With snow right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about end-of-season motorcycle maintenance. Wondering how to winterize a motorcycle? Here are our top tips to help you keep your bike in the best possible condition through the cold months.
Winterize your engine.
Before you put your back away for the winter it's important to winterize the engine. Here's what we recommend:
- Take your bike out for one last ride. Top off your tank with fresh gas before you get home.
- Once you're home, or where you're storing the bike, add the suggested amount of fuel stabilizer, start the motorcycle and let the stabilizer cycle through.
- Change the oil and oil filter. Check the air filter and clean or replace it.
- Check your brake pads, tires, and belt or chain for wear. Lubricate any points that need it, like the brake pivots and gear linkages.
- Take the battery out, top the cells off with distilled water and store it at room temperature in a dry place.
- Check the pressure in both tires to make sure they’re filled to the proper level.
Clean and dry the exterior.
A lot of steam is released when the bike is wet and the engine is hot, especially if it’s stored in a cold garage. This creates the perfect conditions for corrosion to form. The warm steam can easily condense in crevices and create water spots where you wouldn’t normally find them, such as fuse boxes and electrical connections. During the winter, this moisture can get caught in pipes and cause rust inside your gas tank or can cause corrosion elsewhere as temperatures drop. Before putting it away for the season, you should dry your bike thoroughly and use the following regimen:
- Wash your motorcycle really well to scrub off all the road grime.
- Wax the paint and chrome, leaving a thick coat of wax on the motorcycle.
- Put leather protectant on your leather seat and any other leather parts of your bike.
- Close off any openings with tape or stuff them with some kind of cloth to help keep critters out.
- Protect your motorcycle with a cover to help keep moisture at bay.
Read more: End-of-Season Motorcycle Maintenance
Pack up your accessories.
As riding season winds down, it’s important to prepare all your gear for storage too, especially your helmet. For the most part, the shell, visor, and vents can all be cleaned with gentle soap, and the inner padding can either be thrown in the wash or soaked in a solution of water and baby shampoo. Abrasive cleaners and harsh chemicals tend to strip the color and can compromise its protection capabilities. Be sure to dry the helmet completely- inside and out- before packing it away to prevent mold and corrosion.
If you own a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet, you should refer to the owner’s manual for optimal cleaning techniques and end-of-season care. Never store it when still wet as that could damage the electronic parts.
For oil changes, fluid services, and most other end-of-season maintenance you’ll need professional service. At V&F, we’ll put your motorcycle on an effective maintenance schedule that’s perfectly suited for your vehicle and your driving habits. Our technicians replace spark plugs, transmissions, fuel filters, inspect clutch cables, air filters, brake pads, and much more! After our thorough inspection and diagnosis, we can perform any repairs, replacements, and adjustments that are needed. Our friendly experts will make sure you receive the answers, maintenance services, or repair solutions you need. Feel free to stop by our facility next time you’re in the area- we gladly accept all of our walk-ins, and look forward to serving you and servicing your bike!
This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.