to park your ride in a dark, cool corner. To enhance protection, put on a fitted and breathable cover that will prevent scratches and dings, along with protecting your motorcycle from grime, dust and moisture.
Tips, Tricks and Warning
- Ever wonder what WD stands for in WD-40? It's water displacement! :)
- Lube all cables, following the owner's manuals.
- Remove spark plugs and spray a little oil in all cylinders. Rotate the engine for about one or two revolutions and then replace plugs.
- Spray disks with fogging oil.
- Refrain from storing your bike near flame sources such as a water heater.
If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.