Another motorcycle riding season is ending and it's time to winterize. Let's prepare your bike for cold storage by following these neatly organized steps.
Consult your schedule to ensure you have ample time to complete the process (between one and three hours, depending). The information below provides a fast track summary of what’s to be done. Check back often for a soon to be published, in-depth explanation of each individual step.
Our order of operation aims to create a workflow that’s as efficient as possible. In the event that you’re unable to complete the effort in one session, try and coordinate your stopping points logically and with safety in mind. It’s better to finish step seven, for example, once it’s started. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself reinstalling the spark plugs so that dust and debris don’t enter the engine. That means restarting step seven at the next opportunity.
Once finished, avoid running the engine for the duration of the storage period. Doing so attracts condensation courtesy of combustion byproducts in the oil. Ready to begin? Great! Let’s start by checking to be sure you’ve got these products or a preferred substitute on hand.
Steps To Complete:
(1) Thoroughly wash, degrease and detail the bike.
(2a) If you have an O, X or Y-ring chain, wipe it clean using a rag and warm, soapy water. Otherwise use kerosene and a gear brush.
(2b) Dry it gently with a rag.
(2b) Apply chain lubricant, i.e. chain wax.
(3a) Add Stabil (blue) and/or Seafoam to a near-empty gas tank, then top off with fuel.
(3b) Start the bike and allow the chemicals to mix into the carburetor and engine.
(4) Once the engine is warm, change the oil and filter.
(5a) Turn off the petcock and run the engine until it dies.
(5b) Allow the engine to cool.
(5c) Drain the carburetor float bowls (there’s still some gas in there).
(6a) Using a rag, gently wipe oil over the stationary tubes and seals on the front forks.
(6b) Straddle the bike, hold the front brake and work the front suspension up and down. This will keep the rubber seals from drying out and protect the exposed fork tubes.
(7a) Remove the spark plugs.
(7b) Using a turkey baster, apply motor oil to the cylinders. About one teaspoon (25cc) works well.
(7c) With the plugs still out, turn the engine over (shift to high gear and spin the rear wheel).
(7d) Clean and gap the plugs before putting them back in.
(8a) Remove the battery.
(8b) If necessary, top it off with distilled water.
(8c) Apply a thin coat of grease to the terminal and connectors (prevents corrosion).
(8d) Connect the battery to a tender and store it in a safe location.
(9) Lubricate the cables, suspension and pivot points.
(10a) Apply a fabric treatment to the seat, selecting a product based on it’s intended purpose.
(10b) Apply Armor All to the plastic and rubber parts (chassis/non-mechanical only).
(11a) Inflate your tires to the maximum recommended pressure.
(11b) Place plywood, MDF or thick carpet between the tires and floor – or – suspend both wheels.
(12a) With a clean cloth, spray/wipe fogging oil or chrome polish over the non-painted metals.
(12b) Apply a thin coat of Turtle Wax over the painted metals.
(12c) Spray a little WD40 into the tail pipe(s) and drain holes.
(13a) Lightly stuff a small garbage bag into the end of each exhaust pipe.
(13b) Cover each exhaust pipe with a tall garbage bag and seal it with a rubber band.
(13c) Cover the air intake and drain hoses with plastic wrap + rubber band.
What’s Your Motorcycle Winterization Process?
The above instructions are taken from multiple sources. Some prefer a more simple approach while others might feel these aren’t enough. What do you do to protect your motorcycle during the cold months? How does the bike respond come spring? Your input is invited. Post an article!