Photo by emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flickr
Bikers across the country are trying hard to ignore that winter is coming. The first frost is right around the corner — if it hasn’t already hit. You know better than to leave your motorcycle out in the elements to endure the winter, but do you know how experts prepare their bikes for the offseason?
Properly winterizing your bike ensures that it’ll be ready to ride when the weather warms back up in the spring. By taking the steps to get this right, you could prevent damaging rust or costly repairs that can spring up if you leave your bike under a cover for months.
1. Pick your location.
Before you get started, know where you’re going to store your motorcycle for the winter months. Space in your garage is ideal. You’ll want to find a storage spot that’s away from windows and out of the sunlight, because UV light can fade paint and plastic parts.
You’ll also want to cover your bike with a tarp or motorcycle cover while it’s in storage. If you don’t have a garage or other convenient space to store your motorcycle, you might consider renting a climate-controlled storage space. Regardless, you’ll want a dry, dark space for ideal storage.
2. Guard against tired tires and brakes
Tires can take on uneven wear when they’re sitting for months in storage. Check your air pressure in each tire, and fill it to just below the maximum. This will keep you from losing excessive amounts of pressure when temperatures drop. Consider investing in a center stand to keep your bike tires off the ground during the winter months to help to keep tires from developing flat spots. This is also a good time to check your brake pads and brake fluid, Bike Bandit suggests, as fluids can absorb moisture during the winter. You’ll be able to hop right back on your bike during the springtime without replacements. Otherwise, motorcycle tire replacements are in order.
3. Change the oil.
Even if you’re not due for an oil change, changing to a winter-grade oil will help your bike start more smoothly during the colder months or next spring. Let the engine run a bit so the oil is at normal operating temperature when you drain it. Now is also a great time to change the oil filter.
4. Add fuel stabilizer.
Winterizing fuel conditioner, or fuel stabilizer, will prevent your gas from going stale while your motorcycle is parked for the winter. By filling the tank all the way, you’re also eliminating the chance for rust in your gas tank. By filling all available spaces with liquids that are supposed to be there, you’re helping prevent outside moisture from getting in and causing damage.
If you are planning to park your motorcycle for more than four months, you’ll also want to drain your carburetors.