Yes, we know there is plenty of good riding time left for your street and dirt toys, but here in Idaho at GearHead headquarters, we know it’s likely we’ll get our first snow within a few weeks. The nights are getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are getting ready to turn colors. It time to start thinking about getting your motorcycle ready for winter. If you live in an area where you can ride all winter, then now is a good time to do some fall maintenance. Here’s a list of Fall/Winter storage tips we put together to keep your bike road worthy all winter
- Lube – Grease all the grease zerks on your frame and suspension so you don’t have old contaminated grease in your machine all winter. It’s also a good time to lube throttle and brake cables with some light oil.
- Air Up Tires – Tires can get cracked in the winter from low tire pressure. When the air inside the tires cools down, there is less pressure in the tires. At really low levels, the tires can start to crack from dryness and the weight of the bike on the low tire. Before you store your bike, make sure that your air pressure is where it should be.
- Change Oil – Used oil has a certain amount of metal, moisture, dirt, and contaminants from blow by gases, unburned fuel, and condensation build up. Leaving used oil in the motor over the winter may cause long term wear and damage to the engine. If the motorcycle will be stored for several months at a time, it’s also a good idea to start or crank over the motor at least once or twice a month to pump oil back up to the top of the motor.
- Fuel – With most gas stations now selling ethanol laced gasoline, extra care should be take to reduce build up in carburetors and engine components. If you use ethanol fuel, use a fuel treatment such as Star Tron Enzyme that is made to treat ethanol fuel. If you only use ethanol free fuel (a better way to go) then consider using Sta-Bil or another fuel stabilizer for winter storage. If you know you won’t be riding the bike over the winter, you can also drain the float bowl to prevent varnish build up from evaporated fuel. If you don’t want to drain the fuel from the carburetor, let the bike run for a few minutes every couple weeks or so to keep the float bowl full of full and to reduce varnish build up.
- Battery Maintenance – Cold weather and non-use is the biggest killer of batteries. If you want to leave the battery in your motorcycle over the winter, one of the best investments you can get is a battery tender. Keeping one of these on your battery all winter will keep it at full charge without overheating or overcharging your battery. For $30, they are a great investment for extending the life of your battery. If your battery is serviceable, make sure each cell is full. If any are low, add distilled water to top them off. If you don’t have a way to plug in a battery tender, you can always remove the battery and store it in a place where it won’t get below freezing.
- Cover – While not necessary, a cover will do a lot to protect your paint and bike from the weather, moisture, and UV rays, keeping it looking and functioning good for much longer. Even if you are storing your bike inside a garage for the winter, a good cover will keep dust and dirt from accumulating.
We hope you have enjoyed this tech tip. Do you have a tech tip question you need answered? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might answer your question in our next Tech Tip post.