Winter is coming!
How do I protect my motorcycle in the winter?
This is your One-Stop collection of helpful tips to store motorcycles in the winter. It is the season with harsh cold temperatures and snow, which can damage your two-wheeler if appropriate techniques are not followed for motorcycle winter storage.
Both you and your motorcycle need to stay out of the cold.
Here is a detailed guideline for Motorcycle Winter Storage, whether for storing the motorbike for long-term or simply just a pre-winter preparation.
Whether your bike is a Carburetor or a Fuel Injection, proper maintenance just before bike storage can help keep your motorcycle in good condition long term.
As a result, both your wallet and your motorcycle will be happy!
We have listed out the essential 8-Step Checklist for Motorcycle Winterization.
8 Simple Steps for Motorcycle Winter Storage
Step 1. Clean Your Motorcycle
Motorcycles do get dirty.
Either after an adventurous ride or storing it in the same place for a long time, they do get dirty. So, cleaning a motorcycle is part of the experience of owning a motorcycle.
More importantly, it is important to clean the motorcycle before putting it up in winter storage.
Use soap and water to clean every nook and cranny. Make sure to dry out moisture to prevent any sort of rusting in winter.
You can use wax to add extra protection to the paint.
Repeat the process for the chain as well. Properly clean the chain to remove any grease or debris, then apply chain lube.
Step 2. Change Oil and Fluids
Winter is long and hard.
Used engine oil contains contaminants like combustion by-products, wear metals, and more. These corrosive contaminants can harm the engine during long-term storage.
It is best to flush out these contaminants before long-term winter storage.
Use manufacturer-recommended engine oil grade to flush out the contaminants and improve the health of the engine.
You should change the engine oil before the winter storage, even if the bike is not due for an oil change. Also, change the Oil Filter, Air Filter, and Coolant to complete the entire change.
Step 3. Add Fuel and Fuel Stabilizer
The bike will be in the unheated garage all winter, right? So, is it wiser to skip out on fuel to save a few bucks?
An empty fuel tank will do more damage than good.
An empty fuel tank is a sealed environment with changing air temperatures. This converts the air into moisture through condensation, resulting in rust formation.
As a result, it can clog injectors which ultimately affects mileage and performance.
To prevent any kind of winter rust from happing, simply fill the tank and add a fuel stabilizer.
A full gas tank will prevent moisture. Whereas, a fuel stabilizer will slow down the fuel from breaking down during your motorbike winter storage.
Just remember to run your motorcycle for a few minutes to mix the fuel and stabilizer.
Step 4. Lift the Tyres
Motorcycle tyres are meant for riding, and not staying put on a winter shed.
Tyres do lose air over time.
However, the problem is accelerated if the tyres remain unused for a longer period, and are touching the ground. If the tyres position continues to remain unchanged, it will continue to lose air pressure, resulting in a flat spot.
There are two things riders can do to prevent this.
Firstly, change the tyre position. Assume a sitting position, then you can move the motorcycle back and forth for a few minutes.
Secondly, simply elevate the tyres off the ground using a center stand or paddock. This reduces the weight of the motorcycle falling directly on the tyres.
Step 5. Tenderize or Disconnect Battery
The same can be said about the battery as well.
All batteries discharge over time. Motorcycle batteries usually compensate for this by charging while riding.
There are two different around to save the motorcycle battery during storage.
If you are storing a bike for a long time in the cold season, then it is better to disconnect the battery from the motorcycle. And, simply reconnect it when spring comes.
Another workaround is to hook the battery to the battery tender.
A battery tender (or trickle charger) preserves battery health by delivering steady energy of charge to the battery during winter storage or long-term storage.
It prevents the battery’s health from depleting or getting worse.
Step 6. Regular Starts
There is another trick to start the battery. However, it is both recommended and non-recommended, depending on whom you ask.
You can start your bike once every week. Moreover, the bike must run for at least 15 minutes.
The 15-minute time frame ensures that condensation (if there is any build-up) is evaporated.
If the bike is turned off a bit too quickly, then there will be a risk of more condensation build-up. In turn results in serious issues like rusting spark plugs, crankcases, and more.
More importantly, do it in a well-ventilated space rather than a small garage.
