Winterize Your Motorcycle
As the cold weather creeps upon us, make sure your ride is prepared by following these simple steps!
If you live above the Mason-Dixon line, there’s a good chance you will soon find yourself needing to winterize your motorcycle, if you haven’t already. Florida bikers, you can stop reading here. (Just kidding. Kinda.)
Depending on the age and location of the bike (and the rider, for that matter) winterization procedures can vary wildly from place to place.
However, there are 6 common areas that are a good idea to address no matter what type of bike you ride.
- Battery – If you’re not going to keep your battery indoors for the winter, you should invest in a battery tender -- sometimes called a trickle charger. If you forget to do either of these two things, you could end up with a dead battery when you’re ready to ride in the springtime.
- Fuel – Make sure you’ve got a full tank before you store your bike. You might want to also add a small amount of fuel stabilizer, just as you would with a lawnmower or other gas-powered machine. If you’re riding an older bike (generally 10+ years) you will also need to drain the fuel lines & carburetor. If you have a fuel petcock, make sure this is turned to the OFF position to avoid leaking fuel while in storage.
- Oil – Change your oil and filter. Old oil can gunk up and harden in a bike engine over the winter. The last thing you want is to get excited to ride once it warms up, only to find the bike won’t start because you forgot to change the oil.
- Tires – Make sure both tires are filled to the max recommended air pressure. While you’re at it, get a motorcycle jack or a piece of plywood large enough to park on. If the bike is left directly on frozen ground for extended periods of time, you may find your tires have developed flat spots which can affect your ride performance.
- Exterior – Clean off all traces of dirt and dust and wax the painted exterior panels if you can. Once this is complete, some bikers swear by a thin coating of WD-40 over the entire motorcycle which forms a protective shield and warding off rust & corrosion.
- Location – Lastly, decide where you will store your motorcycle! The more protection, the better e.g. inside a garage or sturdy shed. If you don’t have access to a garage, inquire with your local dealership or storage facility. Otherwise, drape your bike with a fitted cover or waterproof sheet and store it underneath a canopy or overhang.
Follow all these tips and you are sure to have a well-running bike come spring!