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8 Steps to Prep Your Motorcycle for Winter Storage

Protect your bike’s battery, engine, tires, and paint so it’s ready to ride in the spring

By Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
12/19/2017

If you are one of the unfortunate souls who live in a climate that prevents you from riding your beloved motorcycle for several months out of the year, let me offer you my condolences. I too, live in a place where the thermometer plummets and the roads turn to ice, forcing me to use four-wheeled transportation for about five months out of the year.

When I’m on my game, I prepare my motorcycles for a long winter by following this simple checklist of tasks that takes just a few hours.

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8 steps to prep your motorcycle for winter storage snowy bandit
Most years I find myself in full-on denial about when my last ride of the season will be, and procrastinate putting my motorcycles away for the winter until it’s pretty obvious.

Following is a list of eight steps to take so your bike will be ready for you to ride as soon as the snow melts.

1. Clean the motorcycle

Dirt, condensation, and temperature fluctuation all come together over time to form a corrosion party. The easiest way to prevent this is by putting your motorcycle away clean and buffed. Now is the time to give it a good detailing job.

8 steps to prep your motorcycle for winter storage bike wash
If you’re lucky enough to still have warm weather, you can pull out the hose, bucket, and suds and give the bike a good wash.

If you’ve already missed the boat and put the hose away for the winter, you can still get some good spray and wipe cleaning products to use in the garage. Apply some WD-40 to a rag to wipe down metal parts (except brake parts), and apply a good coat of wax to all the painted parts. Some people like to leave the wax on over the winter and buff it off in the spring. This provides a nice protective layer of wax over your paint for the winter.

8 steps to prep your motorcycle for winter storage lubing chain
You’ll also want to lube moving parts such as the chain, cables, and sidestand and centerstand pivots.


2. Change the engine oil

Just like the motorcycle itself, you want your engine to be as clean as possible during storage, so it’s best to perform an oil/filter change to flush out contaminants just before winter storage. A product called Sea Foam has great water absorption properties, and a small amount can be added to your fresh engine oil. Sea Foam will also dissolve varnish deposits it encounters, and, most importantly, is safe for use inside an engine.

8 steps to prep your motorcycle for winter storage fresh oil
Once you’ve changed the engine oil and filter, run the motorcycle until it reaches operating temperature to allow the fresh oil to coat the engine.


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