6 Things Every Biker Does: Winter Storage Edition

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6 Things Every Biker Does: Winter Storage Edition

IS YOUR BIKE READY FOR WINTER STORAGE?

 

Putting your motorcycle away for the winter seems like an easy process. So easy that when you say it out loud, that appears to be all the steps. “I’m putting my motorcycle away in a safe place for the winter, like my garage”, then it’s over, and your bike will remain until the pleasant spring weather rolls around and you can continue your riding experience where you left off the previous year.

 

While that short process seems good and simple, if you want to put away your motorcycle effectively without worry of future complications, then perhaps this guide is for you!

 

Putting away your bike and leaving it to sit seems like the proper procedure to do for the winter, but it is a mistake many new riders make, as they don’t factor in certain properties of the parts and fluids inside the bike.

 

 

There are 6 fundamental steps to keeping your bike safe for storage through the winter:

 

1. TREAT FUEL WITH MOTORCYCLE FUEL STABILIZER

 

Blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle tank

 

First thing to remember is the fuel tank. Old fuel can be fickle, since water can build up in the tank, leading to separation between the ethanol and fuel, with the ethanol sinking to the bottom of the tank. This can lead to fuel lines, seals and the tank itself succumbing to corrosion. To prevent this, you could run your bike every week for a few minutes, but if you read ahead into safe storage, you’ll understand why that might not be a viable option. Another option would be to remove the fuel, but the probability that you plan on siphoning the gas out of your tank is most likely low. That’s not a bad thing, as there is an easier process you can do to keep the gas from corroding.

 

Motorcycle fuel stabilizer is the answer to your old fuel problems! Just a touch of this magic red fluid poured into your full of fuel gas tank can leave you worry free for winter season. Just remember to read the instructions on the bottle of stabilizer to ensure you are using the correct amount.

DO NOT USE THE WHOLE BOTTLE! Typically you only need a few ounces. If too much is used, then the gasoline is diluted and the next time you ride, you may hear some terrible sounds and lose power.

 

2. RUN THE MOTORCYCLE UNTIL IT IS WARM
(approx. 5 mins)

 

H-D Screamin' Eagle Exhaust

After pouring the stabilizer, try to slosh it around. Once you feel you've given it a good shake, start the bike and leave it running for five minutes, or perhaps take it for a short ride around your neighborhood block, to ensure that the treated fuel circulates all the way through your bikes system and into the lines to protect them and the seals around them. Otherwise certain parts can get gunky from the diffusion of the fuel.

 

3. CHANGE OIL AND OIL FILTER

 

H-D Synthetic Oil quart

The next step for winter storage would be to change your oil and oil filter on your motorcycle. Whilst some think that it’s okay to wait until the spring to change your oil, since the bike is not running for a season, it’s my opinion that the filter and oil should be changed prior to winter storage, as not only will all the gunk from your oil sink down to the bottom of your oil pan, but if the oil sits too long and manages to mix with your fuel, the mixture becomes acidic and can damage the inner workings of your bike.

 

The process and location of each bike may be different, but just remember to drain the bike of its old oil, then replace the oil filter, and refill to an appropriate amount for the bike. Only fill to where the dipstick indicates where the cold oil level should be then run the bike until it is warm, and check the dipstick once again to ensure the oil level has reached the hot marker. If not, adjust as necessary. Since you've replaced the oil before storage, it’s one less thing to worry about during the spring, meaning you can hop right on your bike and ride away.

 

4. DISCONNECT BATTERY

 

H-D Lithium LiFe battery

Removing the battery is as simple as it sounds. That's exactly what you are doing. Some people tend to forget this step or don't bother, believing that their battery will survive the winter, something based on luck. And sometimes it will, but sometimes it won’t so why take the chance? As most may know, leaving any sort of battery in cold temperatures for extended periods can cause the battery to deteriorate, either to the point it’s dead, or at the very least, reduce its maximum charge and power output. Removing a battery takes a short few minutes to do, so why not do it, unless you want to spend a few hundred dollars every spring.

 

5. STORE BATTERY IN A WARM AND DRY PLACE

H-D Battery Tender Dual

 

Placement of a battery is simple. You want to keep your battery somewhere warm, but not too warm. Specifically, you want to find somewhere that is dry, with a temperature over 0 degrees Celsius to prevent freezing and cracking, whilst also keeping it under 35 degrees Celsius. If the battery is stored at a temperature past either range, it will discharge much faster. An ideal temperature to store it would be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 24 degrees Celsius. Even if it is kept in this temperature range, the battery will still discharge, just not as quickly. If you have one, or are open to investing in one, a battery tender will go a long way and keep your battery from dying if you keep it charged all winter, which like mentioned earlier, beats paying hundreds of dollars for a new battery altogether.

 

6. MAINTAIN TIRE PRESSURE THROUGHOUT THE WINTER

 

H-D White wall Tire - Softail

The final step to prepare for storage is more so ongoing maintenance. Checking tire pressure periodically is the only thing left to do. Cold temperatures can cause your tires to lose pressure, so using a gauge and refilling them using an air compressor is recommended.  Also, since the bike is remaining stationary for such a long period, it is recommended to put it on a jack or something which will keep its tires off the ground to avoid flat spots. If you lack a jack, putting the bike on its stand and rotating the tires once a week will work fine as well.

 

If something doesn't feel right, sound right or smell right, text or call Lori or Aaron at 519-438-1450 or  Schedule A Service!

 

- ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
My name is Shawn. I am 21 years old and I’ve ridden motorcycles on the road since I was 16, getting my motorcycle license the first chance I could, and i also have prior years of riding experience. My father bought me my first bike, a 50cc dirt bike when I was four years old, and I’ve been riding since, including a few years of motocross racing as a teenager. With both of my parents being motorcycle enthusiasts and riders, both of whom had social circles with people of similar interests, you could say I've been surrounded by “biker culture” and adopted it myself. While I may not be a technician, I know my way around a bike and I love to ride as much as I can (weather permitting).

 

Follow me on Instagram: @diabeteg

Categories: Riding Tips, Experience, Maintenance