October 7th, 2015
When it comes to taking care of their favorite investment, bikers don't mess around. Most give their rides the best fuel, motorcycle insurance plans and personal care and maintenance. Make sure you're giving your baby the careful prepping it deserves, with our tips for proper motorcycle winterization:
Before you get started, you'll most likely want to gather some motorcycle specialty items. The winter-prepping process will require some minor maintenance work, so be prepared for a day of getting a little dirty in your garage. Some recommended items to include on your list are as follows:
- Battery charger
- 4 to 5 quarts of high-quality motor oil
- One oil can or tray
- Potentially a new oil filter
- Chain lube
- Fuel stabilizer
In addition, you may want to bring along a few useful household items. Among these are plastic kitchen wrap, a polishing cloth, rubber gloves and rubber bands. If your bike doesn't have a protective covering, you may want to pick up one as well. Again, the work area may get dirty, so it's also never a bad idea to gather a few old newspapers and spread them around your bike so as not to permanently stain your garage floor.
You'll want ride the bike until the tank is near empty, then top it off with a fresh tank of gas. Before you ride home, RideApart recommends you add your bike's prescribed amount of fuel stabilizer directly to the fuel tank. The stabilizer will mix with your gasoline through your bike's system. The purpose of using a fuel stabilizer is to help prevent the gasoline that will be sitting in your tank from degrading and turning gunky.
Once you make it home, begin checking systems on your prewarmed engine. According to BikeBandit, you'll want to be sure to check your coolant and antifreeze levels, as you will most likely be storing your bike in a cold place for the next four to five months. This is the point when you'll want to change out your oil. Lay the oil tray under the release valve, empty the oil and replace with 4 to 5 quarts of the fresh stuff.
Lube the chain, and all other moving parts, as this will keep them from freezing up over the long winter.
One last fluid you'll need to take care of is the carburetor. Motorcycle Superstore recommended that you drain your float bowls before putting the bike away for winter. This can be messy, so it's best to do it outside and before bringing it into the garage.
A motorcycle's battery must be given special attention, as it will lose its charge over time. While you can unhook and remove the battery from its lodging in your bike's holster, a better solution is to purchase a battery tender. Many bike professionals recommend a battery tender because they will keep your battery topped off without overcharging. These will leave your bike ready to start come spring, and can run you less than $30.
Check tire pressure and inflate as needed. Replace tubing or address any easily apparent problems with the tires or wheels themselves.
Clean thoroughly and remove any bug splatters or bird excrement. Once you've gone over all surfaces with a rag, thoroughly dry it. BikeBandit recommended an electric leaf blower as a good way to get all of the nooks and crannies.
"Speaking of nooks and crannies, rodents love them."
Speaking of nooks and crannies, rodents love them. They often locate a plethora of potential homes on and inside your stationary bike during the winter. This issue is no joke and to avoid them building a makeshift home and potentially ruining your engine, you'll want to plug up all openings with steel wool, or even densely wadded rags. To finish, add a layer of wax for an extra layer of protection.
Before finally covering the bike, raise both tires off the ground using your bike stand. This step isn't mandatory, but is highly recommended to take pressure off your suspension and lengthen the life of your tires. If you've got just a general bike cover, rubber bands or bungee chords will be handy at this point to thoroughly cover the bike. Be sure to store in a dry place out of the way, and simply count down the months until you get to hit the road once more.
Find out more about how to preserve your favorite toy with motorcycle insurance quotes from CoverHound.com.