The frigid cold temperatures of winter have arrived, and as much as we hate to admit it, it’s time to store the motorcycle in the garage until warmer weather arrives. But this is more than just putting a cover over your motorcycle and sticking it in the garage. There are critical tasks that need to be completed to ensure your motorcycle remains in tip-top condition throughout the winter season. Here we walk through the steps on how to winterize a motorcycle.
It may seem odd to wash your bike when no one will see it for several months, but trust us, you won’t regret it. Letting bug guts, dirt, grime and water spots sit there for several months can corrode your paint permanently. Take the time to wash and dry your bike thoroughly before putting it away. Also, consider adding a coat of wax as a protective barrier against moisture and rust.
Change Motorcycle Oil & Filter
Better to have new oil sitting in your lubrication system, than old, used oil. Winter oils, like 5W-30, can be used to make your motorcycle start up better come spring. In addition, if you will be storing your motorcycle for four to six months, you will need to coat your engine’s internals with oil, as the frigid winter air can cause parts to rust.
Lube Moving Parts
You’ll also want to add lubrication to all moving parts to reduce moisture buildup and rust during the winter. Key parts of your motorcycle to lubricate include: cables, controls, chain drive, fork surfaces and other pivot points.
Prep Fuel System
When not in use, gas tanks are susceptible to rust. Untreated gas tanks often become gummy and break down over time. By filling up your tank, you can keep moisture out. Further, consider adding a fuel stabilizer before storage as an added protection.
Plug Up Pipes
Rats and mice tend to crawl inside exhaust pipes and make homes in air filters. Keep mice out by plugging your pipes. You can buy a muffler plug or you can use bright colored plastic bags. (Just remember to take them out before you start up your bike.)
Batteries can self-discharge when left to sit for long periods of time―especially when connected to your bike. To combat this, you should pull the battery from the bike while in storage.
Tires left in the same position over the winter season can develop flat spots. To keep tires from getting flat, try to keep them off the ground. Use a motorcycle stand to elevate the bike off the ground. If you don’t have a stand, rotate your tires every few weeks by rolling it back and forth. If you must leave your tires on the concrete, make sure to place carpet or plywood underneath your tires to keep moisture from seeping in.
Leaving your bike outside for several months in the winter can leave it vulnerable to theft. While a cover will keep it safe from the weather, adding a lock and chain will give you even greater peace of mind. It’s best to store your bike in a garage or some other storage facility if possible. Also, make sure to get motorcycle insurance to protect you in the event your bike is stolen.
Following these steps will ensure your motorcycle is safe through the winter and ready for riding come spring time. Wondering about motorcycle insurance in Nashville, TN? Check out this article to learn 5 ways to get affordable motorcycle insurance.