|Improper winter storage.
It’s winter here in the Midwest, at least it’s supposed to be. And although the thermometer seems to be confused, we will inevitably be rolling our bikes into the garage for the season at some point, probably. Below is a basic guide to winter storage, just in case it does come:
THE BASICS: What Most People Do
- Stabilize It: In winter, moisture is the enemy. Gas can rot and tanks can rust. On your last ride of the year, add the correct amount of a fuel stabilizer product to your tank, and then top it off. On the ride home, the stabilizer should adequately mix and run through your fuel system (10-20 miles).
- Battery Care: Batteries will self-discharge over time, especially when hooked up to the bike. The goal in storage is to keep the battery relatively warm, charged, and dry. Either remove the battery and charge to full on a trickle charger once a month (no more than 1 amp), or purchase a smart battery tender (in which case removal may not be needed depending on environment). If applicable, clean and lightly grease battery terminals, and add distilled water to cells.
- Use the Centerstand: Inflate your tires to maximum recommended pressure. If possible store your bike on its centerstand. Tires are the only thing between you and the pavement, and taking care of them should be a toppriority. A centerstand and proper inflation will help prevent flat spots, and keeping them away from the frozen ground will help prevent cracks from
Resist the urge.
- Coddle Your Coolant: If you live somewhere that gets below freezing (we’re looking at you, Midwest) and have a liquid cooled bike, make sure you have sufficient levels of antifreeze in your coolant system. Drain, flush, and replace if necessary or if over roughly 15,000 miles since the last change.
A STEP FURTHER: What Thorough People Do
- Oil Change: Nobody likes doing maintenance, but winter is the perfect time and reason to do so on your bike. Change your oil and filter if more than a season old so that fresh, clean oil is sitting in your lubrication system.
- Give it a Bath: Consider it a point of pride if there are three layers and possibly multiple years of grime and bug guts on you and your bike. However, letting that sit can damage a paint finish permanently. Wash, dry, and if possible, wax the bike before storage. Also WD-40 on any exposed metal will protect against corrosion.
|Exhaust cover option.
- Invitation Only: If you’re storing in an area where there are pests, consider plugging your air intake and exhaust to keep out any unwanted visitors. If you purchase exhaust muffler plug products don’t forget they’re there before starting up again!
- Precautionary Measures: Depending on where you’re storing the bike, consider an alarm system. Additionally, breathable bike covers are relatively inexpensive and will help protect against any dust and moisture or light damage to paint or plastics (plastic tarps will actually trap moisture in).
THE MAX: What Crazy People Do
- Protect your Cylinder Walls: Take out all spark plugs and put a 3 second spray of fogging oil down each spark plug hole. Turn the engine over by hand several times to distribute the oil within the cylinder. You can do this by putting the bike in high gear (AGAIN, make sure the plugs are out and grounded during this step). This will coat cylinder walls, piston rings and valve seats and help protect them against corrosion.
- Complete Transfusion: There is no harm in being thorough when done correctly. Change ALL fluids and oils, ensuring that your bike is stored with top lubricants in prime condition, and giving you a fresh start come spring. Note: Brake and clutch fluids should be changed roughly every 2 years (18,000) miles regardless.
The level at which you winterize your bike will vary based on personal preference, geographic location, and storage site. Be sure to do ample research when winterizing to ensure that your bike is properly stored.
At Hupy and Abraham, S.C., we hope you have a safe and fun winter season, even if it means doing so without a motorcycle. Promote your passion and support motorcycle awareness by ordering your free Watch for Motorcycles sticker here.