Preparing Your Motorcycle For the Winter

So here we are in October, and the overnight and morning hours are a little chilly here in the Northeast of the US. What does this mean? Winter is coming of course, and seems to be coming fast. Most days are now starting out in the low 40's, getting up to maybe the high 50's / low 60's, and then dropping down again into the low 40's overnight.

So, what are you to do if you're not planning on riding through the cold, winter months? You need to prepare your motorcycle and winterize it. There are a few steps you should definitely do to keep your motorcycle safe and warm through those frigid months.

  1. Get the gasoline out of your engine – How do you do that? Start up your motorcycle with the petcock to 'on' and let your bike run for a few minutes. After your motorcycle is idling just fine, flip the petcock to off and let the engine do it's thing by cycling through any fuel that is left in the lines. You'll know as soon as the fuel is out of the engine, as the motorcycle will just stop running (like it stalled). It's OK if you leave some fuel in the tank as it should not cause any damage. But leaving it in your engine could cause serious damage to your motorcycle.
  2. Get a battery tender - A battery tender will keep your motorcycle battery charged throughout the winter so that when you're ready to fire her up, you will not be left with a dead battery. Battery tenders are fairly inexpensive and can be picked up at your local motorcycle shop or order one online.
  3. Clean your motorcycle – you do not want to store your motorcycle for long periods of time with dirt, grime, tar, grease, bugs, etc. all over your bike. Not only is this bad for the paint and chrome, but it's just not right to treat your baby so badly. Clean her up before she takes that long winter's nap. My motorcycle is actually cleaned after every ride. It's only right that my girl be taken care of and treated well through the year.
  4. Find a good spot – Your motorcycle is going to be resting for the next few months, so make sure you find a good location for the winter. The best location would be an attached garage, the next would be an outdoor storage building, and the least favorite would be outside in the elements. The winter elements can do some serious damage if not carefully watched, so I'd recommend making sure your motorcycle is stored in an area that is enclosed. My motorcycle is always stored in my attached garage, and kept in a prime location so as not to get bumped or something dropped on her.
  5. Get a motorcycle cover – just because your motorcycle may be stored in an enclosed area, does not mean you should not further protect her. You can get a cover for as little as $ 20 or as much as $ 100. A motorcycle cover will make sure no additional dirt or dust gets on your bike, and will also help protect any unfortunate bumps or dings. I can not speak for bugs, as they'll find their way into any warm place during the colder months.
  6. Start her up when you can – If there's a decent winter day, sun shinning, and not terribly cold, go ahead and fire up your motorcycle. Let her run for a while, she'll thank you in the spring. Just remember to follow all the steps above to ensure you put your motocycle back to rest properly.