Winter is coming and it’s already too cold for some people to ride, and if you’re planning to just cover your bike with an old sheet for the winter, you might be in trouble in the spring. Before storing your bike for the season, there are a few things you should do to make sure it’s ready to go when the weather warms up.
One reason is that winter weather can be much more dangerous for motorcyclists than summer weather. In the winter, roads can be icy and slippery, making it more difficult to control your bike. In addition, the cold weather can be harsh on your bike’s components, so it’s essential to take steps to protect them.
10 Steps How to Prepare Your Motorcycle for Winter
- Store the Motorcycle in a Dry Location
- Clean the Bike
- Prep Exhaust Pipes
- Change the Oil and Filter
- Apply Lube to Moving Parts
- Keep The Gasoline Fresh
- Check the Fluid Levels
- Take Care of the Battery
- Clean Spark Plugs
- Cover Your Bike
Your motorcycle is an investment, and you need to protect it from the elements. Hiding your motorcycle away for the winter is the best way to ensure that it stays in good condition and is ready to ride when the weather gets warmer.
There are a few things to consider when hiding your winterizing motorcycle.
Step 1: Store the Motorcycle in a Dry Location
If you don’t have access to a garage, you might be wondering how best to store your bike during the winter months.
While you might be tempted to just park your motorcycle under a tarp or in your backyard, this is a bad option. Instead, you should look for a dry sheltered spot that will protect your bike from snow and ice.
One option is to rent a warehouse. This ensures that your motorcycle is safe and sound and you don’t have to worry about damaging it in cold weather.
Another option is to winterize the motorcycle in a covered shed or under a canopy. This could also be a good place to store your motorcycle if you have a shed or other outbuilding.
Step 2: Clean the Bike
Here are a few tips on how to clean, dry and polish your motorcycle before winter:
- Wash with mild soap and water. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove the soap residue.
- Dry your motorcycle with a soft cloth. If you have access to a leaf blower, you can use that to speed up the drying process.
- Polish it with quality motorcycle polish. This will help protect the paint and keep your motorcycle shiny and new.
- If you have any chrome on your motorcycle, be sure to polish it as well. This will help to prevent rust and keep it looking its best.
- Wax your motorcycle to give it extra protection against the elements.
By following these simple tips, you can help to ensure that your motorcycle stays clean, dry, and polished all winter long.
Step 3: Prep Exhaust Pipes
Here are some tips on how to prepare your motorcycle exhaust pipe for winter:
- Inspect your exhaust pipe for any cracks or damage. If you find any, repair or replace the affected parts as soon as possible.
- If you have an aftermarket exhaust system, make sure that all of the bolts are tightened and that there are no leaks.
- Apply a coat of high-temperature silicone sealant to the joints of your exhaust pipe. This will help to prevent moisture from entering and causing corrosion.
- Wrap your exhaust pipe with thermal insulation tape. This will help to keep the heat in and prevent the pipe from freezing.
- If you live in an area where salt is used on the roads, be sure to wash your motorcycle often to prevent the salt from corroding it.
Step 4: Change the Oil and Filter
Fresh oil is vital for keeping your motorcycle engine healthy and running smoothly. When oil gets old and dirty, it can start to break down and form deposits that can clog up your engine. This can lead to big problems, so it’s important to change your oil regularly to prevent any issues.
It’s especially important to change your oil before winter, as cold weather can cause old oil to thicken and become even more difficult to flow through your engine. This can put a lot of strain on your engine, and can even lead to damage.
- Warm up the engine. This will help loosen the oil and make it easier to drain.
- Place a catch pan under the engine and remove the drain plug.
- Let the oil drain completely.
- Replace the drain plug and fill the engine with fresh oil.
- Check the oil level and add more if needed.
- Replace the oil filter.
- Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the new oil.
- Check for leaks and make sure the oil level is still correct.
Step 5: Apply Lube to Moving Parts
One key step in protecting your motorcycle during winter is to make sure that all of the moving parts are properly lubricated. This is because cold weather can cause the metal parts of your motorcycle to contract, which can lead to increased friction and wear.
Greasing the moving parts of your motorcycle before winter will help to create a barrier between the metal parts and the cold air.
It’s important to use high-quality grease that is designed for use in cold weather. You should also make sure to grease all of the moving parts on your motorcycle, including the motorcycle chain, gears, and bearings.
Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Use a good quality lubricant on all the moving parts of your motorcycle, including the chain, cables, and levers.
- Apply the lubricant generously, but wipe off any excess.
- In very cold weather, you may need to apply the lubricant more often.
Step 6: Keep The Gasoline Fresh
It’s estimated that fuel can go bad in as little as 30 days. The main culprit for bad fuel is moisture, which condenses inside the fuel tank and degrades the quality of the gasoline.
