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The winter months are the least favorite for all motorcyclists as that means no more riding. We share the best motorcycle winter storage tips to help you keep your ride maintained.
Motorcyclists and bikers are known for having rituals, and their ritualistic tendencies come to the fore when the winter months arrive, signaling the end of the riding season. Most bike riders will take one last epic ride before parking and storing their bikes for winter. Some riders see the winter months as the best time for making enhancements to their bikes and will often drop them off at dealerships in winter and pick up their transformed custom rides when spring arrives.
When you’re storing your motorcycle for winter, you must practice appropriate maintenance so that your bike is in great shape when you put it back on the road. Prepping your motorcycle for the winter will prevent any parts from failing and save you plenty of money and headaches further down the line. If you’re storing your motorcycle for winter, here are some essential tips that will help you prepare your bike for winter storage:
1. Add Fresh Fluids
You need to drain and add fresh fluids to your motorcycle before storing it for the winter. We are talking about all your bike’s fluids, including the coolant, brake, clutch, and oil. However, it will depend on how long ago you changed the fluids. If you replaced your brake and clutch fluids a month ago and only drove a couple of hundred miles, you should change the oil.
Changing and freshening up the fluids before putting your motorcycle in storage for winter is essential because these fluids have contaminants built up from regular use. They can destroy the rubber seals if leftover time as they become corrosive. Also, you don’t want the oil contaminated with sediments and solvents sitting idle on your bike over the winter.
2. Check and Tend to the Battery
Motorcycle riders advise that you start your bike every week and let it run idle in your garage during the winter. However, it’s better to clean the battery electrodes and hook them to a trickle charger or battery tender throughout the winter season. That will help extend the battery’s life and ensure it functions properly when you start it in spring.
You should also purchase a spare FOB battery, just in case your motorcycle doesn’t start in the spring. There could be two reasons for that:
- Your FOB battery needs to be replaced
- You forgot your pin
You can’t do anything about that, as your FOB battery will be connected to your motorcycle throughout the winter. When spring comes around, you will need to replace it, which is why it is better to have a spare FOB battery in your drawer.
3. Check the Tires
When you’re checking your motorcycle tires, you must pay attention to the tread remaining on them and for signs of wear. Your tires shouldn’t be showing wear bars, as that means they need to be replaced completely. You can contact your dealer if you have any questions. You must use an accurate gauge to check the inflation of your tires.
Your VIN label and owner’s manual will have proper inflation pressures for your bike’s tires listed. You can also put your bike on its dollies, lifts, or front and rear stand so that your motorcycle remains in an upright position throughout winter. That will help relieve the pressure on the tires. If you want to prevent flat spots on your bike’s tires, you should move it and change its place once a month.
4. Practice Scrubbing, Washing, Drying, and Waxing
You want to ensure that your motorcycle remains in pristine condition when you take it out in the spring, and that means giving it a thorough deep clean. That will involve scrubbing, washing, drying, and waxing the bike before you cover it, which will also prevent rusting. Start with your motorcycle’s dirtiest part, meaning the brakes and chains. Use an O-ring safe degreaser and a grunge brush for the chain.
You will need a disc cleaner for the brakes. When cleaning, inspect everything, so there aren’t surprises when you take it out in the spring. Once you have cleaned the bike, wash and dry it entirely to ensure there isn’t any moisture on your bike before you cover it since that can cause mold and corrosion.
The last part involves waxing and treating the paint and all chrome parts of your motorcycle. That adds an extra layer of protection for the bike when you store it. You should also treat any leather items or leather seats on your motorcycle. All this ensures, your bike will be spotless when you take it from storage in the spring.
5. Lubricate and Wax the Chain
You should clean and wax/lubricate your motorcycle’s chain after every 200 miles of off-road/adventure riding or 500 miles of street riding. Your owner’s manual will have guidance about this, and you can extend the life of your bike’s chain by taking care of it before storage.
Start by warming the chain by riding for roughly five miles, as that will enable the lube to dissolve and enter the O-ring chain effectively. Any excess lube or wax should be wiped off entirely.
6. Inspect the Belt Drive
The belt drives of your motorcycle require minimal adjustment and inspection as they are cleaner than the chain drives. Before you store your bike for winter, check the belt’s inside and outside sections and look for any missing teeth, fraying, cuts, or chips.
The belt drive needs to have proper tension, similar to the chain drive. Therefore, always consult your service or owner’s manual for the measuring technique, slack specification, and measurement point.
7. Prepare the Exhaust & Store on Center Stand
You need to stuff all the openings of your motorcycle so that nothing gets inside and critters don’t use them as nesting spots during the winter. It’s vital if you’re storing your bike in a barn or outside. Most people use plastic bags, but you can purchase a muffler cover designed for covering the exhaust.
Use the center stand of your motorcycle so that both wheels are kept off the ground. That will help you rotate the wheels, avoid any flat spots, and extend the lifespan of the suspension by preventing it from working overtime.
Final Word on motorcycle winter storage tips
If you live in an area where the winter months are harsh and lengthy, you will need to store your motorcycle in an enclosed space. The good news is that storing your bike for winter isn’t difficult, and you can do it by watching a few videos on YouTube, reading an owner’s manual, or an article online.
You can also go to a bike dealer and have them store your bike, which means they will handle all the maintenance and ensure your motorcycle is ready to ride when spring arrives. However, if you’re storing your motorcycle at home, ensure that you winterize your bike correctly so that you’re spending less time at the mechanic and more time on the road.