Unlike most modes of transportation, motorcycles are not always used year-round. Consequently, you must take time to store them during the off-season months properly. If you are new to the biker world, you must know the best way to prepare your bike for storage. But taking the proper steps now will make your first ride of next season everything you wish.
Winterizing Your Motorcycle: Don’t Forget These Steps
1. Clean it off- Don’t store a dirty bike. Take the time to clean all the road grit, grime, etc., off your bike before putting it in storage.
2. Change the oil – Changing the oil and the filter helps to flush out the debris and sludge before storing your ride. Take it further and add AMSOIL Power Foam to remove any remaining contaminates.
3. Cover it up –This is especially important if you cannot park your ride in an enclosed space! But even if you can store it in a garage, having it covered protects it from items bumping it. Side note: use a well-made cover or tarp that fully protects your bike. An ill-fitting cover can slip off, trap water, or even damage the paint.
4. Wax and lubricate the chain – Apply the wax and lube according to manufacturer‘s instructions. Take a few minutes to warm the chain by riding at least 5 miles. Then, use a cloth to wipe off any excess wax or lube.
5. Check the belt drive – Look for cuts, fraying, chips, or missing teeth. Replace the belt if needed.
6. Fill the exhaust pipe – Small animals like to use this space for a winter nest. Putting a few plastic bags in the pipe will keep them out. This is crucial if you store your bike outside under a tarp or in a barn/outbuilding.
Mistakes to Avoid in Winterizing Your Motorcycle
1. Draining the gas tank – Never drain the gas tank when winterizing your bike! Doing so increases the likelihood of corrosion. Instead, leave it full and add a fuel stabilizer such as AMSOIL’s Gasoline Stabilizer, available from your local dealer, Lifetime Oil.
2. Don’t crank it up just to hear it. – Starting it up but not bringing it to full power, then turning it off a few minutes later, is bad for your bike. Doing this can cause moisture to condense. This condensation does not get ‘cooked off’ and can result in rust and corrosion.
3. Cancelling your motorcycle insurance- You never know when there might be a warm day, and you can pull out your bike for a ride. If you cancel insurance for the season, you are taking a big risk in riding without it. Also, if something happens- the storage unit is broken into and your bike is stolen, a tree falls on your storage building, etc. – then having active insurance will be essential!
4. Don’t overinflate the tires! – It is unnecessary to put extra air in the tires. Today’s tires are designed to minimize flat spots due to storage. Instead, just be sure the tires are at the proper inflation.
5. Not keeping the battery charged – When the next warm day for riding shows up, you want your bike ready. Plugging the battery into a maintainer will keep it ready to roll at any time.
These tasks may take an hour or so, but doing them means your bike will be ready the next time you can ride. Of course, should you get the opportunity for a winter ride, you must do all these steps again before storing. But proper bike maintenance will be worth it when you make that next long ride!