How to Winterize and Store Your Motorcycle
With travel options being limited this year, you’ve probably tried to get out on your motorcycle as much as possible over the summer and fall. But winter is coming, and that means that, unfortunately, the motorcycle season is ending. Ottawa is a beautiful city, but we see a lot of ice and snow over the winter, which doesn’t make for ideal motorcycle driving.
Now’s the time to start thinking about how you can properly winterize and store your motorcycle. It’s essential to take the proper steps to protect your bike over the winter so that once the spring weather returns, you’re all set to get out and ride it.
Here are some great tips for winterizing and storing your bike:
- Find a well-protected place to store your motorcycle.
- Clean and protect your bike.
- Take care of the gas and oil levels.
- Remove the battery.
And just remember: No matter what time of year it is, the key to peace of mind with a motorcycle is having the right insurance.
A Good Storage Location is Key
Before winter comes, the first thing you want to do is to make sure you have access to a well-protected location to store your motorcycle. Storing it indoors — in a climate-controlled area such as a garage or storage unit — is the best way to keep your bike protected against the winter elements.
If you don’t have a garage or storage unit, ask friends and family if they have anywhere you can store your bike for the winter. Try dealerships as well. They may rent storage space to motorcycle owners who don’t have other options to keep their motorcycles.
Besides keeping your motorcycle in a heated, protected location, you should also put a cover on it to prevent moisture from getting into your bike.
Give Your Bike a Good Clean
The last thing you want is to come back in the spring to a dirty bike. Certain materials — such as bird droppings — can be corrosive if you leave them on your motorcycle for a long time without cleaning them.
Give your motorcycle a good clean to scrub all the accumulated dirt off it. After you’ve finished cleaning your bike, wax it. Waxing your motorcycle helps protect it from dust, dirt, and pests over the winter. Finally, use a leather protectant on your seat and any other leather parts of your bike to help keep them protected.
If you have any accessories — such as saddlebags — that can be removed, you should take them off your bike and store them separately. All of these steps will help make sure your bike and accessories stay well protected over the winter.
Top Up Your Fuel Tank and Change the Oil
Before you put your motorcycle into storage, fill up the gas tank, and add a fuel stabilizer to it. If you’re not sure what type of fuel stabilizer you should use, check your owner’s manual for guidance. After you’ve added the stabilizer, run your bike briefly to ensure the stabilizer is distributed correctly.
Having a full gas tank with a fuel stabilizer added will help stop moisture from forming in the gas, preventing corruption. It will also prevent the gas from getting “stale,” starting to solidify, and damaging your engine.
In addition to topping up your fuel tank and adding a fuel stabilizer, you should also change your motorcycle’s oil. Fresh oil ensures that you are not putting your bike away for the winter with contaminated oil. Be sure to fill the oil up to the filler hole, to reduce the chances of rust forming on your transmission.
Take the Battery Out
A final tip to help winterize your motorcycle is to take the battery out. When you do that, top-up the cells in the battery using distilled water, and be sure to store it at room temperature.
Another step you can take is to hook your battery up to a trickle charger. A trickle charger will feed a constant low current to your battery’s power bank, extending its life. Only do this if you’ll have the battery in a location you can monitor it, as you don’t want to charge the battery continuously.
You’re All Set For Winter
While you hate to see motorcycle season come to an end, it’s essential to make sure that you properly winterize and store your motorcycle over the winter. Here are four ways you can ensure your motorcycle stays in good shape over the winter:
- Put your motorcycle in a protected, climate-controlled place, such as a garage or storage unit.
- Give your bike a good clean and wax it.
- Top up the gas and change the oil.
- Take out the battery.