How-To Guide

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle
7 Steps for Winter Storage

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle: 7 Steps for Winter Storage

"If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well."

This grandfatherly advice is spot on when it comes to winterizing your ride. As the leaves start to fall and the mornings get colder, you know it’s time to prepare your cruiser, hog, sportser, or dirt bike for the long frigid months ahead; and you want to make sure it’s done in such a way that you won’t be in for nasty surprises come springtime.

Here are some of the essential tasks to check off your list:

Clean everything
1

Clean everything

Wash the body down with a quality cleaner and soft microfiber cloth or chamois, taking care to remove any traces of bugs and grime that could compromise the finish if left on there. Use a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas like your radiator or chains. Once dry, wax the finish and chrome to protect and preserve it, and wipe leather protectant of the seat. A non-greasy lubricant on the drive chain will discourage moisture build-up and corrosion without attracting dust.


Top up the fuel system
2

Top up the fuel system

Although some riders swear by emptying the tank, we recommend filling up your tank completely so that your entire fuel system stays moist and doesn’t dry out. Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from breaking down over time and run the engine for a few minutes to make sure it properly circulates.

Note: If your bike has a carburetor, drain and clean the carb before storage and decide whether or not it makes sense to store your make and model with a wet or dry fuel system.

Change the engine oil & top up your fluids
3

Change the engine oil & top up your fluids

Getting a fresh oil change will prevent any existing tiny metal shavings, deposits and particles from settling down in the lower nooks and crannies of your engine while your bike is sitting. Make sure your coolant, brake fluid and crankcase oil are topped up.


Prevent flat spots on your tires
4

Prevent flat spots on your tires

No one wants to replace their bike tires in the spring, and even small flat spots can cause dangerous vibrations it left unchecked. Before storage, inflate your tires to the recommended psi, and thoroughly clean them to remove any stuck gravel or dirt. Then, decide which storage method will work best for you. Use motorcycle Flatstoppers to cradle the tires and preserve their natural shape, or, if you have the right set up for it, remove the tires entirely and stack them flat while propping the bike up on stand that’s appropriate for its wet weight and the length of time you will be storing it.


Take care of the battery
5

Take care of the battery

If you have a lead acid battery with screw-on cap, check the fluid level before you store it and adjust according to the battery directions. A battery tender or trickle charger does wonders to keep a battery in shape over the colder months, and if you know it’s going to be a long winter, either be prepared to charge it up entirely every month or so or consider removing it completely.


Choose an appropriate cover for your bike
6

Choose an appropriate cover for your bike

Where you store your bike will impact your choice in covers. If your bike will be in direct sunlight, choose a cover with UV protection. If it will be stored outside, waterproof or water-resistant material will be a must. If you know you have a problem with moisture, consider a cover that will provide enough space to slip in some VCIs (Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors) and look into a dehumidifier or desiccant to cut down on moisture build-up. Before putting on the cover, wipe down the exterior one last time with a lint-free microfiber cloth to get rid of any tiny particles that could scratch your bike once the cover goes on.


Defend against rodents
7

Defend against rodents!

There are a million and one ways to keep rodents out of the cozier spots on your bike, so it comes down to what flavor you prefer. The strong chemicals in mothballs and dryer sheets are unappealing to mice, and a wad of plastic bag, steel wool or a sponge in or over the exhaust discourages new tenants from moving in. Peppermint oil is also a great natural deterrent, and there are many rodent sprays on the market that will prevent those little guys from chewing apart your cables.

Although it might seem like a lot of work to do right, storing your motorcycle properly over winter will be well worth it when the snow finally melts and you get a few warm days in the spring.