Winter is coming, and for car and motorcycle owners alike, everyone will have to prepare their vehicles for the chilly temperatures. If you don’t plan on riding in the winter, then that means it’s time to put your bike in storage. Here’s how to do just that, according to Consumer Reports.
Like a bear, you’ll have to find somewhere for your bike to sleep in for the winter. A heated storage space is what Consumer Reports recommends, but an unheated one, like most garages, will be fine as well.
Some dealerships may offer heated storage spaces, but that’ll likely cost you some money. If you can’t park your bike inside any storage space at all, then the next best thing to do is to park your bike over some plywood and then cover it up with something.
Final maintenance pass
Since you aren’t riding your bike in the winter, Consumer Reports says that now would be the best time to do anything maintenance related to your bike. This way, when it’s riding season again, you can save time on maintenance and just get on the road.
This maintenance pass should be comprehensive, and it includes tasks like changing your bike’s fluids, checking and balancing your bike’s tires, as well as replacing anything that needs to be replaced. Also, be sure to give your bike a good cleaning and to finish up by lubing up everything that needs to be lubed.
Changing your bike’s oil is also something that you should do before putting your bike to bed. Old and dirty oil can damage your engine, so you should still be changing your oil routinely.
There’s no need to buy a specific oil for winter either. Just change your bike’s oil like you’d usually change it. Consumer Reports says that you should warm up your engine for a few minutes so that your oil gets loosened up. This should make changing your oil easier and faster.
Add fuel stabilizer
Like oil, gas can get old and it can become a problem for your bike. To stop the gas in your bike from going bad, add some fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. Then let your engine run for a few minutes to ensure that the fuel stabilizer can do its job.
You’ll have to do some math to see how much fuel stabilizer you’ll need, so Consumer Reports says that it could be easier to mix the fuel stabilizer with the gas in a separate gas can. Either way though, don’t skip this step or else your motorcycle won’t perform as well when it wakes up.
Cover it up
No matter where you decide to shelter your bike, it’s not enough for your bike to rest inside a closed-off storage space, you still need to cover it up with something. Consumer Reports doesn’t recommending using a tarp for this, because a tarp can corrode parts of your bike.
Consumer Reports instead recommends buying a motorcycle-specific cover for your bike. You can find those at your dealer or online, but if you can’t, your next best bet is to find some cover that’s breathable. Breathable covers will prevent moisture from building up, and moisture is what corrodes the bike while it’s in storage.
Protect your battery
You can extend the life of your battery by keeping it charged, however, if you overcharge it, then it’ll do the exact opposite. In fact, overcharging a battery can kill the battery and it can potentially lead to an explosion.
Consumer Reports recommends buying a battery minder and charger that will keep your bike’s battery charged without overdoing it. This should set you back about $50, but it’ll keep your battery healthy and it’ll prevent it from exploding.