Before you store your motorcycle for the winter, you need to add a stabilizer to the gasoline.
A stabilizer helps keep the fuel fresh and prevents it from breaking down and going bad. It’s especially important in the winter when the temperature can cause the fuel to freeze and thaw, which can damage the engine.
To add a motorcycle fuel stabilizer for winterizing, simply pour it into the gas tank and fill it up as usual. The stabilizer will mix with the gasoline and help keep it fresh all winter long.
Step 7: Check the Fluid Levels
Just as your car needs oil and antifreeze to keep it running smoothly, your motorcycle has a variety of fluids that need to be at the proper levels. These include engine oil, coolant, brake, and transmission fluid.
Checking the fluids is a simple task that can be done in just a few minutes. Start by removing the dipsticks and wiping them clean. Then reinsert them and remove them again to check the levels. If any of the fluids are low, add more until it reaches the full line on the dipstick.
It’s also a good idea to check the condition of the fluids. If they appear dirty or discolored, it’s time to have them flushed and replaced.
Step 8: Take Care of the Battery
If you are planning to store your motorcycle battery during the winter, there are a few things you need to do in order to ensure it stays in good condition. First, make sure the battery is fully charged before you store it. This will help to prevent the battery from sulfating, which can shorten its lifespan.
Next, find a cool, dry place to store the battery. An unheated garage or shed is ideal. If you must store the battery in a heated space, make sure to keep it away from any heat sources.
Once you have found a suitable storage location, remove the battery from the motorcycle and clean it. Wipe down the terminals and case with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or grime.
Finally, store the battery in a plastic bag or container. This will help to protect it from the elements and prevent any damage.
In addition, I recommend that you buy a motorcycle battery tender. This is a device that plugs into a standard household outlet and provides a gentle, stable power supply to the battery, keeping it charged and ready to go.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using this device:
- Make sure the battery tender you choose is specifically designed for motorcycles. Some battery tenders are designed for cars only and using them on a motorcycle may damage the battery.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using it. Some of them need to be connected to the battery for a certain time before they start charging, so be sure to read the instructions carefully.
- Before starting the motorcycle, be sure to disconnect the battery tender and disconnect it from the battery. If this device is left plugged in while driving, it may damage both the battery and the battery tender.
Step 9: Clean Spark Plugs
It is the most important part of a motorcycle engine, and this needs to be in good condition to work properly. Over time, it can become fouled by oil, dirt, and other deposits. This can cause the engine to misfire or run poorly.
Cleaning the spark plugs is a relatively simple process, and it only takes a few minutes. You’ll need a spark plug wrench, a can of compressed air, and a bottle of spark plug cleaner. First, remove the spark plugs from the engine using the spark plug wrench. Next, use the compressed air to blow any dirt or debris out of the spark plug hole. Finally, spray the spark plug cleaner into the hole and let it soak for a few minutes. Rinse the plugs off with clean water and re-install them in the engine.
By taking the time to clean your spark plugs before storing your motorcycle for the winter, you’ll ensure that it will be ready to ride when the warmer weather returns.
Step 10: Cover Your Bike
Motorcycle blankets are designed to keep your bike protected from the elements, including cold weather. They are made of durable materials that will not rip, and they are also water-resistant to help keep your bike dry.
Another benefit of using a motorcycle cover for winter storage is that it will help to prevent rust and corrosion on your bike. The blanket will provide a barrier between the metal of your bike and the moisture in the air, which can cause rust and corrosion.
Motorcycle blankets are an inexpensive way to protect your bike during the winter months, and they will help to keep it in good condition for many years to come.
Do you have to winterize a motorcycle?
If you plan on storing your motorcycle for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to insulate it. This will help to prevent the engine and other parts from freezing.
Can you leave gas in a motorcycle over winter?
Leaving gas in a motorcycle over winter is not recommended. The gas will evaporate and leave behind a sticky residue that can damage the motorcycle’s fuel system. Or use a stabilizer.
What happens if you don’t winterize a motorcycle?
If you don’t insulate your motorcycle for winter storage, the motorcycle may not start in the spring. The motorcycle may also have rust and corrosion.
The Bottom Line
When the snow starts to fall and the temperatures drop, motorcycle enthusiasts have to start thinking about storing their bikes for the winter. This can be a difficult and frustrating process, but with a little planning and preparation, it can be done relatively easily.
Bruce was born in Atlanta. He started riding motorcycles when he was 10 and has been passionate about them since. Bruce says he feels absolute freedom when he’s on two wheels. He prefers riding his bike slowly and smoothly along a country road and hardly ever enjoys wildly speedy rides. With a strong Ducati Multistrada 1200 in the current stable, Bruce enjoys his super powerful, comfortable and easy rides. Ducati Diavel is the beast he’s currently dreaming about…