Storing your bike for the winter seems like a simple enough task. Just throw a cover on it and wait for better weather, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Cold temperatures, snow and ice, can be rough on your bike, and if you are not careful, you may find it is no longer in peak condition come spring. That’s why it’s vital to properly prep, or winterize, your motorcycle before storing it for the colder months.
Wash and wax
Make sure to clean and dry your motorcycle before you put it away for the season. Leaving any dirt or moisture can cause paint corrosion and rust. After you’ve cleaned your bike and made sure it’s completely dry, give it a wax as this will act as a barrier against rust.
Lubricate moving parts
Use a good lubricant on any moving parts on your bike to protect against moisture build-up over the winter. It’s important to lubricate the chain drive, cables, controls, and anything else you usually find needs lubrication during your usual bike maintenance. This will help to prevent rusting over the winter period.
Have a suitable shelter
You should invest in a suitable, weatherproof motorcycle cover. Using regular tarp is not suitable as it is not secure and can let in moisture and chafe against your bike’s paint. If you already have a cover, but it is looking a little worse for wear, consider getting a replacement cover kit. Any tears in your cover will expose your motorcycle to the harsh winter weather, which can cause rusting and corrosion, so it’s vital to make sure your cover is in good condition.
Check your coolant
It’s important to ensure your coolant has adequate levels of antifreeze. As it can limit race performance, not all motorcycle coolants have antifreeze in them, but it is a necessity during winter storage. Check your coolant’s label to see its makeup. If it doesn’t have antifreeze, add some in to prevent your bike’s coolant system freezing during the cold weather and damaging your motorcycle.
Change your oil
Make sure you change your bike’s oil before storing it for the winter. Leaving your bike stationary for a long period means the oil will start to break down and damage your bike. You can prevent this by making sure your oil is as fresh as possible before your bike goes away for the season.
Protect your battery
When your bike remains dormant for a long period, there is a risk of the battery self-discharging. Use a battery tender to keep your battery charged to a suitable level automatically. If you have a power source near where you will store your bike, you don’t even need to remove the battery and can simply hook the bike up to the tender. However, if you don’t have a power source near your motorcycle, you will need to remove the battery and hook it up to the tender near a power outlet to keep it charged.