Unless you happen to live in the Sun Belt, California, or one of the Southern states fortunate enough to have mild weather winters, it’s time to start planning to winterize your motorcycle. We’ve previously touched on tips for winterizing your RV and winterizing classic cars, but motorcycles have their own unique steps that vary slightly from cars and motorhomes. Following the steps below will help to ensure that your motorcycle makes it safely through the colder months and weeks of storage – safely making it to the warmer months where you can enjoy some more road time.
Top Off Fluids & Change Filters
Like other vehicles that are going to sit for long periods of time your motorcycle needs moisture. Topping off any fluids like gas and brake fluid will allow your bike to sit safely through months of inactivity without drying out any valves or tubes. After you get back from your farewell ride, change the oil and oil filter like you would during any other scheduled change. Once you’ve changed the oil and filter, check and clean or replace the air filter as well. With both filters swapped out, start up your bike and let it run for a few minutes to cycle the new oil through your engine.
Top Off Your Tires
Check your tires for proper pressure and top them off if needed. Now is also a great opportunity to check brake pads and tire tread as well. If either are looking a little worse for wear, make a note to check again and consider replacement before hitting the road when weather warms up.
Fresh and Clean
Take the time to give your bike a good wash and wax before putting it up for the winter. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your motorcycle put an extra heavy coat of wax on to protect your paint from the dry winter air. The extra wax will also protect against dust and dirt buildup, or any possible bugs while in storage. You’ll also want to take some time to rub a good leather protectant into the seat and any other accessories you might have.
Invest in a good quality cover. You’ll want to find a material that is durable, but that also allows air circulation to avoid any moisture accumulation. A sturdy cover is the best way to protect against accidental knicks and scrapes that can happen while working around your motorcycle in the off- months. It’s not a bad idea to tape off or lightly plug any openings with a cloth to keep any critters from taking up residence in your exhaust system.
Pull the Battery
Be sure to top off the cells with distilled water and keep the battery stored somewhere the winter weather won’t wear it out. Trickle chargers can also a good investment as keeping the battery fully charged when not in use will often extend its lifetime use.
If it’s your first time winterizing your motorcycle, check with fellow bike owners and see what they do to protect their rides in the off-season. A dealership or mechanic’s shop can also be a great help if you’re more of a solo rider.