How to Keep Your Motorcycle Maintained During Winter Storage
Over the winter months, while your motorcycle may be getting far less use, safe storage can be an issue.
Not only do you want your motorcycle to be secure, but you will also want it to be protected from harsh, cold conditions.
So what is the best way to ensure peace of mind while the bike is out of action? Following these steps will certainly help.
Here’s how to keep your motorcycle maintained during the long winter storage months.
1. Thoroughly clean the motorcycle before putting it into storage
It is not enough to wheel your motorcycle into the garage, (maybe attach the wheel chock) and then leave it in the corner for the next 3 months.
You should ensure that the surfaces of the bike are thoroughly cleaned throughout. Over the cold months, any debris, mud, and dead flies encased on the bodywork will fuse there, making cleaning come spring a lot more difficult.
Furthermore, dried mud can result in damage to paintwork and can lead to corrosion. Cleaning the bike before storage will reduce the risk of this.
2. Remove the battery
If you know that the bike will be in storage for multiple months, remove the battery and attach it to a trickle charger.
This will ensure it remains in good condition and doesn’t go flat. Your garage will vary in temperature in the winter during the night, day, and more extreme colds; all of which are not good for the battery.
If you decide to keep the battery in place you will need to turn on the motorcycle periodically (at least once a month) to ensure it stays charged.
3. Lubricate moving parts of the motorcycle
Lubricating moving parts of the motorcycle with a thin coat of oil will help prevent moisture buildup while the bike is in storage.
As we all know, moisture left unchecked can cause components to rust and shorten their life span.
Oil the chain and cables, brakes, and of course the motor.
One trick to avoid potential seizure of the motor over the winter is to remove the spark plugs and pour a tablespoon of oil into the holes.
You can then spread a layer of oil on the inside of the cylinders by spinning the rear wheel with the bike in gear. Put back the plugs and know that everything inside is now well lubricated.
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4. Install muffler plugs
Any entrances to components of the motorcycle should be plugged so that bugs and rodents cannot make their way in.
These little openings make for tempting nesting spots and the damage caused can be quite extreme.
Muffler plugs in the air intake and exhaust pipes are, therefore, an important precaution to make.
If you don’t have muffler plugs a makeshift solution with plastic bags and gaffer tape can work just as well.
5. Give the motorcycle an oil change and replace the filter
Putting your motorcycle into storage for the winter is a good reason to give it a small service. If you haven’t done so in a while, use this as a chance to give the bike an oil change and replace the filter.
Old oil can end up damaging the bike when left for months without turning over.
It is a good idea to purchase oil with a lower freezing point, especially if you live in an area that experiences sub-zero temperatures in the winter.
Adding anti-freeze into the coolant system is also an important step.
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6. Protect the tires
If at all possible, storing the bike with the weight off the tires is recommended. This will avoid flat spots and moisture potentially weakening the surface of the tires.
Motorcycle stands are the best way to achieve this.
If you do not have a stand, finding a way to lift the motorcycle up off the ground so that the tires are not holding the frame weight all winter long is a worthwhile endeavor.
At the very least, if one wheel is jacked up and then you rotate so that weight shifts to the other wheel every few weeks, you will preserve the longevity of the tires.
Also, make sure the tires are pumped to the correct PSI and remain that way during the months of storage.
7. Ensure the gas tank is full
Finally, filling the tank before placing your motorcycle into storage is also a smart move.
This will ensure that the inner tank walls are lubricated throughout the months the bike is out of action.
If you plan on using a fuel stabilizer you will need to add this into the tank and then ride for at least a few miles in order for the stabilizer to flow into the system.
Once you have done this, top the tank back up and she will be ready to store.