Russ Brown – Winterizing your bike for storage.

There are many parts of the nation that get cold enough to necessitate “winterizing” a motorcycle.  The cold temperatures will often wreak havoc on bikes and taking some time to provide TLC to your ride before it goes into hibernation will be an action you will thank yourself for come spring riding season.
General Maintenance:  Apply lubrication to cables and chains and ensure the tires are properly inflated.  If the tires are showing little tread remaining (minimum tread depth on a motorcycle tire down the center line should be 2/32”), now is the time to replace the tires.  “Maintain air pressure in the tires. If you have room, push it around in the garage so it’s not sitting on the same area of the tires the whole winter,” says Colorado motorcycle safety instructor Abby Clabough.  “If you know it will be a month or more, consider putting it up on a stand that takes it off the tires. This helps the tires and the suspension.”
Change Oil:  Give your bike a fresh, tasty serving of motorcycle oil to ensure the fluids are clean because you don’t want old oil’s dirty contaminants to corrode your engine.
Fuel stabilizer:  Add some stabilizer to the gas tank and allow it to run through the bike’s system while it’s idling for several minutes.  “The stabilizer keeps the fuel from deteriorating, and filling the tank helps prevent condensation and keeps rust from forming,” says Clabough. Stabilizers can be purchased at any dealership or auto supply store.
Wash and polish:  After the maintenance and fluids, make certain the bike is finely detailed from leather conditioner for the seat, windshield bag, and saddlebags to the chrome and paint.
Battery:  The cold weather can tax a battery quite a bit.  If a bike is not kept on a battery tender during the winter months, it’s not unusual to be required to immediately replace the battery before spring riding begins.  Granted the battery will probably fire up after being placed on a charge, but a weak battery can place a heavy load on an electric start motorcycle needing to fire up.  However, the best option is to simply use a battery tender as “it saves your battery, and it’ll be ready to crank right up when you’re ready to ride,” says Clabough.
Storage: Now that the bike is in tip top shape, where should it be stored?  The optimum location is an enclosed garage; however, not everyone has access to one.  Some riders opt to contact their local dealerships to have the bikes wintered within the storage facility at the shop and others will go with placing the bike under any type of shelter they can find whether it’s a garden shed or a carport.  If none of these options are available, at the very least, place the bike on the pavement (or if you only have a yard, put a sheet of plywood underneath the bike) and be sure to cover it fully with an approved, breathable cover.  A plastic tarp may be easy to find and inexpensive, but condensation can build up underneath and begin corroding the bike.
Insurance coverage:  There’s no sense in paying for full coverage if your bike is going to be sitting in storage for the next few months.  Be sure to call your provider and let them know the bike is off the road the next few months and request that your coverage be lowered.
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