What Are the Most Important Steps to Winterizing Your Motorcycle?


Winterizing a motorcycle should not be an arduous process. It is actually quite easy to follow a simple set of instructions in order to get this job done properly. There are five systems that must be addressed: Tires, Fuel, Oil, Battery and Shelter.

When putting the bike away for the season, it is crucial to change the oil in order to maintain long engine life. Removing old oil also takes out the dirt that has bee trapped by this lubricant. It is important to adhere to the proper weight and oil type for the bike. For riders who like to do things for themselves, the motorcycle should be warmed up first to allow the oil to flow easily and remove more of the dirt particles. The filter should be replaced with a fresh one at this time as well. The gasket should be coated with a fresh layer of oil, and then hand turned about 1/4 after initial contact with engine frame. The drain plug can also be inspected and replaced if necessary. The plug should be put back in before supplying fresh oil to the crankcase. The bike then should be run to circulate the oil. The level can then be checked and topped off if necessary.

Fuel will go bad if left in the tank over the winter months, so it should either be removed completely or an additive such as Sta-bil can be dumped into the fuel tank in order to preserve the stability. Emptying the fuel from the tank is the best option since this guarantees that there will be no gasoline left in the system. A siphon pump can be purchased and used for this procedure. Or a more expensive pump can be obtained also to accomplish this task. With the latter, there are two hoses that must be used: one for inlet, the other for outlet. After connecting with a 12 volt battery, the pump will empty the tank completely. The bike can then be run to clear the carburetor. And in order to prevent rust, fogging oil can be applied to the gas tank. The cylinders can also be fogged after removing the spark plugs. Harley Davidson recommends that a fuel stabilizer be used to treat the gasoline in the tank. Any kind of proper stabilizer will do, as long as the directions are followed. This is typically around 1 fluid ounce of stabilizer for every 2.5 gallons of gasoline. This is good for 6 months once the fuel is circulated through the system. For a period in excess of that, the treatment amount should be doubled.

A properly maintained battery can increase the life of this unit up to 8 times the normal range, so the type of activity is well worth the small effort that is needed. Motorcycle systems are only designed to maintain a charge in the battery. Since the bike won’t be run, the unit will discharge by itself, which will necessitate buying a new one. A battery tender is a good investment and needs to be implemented before winter sets in.

It is good to obtain a model that can effectively work with any kind of maintenance free or lead-acid models. It should also switch to maintenance mode automatically to keep the charge. A full charge mode will take over if the charge ever drops. It should also have some safety features as well, including being spark proof and protection against reverse polarity.

The tires should also be inspected carefully since they are a major investment. They need to be inflated to the proper level first, and then the bike has to be moved at least once per month. In lieu of this method, a set of motorcycle stands can be obtained to take the load off of the tires.

The bike needs to be kept under cover in order to avoid exposure to harmful winter elements. It should be put in the garage and covered with a material impervious to moisture.

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