When it comes to motorcycles, maintenance is cheaper than repair. This is especially true during winters, as the cold can be surprisingly harsh on the mechanics of your motorcycle.
So, when the winters arrive, it is time to give your motorcycle some special care and attention. Some reasonably easy maintenance work now, can save you from hefty repair bills later on.
Many novice bikers don’t know how to winterize a motorcycle. Thus, when spring arrives they end up spending a significant amount of money on replacing batteries, cleaning rusty gas tanks and rebuilding carburetors.
If you don’t want to end up suffering from the same fate, give this guide a thorough read. You’ll thank yourself for doing this, when you’ll be wanting to hit the roads again and your bike is in perfectly good condition to do so.
Winterizing Your Motorcycle
If your idea of winterizing a motorcycle is throwing a cover over it throughout winter, you’re in for some nasty surprises and huge bills. So, how to winterize a motorcycle ? Winter care for your motorcycle involves several steps to ensure that your bike is in peak condition, when the next riding season arrives.
Your motorcycle’s biggest enemy during winter is moisture. Most of your winterizing efforts should be aimed at protecting your bike from moisture.
Your fuel system, tires and other moving parts also take a toll during long storage periods. So, you’ll need to look after them, too.
With the steps provided in this guide, you’ll be able to take good care of your motorcycle, and keep your bike ready to hit the roads when spring finally arrives.
1. Surface Protection
During winters the surface of your motorcycle is exposed to moisture, and any water spots or tiny debris that sit on the surface can corrode the finish of your bike permanently.
Therefore, it is important to wash your bike and dry it off completely to get the moisture off all surfaces. Remember, moisture can seep into the nooks and crannies of your vehicle.
Use a leaf blower to remove moisture off surfaces that aren’t easily accessible. After you are done cleaning, add a coat of wax, as this will act as a barrier against moisture and rust.
Finally, spray exposed metal surfaces with any penetrating oil ( water displacing spray) such as WD-40, to protect them from corrosion.
2. Change Your Oil And Filter
Your lubrication system will be better preserved during the harsh winter months if you add fresh oil to it. Also, changing oil is the last thing you’d want to do before hitting the road, when the new riding season actually begins. So, change your oil when you store your bike for the winters.
You will also need to protect your engine’s internals against moisture, if you’re going to be storing your bike for a long period of time (say 4 to 6 months or more).
This is because the cold winter air can cause moisture to gather within your engine, corroding your pistons and cylinder walls. Coating your engine lightly with oil should do the trick.
3. Lubricate The Moving Parts
Moving parts such as chain drive, cables, controls, pivot points, etc. should all be lubed before storing away your bike for the winter. This will prevent moisture and rust from building up in them.
As a rule of thumb, any part of your bike that needs lubrication at any point of time, should be lubricated once again before the winter. This will ensure that your bike functions smoothly once you’re ready to hit the road again.
4. Preparing The Fuel System
Gas tanks have a tendency to rust when not in use. To prevent your gas tank from rusting over the winters, it is important to fill it up with fuel that has been treated with a fuel stabilizer.
A full tank will prevent moisture from building up within the walls, keeping your gas tank safe from corrosion. The fuel stabilizer will also protect your gas tank from gum, varnish, rust and corrosion.
5. Safeguard Your Batteries
When your batteries stay hooked up to your bike, they have a tendency to self discharge over time. To protect your batteries simply unplug them from the bike during storage.
Clean the batteries and make sure they are corrosion free. Add a layer of grease to protect them from moisture.
6. Protect Your Tires
If your motorcycle is allowed to sit stationary for a long time, your tires can develop flat spots. Motorcycle stands can help you with this, by keeping your bike tires off the ground during storage.
They can also help you with your cleaning and repairs, so it is a good idea to invest in one of them.
If you’re storing your motorcycle in sub-zero temperatures make sure you have adequate antifreeze in your coolant system. Water in your coolant system expands when it freezes and this could damage your motorcycle from within.
8. Plug Out Pests
Do not make your motorcycle a ‘mouse house’. Mice and rodents often look for shelter inside exhaust pipes during the cold winter months.
They are also notorious for eating anything from wires to air filters. So make sure you plug all the openings in your motorcycle like the exhaust pipes and air intakes. However, don’t forget to unplug them when you’re ready to fire up your bike again.
9. Get A Motorcycle Cover
Whether you are storing your bike indoor or outdoors, it is best to get a good quality cover for your motorcycle. A quality motorcycle cover will protect your bike from dust and moisture. It will keep your motorcycle safe from rust and corrosion, too.
10. Protect Your Leather
You will need to add a layer of leather protectant on your seats to protect them from moisture. If you have saddle bags or other leather components that are detachable, it will be advisable to take them off the bike and store them indoors during the winter.
With these steps in mind, your motorcycle is now ready for it’s winter hibernation. While the winters may bring a frown on many riders’ faces, it is actually a great time to catch up on critical maintenance work that your bike needs.
A little bit of winter preparation goes a long way, in maintaining your bike’s performance. When the spring finally sets in, you and your bike will be ready to hit the roads once again.