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How to Winterize a Motorcycle

With the change in weather, it’s time to winterize your motorcycle. Properly winterizing your bike helps protect it while in storage and helps ensure it will be ready to go in the spring. While you can hire someone to take care of winterizing, it’s pretty easy to do it yourself.  

You’ll need: 

  • Cleaning cloths 
  • Spark plug wrench 
  • Trickle battery charger 
  • High quality oil 
  • New oil filter 
  • Oil can 
  • Chain lube (if your bike has a chain drive) 
  • Fuel stabilizer 
  • WD-40 
  • Breathable motorcycle cover 
  • Plastic wrap 
  • Rubber bands 
  • Gloves 
  • Cleaning and waxing supplies 
  • Rear paddock or main centre stand if your bike doesn’t have one  

Here is the step-by-step process to winterizing your motorcycle: 

  1. Place your motorcycle on the main centre stand (or rear paddock stand).  
  2. Clean your bike.
    • Don’t spray water in the muffler opening
    • Clean and polish with appropriate metal polishes
    • Clean and lube the chain if your bike has one
    • Use WD-40 to spray off any built-up residues
    • Wax all painted areas and chrome
    • Clean and treat leather,
    • Make sure the bike is completely dry before storage
  3. Drain the gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer. This protects the gas tank from rusting and primes it for the next season. Run the bike so the fuel stabilizer can reach the carburetor and fuel injectors. Also, drain your float bowls if you have them. 
  4. Change the oil and filter. Leaving old oil can corrode engine parts as it becomes more acidic over time.  
  5. Attach the battery to a trickle charger. You may need to pull the battery. If you don’t have a trickle charger, you should charge the battery every four to six weeks, so it doesn’t become totally depleted. 
  6. Wax, lube or grease all moving parts. 
  7. Cover the bike with a dust sheet, or, if you’re storing it outside, invest in a quality breathable and waterproof cover. If the exhaust outlets are not fully covered, use plastic bags to prevent moisture from getting in. 

A secured, heated garage is the ideal storage space for your motorcycle but not everyone has access to this. Avoid storing your bike anywhere it is exposed to chemical fumes, mildew, dripping water and critters. Don’t store it next to any motors, freezers, fridges, furnaces or electric heaters as the ozone gas produced by these appliances may damage your motorcycle. Finally, if you’re parked on concrete, consider placing plywood or thick carpet beneath the tires.