The Rider Workshop | Winterizing Your Motorcycle
Winterizing your motorcycle, it’s that time of the year again folks! Motorcycles are being put to bed for the season. Don’t get us wrong there is still riding to be had, but the weather can turn at any moment in Alberta, so we want to put the idea of winterizing your bike in the front of your mind. That way when the snow starts to stick, you’re prepared.
1: Secure a storage location for your bike. Make sure your location is safe, preferably indoors with or without heat. With this in mind, make sure you have insurance on your motorcycle even during the non-riding months to not only protect it but to still be able to ride it if the weather is amazing.
2: Ride your bike one last time, taking care to get it up to full operating temperature. While you’re out, fill the gas tank to almost full, then add a fuel stabilizer once you’re home. This will prevent the fuel from degenerating while protecting the inside of your tank from rust. Run the bike for five more minutes, allowing the stabilizer to mix fully with the fuel.
An oil change prior to storage is a good habit to get into!
3: It might be a good idea to give the bike an oil change before you store it. The engine should still be a bit warm from that ride, but cool enough to handle. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual, draining the old oil, fitting a new filter and adding new oil. Some recommend using an inexpensive oil for this change as you’ll want to change the oil again in the spring. Once you’re done, start the bike up, let it warm up and the oil will circulate through the engine, providing protection against corrosion.
4: Clean around the cylinder heads and remove the spark plugs. Wipe them down with something like WD40 and squirt some into the cylinders via the spark plug holes. This will keep the cylinder walls lubricated, again protecting against corrosion. Reinstall the plugs and, if your bike has carbs, now’s the time to make sure the float bowls are drained and the fuel is switched off.
Don’t forget your battery!
5: Remove the battery from the motorcycle and store it where the temperature does not drop below freezing. If you’re storing your bike in a heated location where it will not freeze, there’s no need to remove the battery. However, you should clean the terminals and leads, and lubricate them with dielectric grease to prevent corrosion. A battery tender/trickle charger is a good idea, too. They will help maintain your battery’s charge, keeping it in good condition and ready to go once spring arrives.
Time to clean!
6: Clean and polish your bike, as dirt, oil, bugs, and other road gunk can cause damage to your paint and chrome during storage. Given that, make sure it’s 100 percent dry before you cover it up and lock it away. Once it’s dry, go over the metal parts with WD40, applying a light mist to the chain, frame and wheel rims. Once the exhaust pipes have cooled for the final time, you can spray some WD40 down (just a small amount is sufficient) then cover the ends with plastic bags. This will prevent moisture from creeping through the exhaust and into the engine. To ensure an airtight seal, zip ties or rubber bands can help. Don’t apply WD40 to brake rotors, brake pads or tires. In the event that you do, wipe them dry with a clean cloth.
7: Some riders like to use a stand for their bikes while in storage, unloading the suspension and tires while getting the bike off the ground. However, it’s perfectly normal to park the bike as usual, on the side or center stand. Cover it with a breathable cover to keep dust and damp off. Do not use plastic or a tarp to cover the bike. Because these items do not breathe there could be condensation build up underneath if the temperature changes at all.