How Should I Prepare a Motorcycle for Winter Storage?

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Motorcycle With Cover Parked on StreetPutting your motorcycle away for the winter to protect it from the elements and doing the right maintenance can ensure it is ready to hit the road in the spring. Block off a few days to follow these steps and extend the life of your bike.

Should I Change the Oil Before Putting My Motorcycle Up for the Winter?

Yes. The contaminants found in dirty oil can corrode your engine. Run your motorcycle for a few minutes, then drain the oil and replace it with the oil your owner’s manual recommends.

Also fill your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer, then start your bike. Let the stabilizer run through your fuel system. Never leave your gas tank half-empty over the winter. Rust can develop inside the gas tank if it is not full, and varnish can form in the engine if the gas does not contain a stabilizer.

How Do I Charge the Battery While My Bike is in Storage?

The best way to keep the battery charged without frying it is to use a battery charger and minder. An overcharged battery can not only be unusable, it can also explode. Remove the battery and connect it to a battery charger and minder.

What Maintenance Will My Motorcycle Need Before Winter Storage?

Check your tires and make sure they have the correct pressure. Lube the cables and chains and do any other maintenance your owner’s manual recommends. Some motorcycle enthusiasts suggest that you clean the carburetors in the fall to prevent “gunk.”

You should also prevent rodents and other small animals from nesting in your mufflers for the winter by either inserting motorcycle exhaust plugs in the mufflers or at least placing a plastic bag over the cooled muffler and securing it with a rubber band.

Should I Wash My Motorcycle Before Putting it in Storage for the Winter?

Yes. Dirt and bugs on your bike can cause corrosion or rust. After completing all the service and maintenance, give it a thorough wash, let it dry in the sun, then wax it to protect the paint.

What Should I Use to Cover My Motorcycle for the Winter?

Whether you store your bike indoors or outside, you should protect it with a cover. Do not just throw a plastic tarp over your motorcycle, because it will trap moisture. Your bike’s chrome, painted surfaces, and internal parts can corrode from trapped moisture. Use a breathable cover designed for use with motorcycles. Make sure your bike has completely cooled before you cover it.

Where Should I Store My Motorcycle for the Winter?

You have several viable options. Many dealerships offer indoor heated storage. You can also rent a heated storage unit or store your bike in your garage or shed. Heated storage is preferable to unheated. If you do not have an indoor location for your motorcycle to spend the winter, park it on a plywood sheet and cover it up, recommends Consumer Reports.

What Equipment Do I Need to Winterize My Motorcycle?

You will need these items to perform the required maintenance on your bike before putting it into winter storage:

  • Your owner’s manual
  • Bucket, sponge, car washing soap
  • Hose and water
  • Clean rags
  • Motorcycle oil and filter
  • Oil funnel and pan
  • Gasoline in a container
  • Motorcycle gasoline stabilizer
  • Battery charger and minder
  • Motorcycle exhaust plugs
  • Breathable motorcycle cover
  • Any parts and tools needed to complete additional maintenance your owner’s manual recommends

Should I Carry Insurance on My Motorcycle When It Is in Storage?

Yes. Verify that your motorcycle insurance will cover your bike for possible damage that can occur during storage. Your bike is expensive, so it is worth the cost of premiums to protect it, even if you are not regularly riding during Washington State’s winter months.

Max Meyers Law helps motorcyclists injured in wrecks that other drivers cause. If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, call us today at 425-399-7000. We also invite you to read our eBook, Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked.

Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.