Prepare your motorcycle for storage during the off season
Consider these tips for how to winterize a motorcycle so you can be ready to roll next season.
When it's time to put your motorcycle into storage for the winter, here are some things you can do to help protect and prepare it for the next riding season. Remember to check your owner's manual for storage tips specific to your bike.
Things to consider before motorcycle storage
Where will you store your bike? At your home or offsite? In a motorcycle storage shed or completely outdoors? Cost might be a factor in your decision, too. And whether or not you will need access to the bike can also affect your storage decision.
- Indoor options:
- Your garage – where it is protected from the elements and can be more secure.
- A motorcycle storage shed that could be placed on your property.
- A rented garage-type space at an indoor storage facility.
- Outdoor options:
- Your driveway – it’s free and you can keep an eye on your motorcycle.
- A covered storage unit, which provides a roof but isn’t enclosed.
- An uncovered storage unit, which provides outdoor parking and might be gated and monitored. The bike is exposed to the elements, but it can be a more affordable option.
Prepping for motorcycle winter storage
Now that you’ve decided where you will store your motorcycle, there are several things to consider to help prepare it for winter. This way your motorcycle can be ready for you in the spring when you’re ready to hit the road again.
- Contact your insurance agent to review your riding intentions and coverages. Just because your motorcycle is in storage doesn’t mean you should cancel your policy – your motorcycle could still be damaged or stolen.
- Make any necessary repairs such as new brakes, tires, coolant change or other maintenance.
- Clean, wax and oil your bike to help prevent corrosion.
- Add fuel stabilizer to a gas tank that is about 90% full to help prevent damage.
- Change the oil and filter, then run the engine for a short period to circulate the clean oil.
- Clean or replace the air filter.
- Clean, adjust and lubricate the chain, if needed.
- Clean and lubricate all control cables, pedals and side stand/centerstand joints.
- Remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. If you choose not to remove the battery, think about attaching a tender or trickle charger to help keep it charged throughout the winter season.
- Remove the spark plugs and pour a tablespoon of engine oil into the cylinders, then start the engine to coat them.
- Inflate tires to the correct air pressure and try to move the bike every few weeks. Or, if possible, invest in a motorcycle stand to raise the bike so the tires are off the ground.
- Cover the exhaust opening to help prevent small animals from taking up residence.
- Consider covering your bike with a breathable cloth. Depending on where your bike is stored — inside or outside — may affect the type of cover you use.
Before you take your bike out of storage and onto the road again, talk with your insurance agent to make sure you've selected the right motorcycle coverage for your needs.