Winter isn’t quite here yet, and that means it’s the perfect time to start thinking about how to winterize your bike. It’s something that no avid rider looks forward to—it means no more rides, no more fun until the ground thaws out. But if you want to protect your bike and prevent corrosion that harsh winter weather is sure to bring on, here’s how to make sure you get that motorcycle properly winterized.
- Don’t put it off just because you don’t want to do it. Unless you’re a daredevil on par with Evel Knievel, you probably aren’t going to be riding once the roads start icing over. You want your bike winterized before that starts. Don’t wait until the flakes are falling to start worrying about your bike. Your winterizing can be reluctant—as long as it happens.
- Get rid of any moisture. How? Start by starting the bike and warming up the engine. Moisture is what’s going to rust and corrode away your engine. Warm it up, and then turn it off. Take out your spark plugs and then use a turkey baster (preferably after it’s been used for Thanksgiving, and not before—just make sure it’s clean), and draw up some of the engine oil, squirting it into the spark plug holes. Make sure each hole is thoroughly coated and then put the plugs back in and drain the oil from the crankcase.
- Put fresh oil in the crankcase. Use the old filter, but put in new oil. You’ll replace the old filter and the oil in the spring, so the old one is fine for winterizing. This will make sure that there is no moisture accumulation that could damage your engine.
- Fill the tank all the way. Preferably, use a fuel that has fuel stabilizer. If your bike isn’t fuel injected, drain the float bowls, as fuel in this area will just congeal and clog up your bike come spring.
- Keep your battery charge. Like any vehicle battery, it’s naturally going to discharge as it is not in use over the winter. You can keep it charged by purchasing a Batter Tender.
- Cover it up or Get it off the ground. Store your bike in a garage or at the very least cover it and try if possible to get your bike off the ground. The goal being to keep your bike out of the harsh winter elements as much as possible.