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Jan 3, 2014

How to Store Your Motorcycle over the winter

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Store MotorcycleWhy?

If you live somewhere that experiences cold winters, proper winter storage of your motorcycle is essential to keep it in good conditionfor when the warm weather returns. Improper storage can lead to battery troubles, clogged or dirty fuel lines, corrosion and increased engine wear, and rust, among other problems. Proper storage and preparation as soon as the cold weather hits will prevent these problems, and make sure that your bike is in riding condition for when the first warm day of Spring comes around.

Where?

Now that you’ve decided to take care of your bike while it hibernates for the winter, you need to decide where you are going to store it. The most expensive but likely easiest option is to trust it to a motorcycle storage facility. These are heated facilities that will store your bike for the winter, and will typically also perform all the necessary services to get it ready for storage and then prepare it for riding again in the Spring. Some of these facilities will even pick your motorcycle up for you if you didn’t manage to get it into storage before the snow fell.

If your nearest town or city doesn’t have a motorcycle storage facility, or if you simply don’t want to pay the fee to have it stored for the winter, it is also entirely possible to store it properly yourself. The ideal place to store it would be somewhere heated, but if you don’t have a heated garage then a non-heated garage, a shed, or anywhere that the bike can be raised off of the ground and protected from the elements will also be suitable.

How?

Detailed service guides for winter storage are supplied by most major motorcycle manufacturers, but there are a few basics that any mechanic or manufacturer will tell you to follow:

  • Remove the battery and clean out the battery compartment to prevent corrosion. You can also hook the battery up to an automatic charger to keep it in good working condition.
  • Change the oil. Even if you’re not due for your regular oil change, giving your motorcycle fresh oil for the winter will prevent corrosion due to dirty oil.
  • Wash and wax your bike. Dirt and salt sitting on your bike for extended periods of time can dull your paint and cause premature rusting.
  • Remove or stabilize your fuel. If you completely drain all of the fuel out, make sure that it’s completely dry and then add a rust-preventing agent. Another option is to fill the bike with fresh, high quality fuel, and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent degradation.
  • Lubricate your drive train.
  • Ensure tires are filled to the proper psi.
  • Get a breathable cover designed for motorcycle storage. Normal tarps will trap moisture inside and speed up rusting.
  • Stabilize your bike either with a motorcycle stand, or by using the kickstand and raising the front wheel off the ground by putting a block under the engine.
  • Keep an eye on the battery charge and check your bike periodically, and wait for riding season to roll back around!

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