We all wanted to be that cool kid, the one with the motorcycle. Then we grew up, and some of us actually got motorcycles. One of the best ways to ruin that image you created for yourself in buying the motorcycle is by letting your motorcycle fall apart. You ride, as the cool kid, all through the summer. Then fall falls, and you slip right back into being “uncool” because you don’t know how to winterize your motorcycle. Then you found this article! You became legit, too legit to quit, and it’s all because you have 11 tips to winterize and store your motorcycle.
1: Take Your Motorcycle for a Ride
This helps warm the engine and the many of the parts that will need to be lubricated. This also helps you get a feel for how your bike rides and any repairs it might need. Plus, it’s really fun because, let’s be honest, you’re riding a motorcycle.
2: Fuel Up
Fill up your motorcycle with fuel. This helps prevents moisture from being in your fuel tanks because it is already filled with fuel and fuel vapors. If water gets in your tank, it could lead to rust, corrosion, or if you store your motorcycle outside, cracked engine parts due to water expansion. You don’t want that.
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3: Use Fuel Stabilizer
The next step to winterizing your motorcycle is to open up your fuel tank and pour in a fuel stabilizer. Run your engine for just a moment to circulate the treated fuel through the system. This treats the gasoline, which more likely than not, has ethanol. Ethanol likes to separate into its component parts when left to sit for a while. Treating the fuel in your motorcycle helps the fuel stay together and it makes it easier to start up your engine again.
4: Lube the Bike
After warming up your motorcycle, clean the motorcycle chain and any other pivot points. Then use a spray lubricant to lubricate the chain rotating the wheel to expose new chain to the lubricant. Repeat this until the entire chain has been lubricated.
5: Wash and Wax Your Bike
Gently spray and wash your motorcycle with an appropriate soap so it’s ready for storage. Avoid getting water inside the motorcycle’s exhaust or the air cleaner housing. Moisture leads to rust and corrosion, so make sure you dry thoroughly. Add a coat of wax to protect against moisture, and spray all metal surfaces with a light coat of WD-40.
6: Tire Prep
Put cardboard under your tires in order to insulate them from the cold ground. You can also suspend your tires (or just your back tire) in order to prevent any flat spots. If you don’t have the gear to suspend the tires, then you can roll your tires every few weeks.
7: Fog the Engine
Only do this if you don’t plan on using your motorcycle for more than 6 months. Unscrew the spark plug, and spray some engine fog into the cylinders. Make sure that it covers the inside of the engine to prevent rust and corrosion.
8: Change the Oil and Filter
Remove the oil dipstick (or check the oil sight) and look at your oil levels. Also check for milkiness or excessive metal flakes in the oil. If either occur, notify your mechanic. Next, place a drain pan under the drain plug beneath the bike and begin to unscrew the drain plug screw (make sure it is in fact the drain plug screw). Let the bike empty of all the oil until no oil is trickling out. For bikes with internal filters, locate the oil filter and unscrew the access plate. For external filters, simply unscrew the filter. At this point, replace the sealing O-ring on the drain plug screw. Once you have cleaned the sealing surface of excess oil or any left-over O-rings, screw the new filter on. Replace drain plug screw and fill bike with oil.
9: Cover your Motorcycle
Put a sturdy cover on your motorcycle, and plug your exhaust. This prevents the motorcycle from being covered with dust (if it’s inside) or snow (if it’s outside). It also stops little rodents from making a winter home in your two wheel travel device (motorcycle). When Spring comes, it’s just a matter of taking the cover off.
10: Disconnect the Battery
Locate the battery (generally under the seat) and make sure it is at a full charge. Then begin by disconnecting the negative wire first. After that, disconnect the positive wire and slowly pull out the battery. You’ll want to store the battery in a cool place with no moisture. It is recommended to keep your battery on a trickle charger in order to prevent the battery from dying.
11: Find Storage
Store your motorcycle in an accessible place that is the least exposed to the elements. Some people store it in their backyard, others store it in their Neighbor’s backyard. You just want to make sure that your motorcycle is protected and will not degrade, rust, corrode or just fall apart during the winter.
How does it feel being the “cool kid” again? It’s pretty nice, right? Of course it is. You’re riding a motorcycle. You’ve successfully protected and cared for your motorcycle through the winter, and now that spring has sprung, you’ve busted out the leather jacket, hardcore sunglasses and the spike studded belt. You ride down the road, passing the little children selling lemonade on the street. They look up at you in awe. You salute them and ride off smiling. Yeah, you are pretty cool, and it’s all because you had 11 tips on how to winterize and store your motorcycle.