Thursday, October 11, 2007

Winterizing Your Motorcycle

It's starting to get chilly out, but that doesn't mean you can't still spend some quality time with your ride! Fall and Winter are great times to do modifications and general maintenance on your motorcycle that you don't want to do during the summer because you'd rather be out riding it!

Before going into that, however, you want to make sure that your bike is ready for winter storage. It will not be on very much during the winter, and you want to make sure it doesn't suffer any damage from stagnant fluids or lack of use during those cold months.

First of all, make sure your bike is in a safe corner of your garage. This may seem obvious, but keep in mind that if you live in a cold climate, chances are you're going to have salt on the roads, and that can be harmful to your paint job if it comes in contact with your motorcycle. Keeping your bike away from airborne transfers can help keep its appearance up longer and keep you from having to replace cosmetic parts later. If you have a cluttered garage, consider getting a bike cover.

Second of all, always store your bike with clean fluids, especially gas and oil. Give your bike an oil change before it goes into storage - I will post a how-to on this in a future article. Get a stabilizer for your gas tank. You can find a bottle of stabilizer fluid at any dealership and at many hardware stores. This will keep the gas fresh and keep it from gunking up while it's not being used.

Finally, make sure you don't drain your battery. If your bike has a security system or computerized monitoring system, look in your manual for how to disable it so that it is not draining the battery all winter while your bike isn't in use. If you can afford it, purchasing a battery tender is not a bad idea - you can hook it up to your battery periodically during the winter to make sure your battery is fresh when you start out next season.

As a little side note, it also is not a bad idea to give your bike a pre-storage detailing, something I will also cover in a future article. Detailing your bike removes substances that may otherwise stay on all winter and corrode your paint and chrome. While you'll just end up having to clean your bike again in the spring, storing a clean bike is much better than storing a dirty one.

Anyone else have any pre-winter rituals they go through with their motorcycles? Feel free to share!

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