How to Winterize Your Motorcycle

We know it’s sad when winter comes around and it’s time to put your motorcycle away for the offseason. However, if you’re committed to caring for your motorcycle, winterizing it is a must.

The winterization of a motorcycle is a crucial maintenance process and the best way to make sure your bike will be ready to ride again when the weather warms up. Winterization might mark the end of riding season, but it’s also a great time to give your motorcycle a wash and perform some light maintenance to ensure your baby runs great in the spring.

Prep the Bike’s Surface

To begin, prepare your motorcycle’s surface by giving it a thorough cleaning. If there are any water spots, smeared bugs, or any other debris, it can corrode your paint or the finish permanently. Completely wash your bike and dry it thoroughly to prevent any moisture from causing corrosion while it sits in your garage.

Then, add a protective coat of wax. Wax is just as essential for motorcycles as it is for cars since it protects against rust and moisture damage. You may also want to spray any exposed metal parts with WD-40 to get rid of moisture. In fact, the “WD” in the product stands for water displacement. 

Change the Oil and Filter

Next, change your motorcycle’s oil — this is healthy for your bike’s lubrication system. Fresh oil will allow you to hop on the bike as soon as warm weather permits rather than having to go through an oil change first thing.

Change your motorcycle’s filter, as well. In fact, it’s a good general rule of thumb to replace or refill any perishable parts or liquids in your bike before storing it for winter.

If you need to store your motorcycle for an exceptionally long time, it is also good to coat your motorcycle engine’s internals with oil to protect them against moisture damage. This will prevent rust from forming on the cylinder walls and pistons. 

Lubricate Any Moving Parts

After changing the oil, use lubricant on any moving parts, including the chain drive, controls, cables, fork surfaces, and pivot points. If you lubricate any part of your motorcycle outside of winter, go ahead and give it another layer of lube before storing it for winter just to be safe.

Prepare the Fuel System

Your bike’s gas tank can rust if you don’t treat it properly in winter. Furthermore, the gas inside can become gummy and unreliable. If you want to be able to hop on your bike first thing come spring, fill your tank with fuel treated with a stabilizing compound.

This is a straightforward process. Simply visit a gas station near your home, top off your gas tank, and add a commercial fuel stabilizer before riding the bike home. The process mixes the gas and stabilizer and ensures you have a nearly full tank for the winter. In addition, it will protect your fuel tank from rust, and the fuel inside will maintain proper viscosity during the cold season.

Battery Protection

The battery can self-discharge if it sits around for a long time, especially if you don’t plan to disconnect the battery while you store your motorcycle. You can prevent this side effect by using a battery tender, which monitors a motorcycle battery charge and keeps it topped off without causing electrical damage.

Alternatively, you can pull the battery from the bike and store it in a dry location. But this will require you to reinstall the battery come spring. 

Protect the Tires

Your bike’s tires also need some attention before winter arrives. If your tires sit in one position for four months or more, they will get flat spots and won’t perform as well when you use them again.

The best solution is to remove your motorcycle’s tires and keep them off the ground. Place them on a table or a dedicated motorcycle tire stand if you have purchased one. If your tires have to touch the ground, be sure that they rest on a piece of plywood or carpet, so moisture doesn’t seep into the rubber.

Consider Using Antifreeze

Some places experience frigid winters with subfreezing temperatures. If you have to store your bike and the temperature regularly dips below freezing in your area, add antifreeze to your cooling system. This will prevent your cooling system from developing cracks as the temperature fluctuates.

Use Plugs to Prevent Pests

Motorcycle exhaust pipes are notoriously popular places for pests to hide from the cold, as are air filters. So, do yourself a favor and avoid any potentially traumatic accidents by preventing pests from infesting your motorcycle’s parts in the first place.

Purchase a basic exhaust plug to plug up your pipes and stuff your air intake with a plastic bag. Just be sure to use a colored plastic bag for the filter, so you will remember to remove it when you fire up your bike again.

Cover Your Motorcycle

The process of winterizing your motorcycle is now almost complete. The final step is to protect your motorcycle with a full cover that reaches all the way across the bike. Good motorcycle covers can prevent both dust and moisture from affecting your beloved ride. Use a cover regardless of whether you store your motorcycle in a garage or outside.

If you decide to store your motorcycle outside, use a cover with tie-downs so it won’t be blown away by the wind.

And that’s it! You have now properly winterized your bike.

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By Published On: October 20, 2023Categories: MotorcyclesTags:

One Comment

  1. David Minter March 16, 2024 at 9:38 pm - Reply

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