6 things to check on your motorcycle after winter storage


The first day of spring is right around the corner, and many riders will be preparing to break out their bikes from winter retirement for the first time. Understandably, riders will be eager to hit the roads and rejoin other bikers for all things motorcycles. As exciting as it is, it's best to pump the brakes before hitting the road. The reason is because it's essential to inspect and review your bike before taking it out on the road. 


Why should you take the time out to do this, you may ask? Inspecting your motorcycle after months of sitting in storage is very important. Improper inspections may cause unnecessary and expensive damages to occur. Simply starting your bike is one part of the process for taking your bike out of winter storage. There are several other areas that should be inspected before hitting the road. This article will go over what to inspect to get you back on the road properly. 


  1. Washing it: A majority of bike owners will give their bike an initial wash before storage and then forget about it. Leaving a bike in storage is bound to accumulate dust and other unwanted particles. Giving your bike a good cleaning before hitting the road will ensure that you don't accumulate even more dirt and grime that could potentially lead to rust. 
  2. Oil: Regardless if you change the oil or not before storage, it is best to get an oil change after a few months of storage. Getting a fresh oil change will ensure that your bike runs well on the road. Riding on oil that's been sitting for months will break down more quickly, which will wear on your engine. 
  3. Gas: As hard as it is to believe, gas does have a shelf life. It is always advised to use a fuel stabilizer when storing your bike for the winter. However, not everyone does this process. Fuel that has not been stabilized will go bad after thirty days. The first sign of bad fuel is the smell. Fuel has a distinctive smell, and if it smells anything other than the scent that you are used to, it's probably time to change it. 
  4. Tires: Making sure your tires are in working condition is essential. Ever notice how your tire pressure loses more air in the winter than any other season? Two things, osmosis and temperature cause this. For every 10-degree drop, your tires will lose about 1 psi when sitting out in the cold. Osmosis is the process of air slowly escaping through the tire over the course of months. This is why your tire pressure will drop over time, even though you may not have a flat. 
  5. Battery: Perhaps one of the more troublesome parts of taking your bike out of storage is dealing with the battery. It's common to have a dead battery after taking it out of storage. Even if you tried to keep it charged throughout the dormant months, it could still happen. Depending on where your bike was stored, it's possible for your battery to freeze as well. Using a multimeter is a great way to see how much voltage remains in your battery. A battery must have at least 12 volts to start. Anything less than that and you will have to purchase a new battery. 
  6. Leaks: It's best to inspect the ground and other surrounding areas for leaks of any kind. If you notice any puddles, check your wires and hoses to see if there are any cracks present. Leaks can range from oil to coolant or any other liquids. 


It is most certainly a good sign if your motorcycle starts right up on the first try. Using the tips above will help ensure that your bike will be well prepared for the road. 


Founded in 1969 in Milwaukee, the motorcycle lawyers at Hupy and Abraham, S.C. have represented nearly 5,000 riders, collecting over $1 billion for their clients. With 11 offices in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, the firm has a reputation of providing sound legal representation to accident victims. Contact us anytime -- 24/7/365 -- by phone or online chat to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.