If you do it in a small garage, there is a high chance of condensation buildup. So, it is recommended to start the bike in an open space.
Just start the motorbike at regular intervals, and keep it running.
Step 7. Cover the Holes
After going through all the trouble, there is one thing that most people forget to do.
Cover the holes.
Believe it or not, any rodents or critters can crawl up exhaust holes if it is big enough. Plus, the cold winters will only make those more enticing for those little creatures.
Those little beasts can chew down on wires which can be an expensive repair down the line.
Search for any big holes where the rodent may be able to fit.
Use towels or cloth to cover those spots. However, don’t forget to remove them during regular starts.
If you think you might forget it then, either use a bright-colored cloth or noticeably place them. Or, simply do both to stay on the safe side.
Finish it off by covering the entire motorcycle with a good bike cover.
Step 8. Choose Good Winter Storage Spot
Now comes the ultimate checklist, choosing a good winter storage for your motorcycle.
This part is a bit tricky.
Doing all that work, and then, putting the motorcycle outside in the driveway defeats the entire purpose.
It is bad to leave a motorcycle out in the winter without any protection.
You need cool, dry, and secure storage for the motorcycle.
It can be a garage, canopy, storage shed, or even storage unit. Just make sure it is well-ventilated and secure without exposing the bike to external elements.
Make sure to remove any sort of moisture in the garage or the storage shed to prevent any rust build-up.
Summary of Motorcycle Winter Storage
This is how you can store a motorcycle in an unheated garage for a long time.
Let’s do a quick recap.
Here are Quick Tips for Motorcycle Winterization for long-term storage.
- Clean Your Motorcycle with Soap and Water
- Change Engine Oil, Fluids, and Filters
- Fill the Fuel Tank and Add the Fuel Stabilizer
- Lift the Tyres Above Ground (if not possible, change tyre position at regular intervals)
- Tenderize or Disconnect the Battery
- Start the Bike at Regular Intervals in good ventilation for at least 15 minutes or more.
- Cover Exhaust or Holes with Cloth
- Choose a Secure and Well-Ventilated Storage Spot
These are the tips and guidelines for storing motorcycles during the winter season. These steps can prevent damage to the motorcycle caused by cold temperatures and snow during winter storage.
After following all the steps and crossing off the checklist, your motorcycle is finally ready for winter storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to store your motorcycle properly during winter?
Harsh cold temperatures and snow can damage your motorcycle if appropriate techniques are not followed for motorcycle winter storage.
What are the essential steps for motorcycle winter storage?
The essential guidelines for motorcycle winter storage include cleaning your motorcycle, changing oil and fluids, adding fuel and fuel stabilizer, lifting the tires, tenderizing or disconnecting the battery, regular starts, covering the holes, and using a motorcycle cover.
Why is it important to clean your motorcycle before winter storage?
It is important to clean the motorcycle before winter storage to prevent any sort of rusting or corrosion buildup in winter.
Why should you change the engine oil before winter storage?
Used engine oil contains corrosive contaminants that can harm the engine during long-term storage. Flushing out these contaminants before winter storage can improve the health of the engine.
Why should you not leave your fuel tank empty during winter storage?
An empty fuel tank combined with changing air temperatures that can convert the trapped air into moisture through condensation, resulting in rust formation. Filling the tank and adding a fuel stabilizer can prevent this.
How can you prevent flat spots on your motorcycle tires during winter storage?
You can prevent flat spots by changing the tire position and elevating the tires off the ground using a center stand or paddock.
What is a battery tender, and why is it useful during winter storage?
A battery tender (or trickle charger) preserves battery health by delivering steady energy of charge to the battery during winter storage or long-term storage. It prevents the battery’s health from depleting or getting worse.
How often should you start your motorcycle during winter storage?
It is recommended to start your motorcycle once every week and let it run for at least 15 minutes in a well-ventilated space to prevent condensation buildup.
Is it okay to turn on a bike in a small space during winter storage?
No, it is not recommended to start a bike in a small space during winter storage due to a lack of ventilation. It may result in condensation buildup which may end up damaging the engine components even more.
Why is it important to cover the holes of your motorcycle during winter storage?
Covering the holes of your motorcycle can prevent rodents or critters from crawling up exhaust holes, building a nesting spot, and chewing down on wires.
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