You know what Game of Thrones fans say: Winter is coming and along with that, you need to make necessary preparations including knowing how to winterize motorcycle. You cannot just store your motorbike by throwing a cover over it. Once you start riding again, you’ll be surprised to know that it won’t even start. When the temperatures drop, you need to make sure that you protect your bike from the cold and the snow while it’s sitting out for winter.
Why Do You Need to Winterize Your Motorcycle?
The number one thing that happens to your bike when it sits out unprotected in the cold is that it gets damaged by moisture. You need to keep moisture away from your bike so that it will run properly again once the riding season begins.
You could also face other problems such as dead batteries, corrosion, or rust. In addition to keeping away moisture, you need to properly maintain your fuel system, battery, tires, as well as any moving parts.
Following the tips to winterize motorcycle will save you lots of time and hassle when spring begins again and your bike will be ready to hit the road.
How to Winterize Motorcycle?
Here are the things that you should do to winterize motorcycle.
You are about to store your bike for a few months and nobody will see it but it still needs a good washing before it’s put to storage. Giving your bike a thorough clean will help keep away bug guts or water spots that could corrode the finish or paint of your bike permanently.
Thoroughly wash your motorcycle and allow it to dry completely. This will get all the moisture off its surface. You can use an electric leaf blower if you have one to dry all the nooks and crannies of your bike.
Additionally, you can add a coat of wax that will act as a barrier against the buildup of moisture and rust. Spray the metal surfaces that are exposed to a WD-40 solution to remove all moisture. It will also add a protective coating to fight corrosion.
Next, you need to change your oil and filter. You want your bike to have fresh oil in it while it is not being used for several months. You can use a winter weight oil such as 5W30 so that your bike can start up easier when you’re ready to use it again.
Lubricate Moving Parts
You need to keep the moving parts of your bike lubricated during winter to winterize motorcycle. This will help avoid moisture from building up on those parts which could cause them to rust or bind. Some of these parts are the chain drive, cables, other pivot points, as well as the fork surfaces.
Treat Your Fuel System
If you have a gas tank, it has a tendency to rust when not used for a long time. An untreated pump gas could break down and get gummy during this time. To ensure that your fuel is ready for use again after a few months, you need to fill your tank full and treat the fuel with a fuel stabilizer.
Before storage, add an appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer and top off your tank. Keeping the tank full will keep moisture from the tank walls and is an effective way to winterize motorcycle. Alternatively, you can drain the tank and fuel system instead. However, this is more troublesome and you would need additional supplies like fogging oil in your tank to prevent it from rusting. This may be suitable for longer storage but for winter, it’s better to treat your fuel system.
Protect Your Battery
When the battery is stored for a long time, it has a tendency to self-discharge, especially one that is hooked up to the bike. To prevent this, hook up your battery to a battery tender. It monitors the charge and keeps the battery full without overcharging it.
Ideally, you could just pull out the battery from the bike but using a battery tender can also protect it inside the bike. Make sure that the electrodes in the battery are clean and free from corrosion.
Protect Your Tires
You also want to avoid your tires developing flat spots. This happens because the tires are left sitting in the same position all winter. You can prevent this by keeping the tires off the ground by using a motorcycle stand. If you don’t have a stand, you can rotate the tires by slightly rolling your bike every few weeks. You can also put some carpet or plywood under the tires to keep away moisture from seeping in.
Install Muffler Plugs
If your place might be infested with mice and other rodents, they could hide inside your bike’s exhaust pipes because of the cold. Plug up your pipes with exhaust or muffler plugs or you can also stuff your air intake with some plastic bags. Don’t forget to take them out before you use the bike again.
Cover Your Bike
Now you just need to make sure that you keep your bike covered as a final step to winterize motorcycle. Invest in a proper motorcycle cover. It will not only keep the dust away but will also prevent moisture from being trapped underneath. Dust and moisture could create corrosion and rust on your bike.
If you can’t avoid storing your bike outside, make sure that the cover is designed with tie downs. It will prevent the wind from blowing it away. If it’s stored indoors, you should still use a cover to prevent dust buildup.
As a final note, you should always protect your bike from theft as part of the steps to winterize motorcycle. Having it parked unattended for a few months make it prone to theft. Using a cover will not only protect your bike from the weather but will also make it less visible. Secure your bike with a heavy lock and chain for extra protection. For ordinary bicycles, here is the best bike lock and best bike pump.
Don’t forget to protect yourself by learning how to layer for winter.