Taking the time to properly prepare your motorcycle for winter storage will protect it from damage while ensuring it cranks and functions as intended come spring of next year. Most people rarely, if ever, ride their motorcycles during the winter, simply because the temperatures and weather make it uncomfortable to. Rather than parking your motorcycle in the garage and leaving it for months on end, you should follow the steps outlined below to prepare it for winter storage.
One of the first things you should do to prepare your motorcycle for winter storage is change the oil. Oil serves a few key purposes, including regulating the engine's temperature by wicking away heat, and lubricating the gears so they glide more smoothly. When oil becomes dirty, it's unable to perform these tasks as efficiently as it should, which can open the doors to wide range of problems. So after riding your bike for the last time of the year, go ahead and replace the oil and oil filter.
Of course, you'll also want to wash and dry your motorcycle before tucking it away for winter storage. Allowing dirt and grime to settle on your bike for an entire season can wreck havoc on its metallic components. At best, it will cause your motorcycle to look tarnished and “cloudy.” At worst, it will begin to form rust, literally eating through your motorcycle. This can be prevented, however, by washing and drying your motorcycle before storing it for the winter.
A good rule of thumb is to fill up your gas tank anytime you intend to store your motorcycle for prolonged periods of time. Why is this important? Well, a full gas tank discourages rust from forming within the tank, protecting it from the inside out. For an even higher level of protection, try adding a gas stabilizer like Sta-bil. These products are designed to protect engines during periods of long idling/storage.
So, where exactly should you store your motorcycle? Ideally, it should be stored in a covered, climate-controlled environment where it's protected from the elements. Self-storage facilities are an excellent choice, as they offer the perfect storage environment. Units are concealed, locked, and you can adjust the temperature and humidity (in many of them, at least).
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