- Fill your gas tank with fresh premium fuel that contains no ethanol (Shell premium contains no ethanol
or so the sign on the pump says). Premium fuel is recommended because most regular grade fuels contain ethanol and there are a bunch of folks saying it is not the best for power sports applications
especially if you are not using them everyday. More importantly, add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer. Make sure the tank is completely full for final storage
it will prevent condensation during winter temperature fluctuations.
- Either take your bike for a short 5 to 10 minute ride or warm your bike up in the driveway and do oil and filter change (this will also make sure that the fuel stabilizer has worked its way through the entire fuel system). Refer to your owners manual for oil change info. Careful of warm or hot components. Unless you have recently changed your oil (1,000 kms or less), it is a good idea to store your bike with fresh oil
it will also save you having to do it next spring. A bike should not be stored with old, well used oil
its acidity levels will be elevated and could harm your engine internals. Start your bike after the oil change for a minute or so to get the fresh oil circulating.
- Once your bike has completely cooled down, if the float bowl drain screws can be accessed drain the float bowls (this may not be necessary since you should have already added fuel stabilizer
but if the drain screws are easy to get to it is a bit of extra "insurance").
- Wash your motorcycle before storing. A coat of wax on the painted parts is a good idea. Always inspect your bike as you wash it
this is a great time to look for damaged, loose or missing parts. If your bike is being stored in a damp environment, consider using some light oil on the chrome bits
just make sure you remove it prior to starting the bike in the spring.
- Lube your chain (if applicable) after you have washed and dried your bike. Once again, it is not a bad idea to adjust your chain at the same time
it will save you having to do it next spring. Please note, chains are not tightened, they are adjusted to a specific tension spec which will be outlined in your owners manual.
- Find a safe, secure spot to store your bike. If your bike has a centre stand, it is best to put it on this stand in order to get as much weight off the wheels and suspension as possible. If you own a sport bike, there are various types of stands available that can raise the wheels off the ground. If not, the side stand will have to do. Remember to store your bike in a well ventilated area away from open flames, sparks etc. and electric motors.
- Remove the battery and if applicable check the electrolyte level and top it up to the correct level with distilled water. Put the battery on charge and fully charge it. The battery should then be stored in a warm, dry place. Never store your battery directly on a concrete floor
this could damage or permantely kill the battery (use a 2x4 to keep it up off the concrete). The battery should be charged every 4 to 6 weeks while in storage. Note: Some MF (maintenance free) batteries require a special charger.
- Since you have warmed the bike up to change the oil, double check if the gas tank needs to be topped up again. If so, make sure you use stabilized premium fuel
this will help prevent condensation and corrosion in the tank. If your bike has a fuel petcock, make sure it is in the off position during storage.
- Cover your bike with a breathable cover to help protect it and keep it clean. Careful of using a non-breathable cover (plastic tarp etc.) which could cause condensation and corrosion.
- Depending on where your bike is being stored, if vermin (mice rats etc.) are a concern, take the time to tape up the intake opening and exhaust outlet and put some moth balls under the cover
this will help keep the critters away (rumour is that dyer sheets do the same thing
keep vermin away
). Make sure you remove them before starting in the spring.
- Some folks go the extra step and remove spark plugs and put a small amount of oil (about a teaspoon) into each cylinder then rotate the engine a few times to prevent rusting. If you are storing your bike for more than just the winter this would be a good idea. Note: Be careful
removing spark plugs can be a tough job on the newer high tech bikes, and do not put too much oil into the cylinders.
- If you are storing a race bike that has water or water wetter in the cooling system, (read road race bikes) make sure you drain the water from the cooling system and replace it with proper coolant to prevent freezing and a very costly engine repair.
- Note: Lots of riders get the itch to go for a ride on the beautiful mid winter day
if you do this, remember to go through most of the storage procedure again. Also be aware that if you ride through a puddle or wet area you may have just coated your bike in salty water
do not put it away without thoroughly washing it again. Otherwise you will be in for a surprise when you pull the cover off it in the spring
the salt will not only corrode chrome but will also pit any aluminum parts.
- Finally, remember that thieves don't go away in the winter. Keep your bike locked up at all times and out of view if possible.