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How to Store a Motorcycle for the Winter


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If you live somewhere with cold winters or anything other than year-round riding seasons, you’ll want to winterize and store your bike properly in the off-season.

Proper motorcycle storage will ensure you’re back up and riding as soon as possible when the weather warms.

Many riders also wonder whether or not they should cancel their motorcycle insurance during the winter. We’ve got answers for that too.

Improper winter storage can lead to:

  • Rust.
  • Leaking seals and gaskets.
  • Dead batteries.
  • Worn tires.
  • Bad gas.
  • Broken cables.
  • Seized engine.

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Basic Motorcycle Winterization

A simple winterization routine will suffice for most motorcycle owners, this includes:

  • Keep the gas, oil, and other fluids topped-off.
  • Charge the battery regularly or keep it on a tender.
  • Start the bike a few times a month and let it run to warm up to operating temperatures.
  • Roll and rotate the tires and check to make sure they are properly inflated – tires will naturally lose pressure in colder temperatures.

Where to Store your Motorcycle During the Winter

The best place to store a motorcycle in cold temperatures is somewhere indoors and warm, like:

  • A heated or insulated garage.
  • A heated storage unit.
  • Near an electric motorcycle heater.

Next best options include:

  • In a garage or parking canopy.
  • In a shed.
  • In your house.

Last resort options for motorcycle storage would be covered outside.

Motorcycle Winter Storage Costs

Getting your motorcycle ready for winter storage doesn’t cost too much.

Your biggest investment will be time in cleaning and prepping the bike to be stored.

If you plan to go the storage unit route, plan on spending anywhere from $50 to $200 per month, depending on where you live and the size of the unit.

For just storing a motorcycle a small sized storage unit around 5′ x 10′ should be big enough.

How to Prepare a Motorcycle for Long-Term Storage

The biggest thing you’ll need to take care of is the gas in the tank and the carbs.

Over time, gas will go bad and gunk up your carbs. That’ll cause a lot more downtime when the off-season is finished.

To fully winterize your motorcycle:

  • Add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank and run the engine so the stabilizer gets through the carburetors.
  • Fill the gas tank all the way with oxygenated gas and add the proper mix of stabilizer.
  • Turn off the petcock and drain the carbs completely.
  • Remove the battery and add distilled water to top it off if necessary.
  • Clean the battery and battery area with a water & baking soda mix.
  • Keep the battery charged throughout the winter by charging it at least once a month.
  • Elevate the bike to keep the tires off the ground, if possible.

Some other good steps to take to fully winterize your motorcycle for storage include:

  • Washing and waxing the bike.
  • Changing the oil and oil filter.
  • Change all other oil – fork oil, brake fluid, etc.
  • Remove spark plugs and add about a tablespoon of engine oil down each spark plug hole. Turn the engine over a few times and replace the spark plugs.
  • Cover your motorcycle with a breathable cover. Not a plastic tarp that will trap moisture.
  • If possible, keep the bike indoors.
  • Plug up any holes.
  • Once a month, turn the engine over a few times.
  • Keep the bike out of direct sunlight as to avoid any paint fading.

That’s all there is to it. With proper motorcycle winterization and storage, you’ll be back to riding in no time once the winter is over.

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