Getting Your Motorcycle Ready for Winter Storage
Yep, winter is almost here (even though it seems like summer just got here), and for a lot of riders that means the bike is going to be sitting idle for a few months. To ensure your motorcycle is ready for that first spring ride when you are, you will want to take a little time to prepare it to sit quietly in the garage.
There is a really good chance that just leaving the gas in your tank as is, your bike will still start in the spring after a few months of storage. However the gas may not be all that good, and could cause poor performance or even foul out your spark plugs requiring them to be replaced. Be taking a couple of precautionary steps you can help ensure your gas is ready to go when your are next spring.
Fill your Gas tank to the top. The less air in your tank, the less likely that water will condense inside the tank (a result of falling and/or fluctuating temperatures) and get in your gas. You also will want to add a good commercial fuel additive (following the directions on the container). This will help maintain the quality of the fuel during the winter.
The last thing you want to do is put your bike down for the winter with dirty oil. Any dirt in the oil system will settle and clump over time and when you start your engine for the first time in the spring, these hardened clumps of dirt will circulate through your motorcycle's lubricating system clogging and scratching as they go.
This is an easy one to take care of... Before putting your motorcycle away for the winter, change all of your fluids and filters. This includes the engine oil and filter as well as the transmission fluid and primary fluid. Once you have done this take your bike out for one last ride, or if you missed the last chance to do this run the engine at varying speeds in the garage. This will ensure the cleans fluids have circulated through the engine and the oil filter has picked up any remaining dirt and debris.
Today's sealed, maintenance-free batteries don't require a lot of attention. But by keeping them fully charged you can almost always increase their lifespan. You may want to remove your motorcycle's battery and store it in a place with less of a temperature change then it will experience in the garage. Whether you keep the battery in your bike or not, it's a good idea to connect it to a battery tender during storage keeping it well charged during the winter.
The best situation would be to store your motorcycle on some sort of lift, with the weight off the tires. Storing with the tires off the ground and slightly less than normal air pressure will help prevent flat spots and and cracks in the rubber where they bulge at the bottom. If this is not an option, you will want to move you motorcycle a slight bit every couple of weeks to change the area of the tires that are sitting on the ground. If the bike is stored on the ground, be sure to check the tire pressure and ensure they are inflated to the proper level according to your owners manual.
It's a good idea to give your bike a really good cleaning and wax job before putting it away for the winter. This will help protect the paint and chrome.
You also want to cover your bike to help keep dust and dirt from settling in places almost impossible to clean. We recommend using a proper motorcycle cover available from your dealer or motorcycle shop. Just be sure that whatever you cover your bike with is a breathable fabric (such as an old bed sheet) that will keep out dust but still allow moisture to escape. Never use a plastic sheet to cover your motorcycle for an extended period of time...this will trap in the moisture that accumulates during temperature changes and cause your bike to rust.
In The Spring
When spring gets here and you are ready to ride again, be sure to give your motorcycle a complete inspection BEFORE your first ride.