Winterize your motorcycle
Winter….. the one season every Motorcyclist cannot wait to be over. The season every motorcyclist wishes would not ever arrive or at least be short and sweet. Unfortunately there is not much we can do about this reality living in Canada. The cold weather & temperature fluctuations can really take a toll on your motorcycle, the chemicals, fluids and systems were not built to be exposed to these elements. We have put together a few points to focus on when storing your machine for the winter.
Your engine, most people would agree has a very important role in the operation of your motorcycle. It makes all the other components have a purpose, it brings power , speed, momentum and happiness to it’s rider. With this great responsibility comes a need for care. Your oil acts as the lifeblood of the machine. Its gets super heated and forced around your engine under immense pressure. After every combustion explosion byproducts are left behind and become a part of the pool of oil circulating around your engine. The particulate ends up sitting on the walls of your engine and can cause damage. A simple oil change is a good way to prevent this problem. Once the oil is changed, take your machine for a quick ride to rinse the walls of your engine and prepare it for its winter rest.
If your machine is going to be sitting in an unheated environment it is always a good idea to check your antifreeze. A simple antifreeze test is an easy way to save yourself some serious money in the spring. If your antifreeze is not fit for the winter it will freeze within the engine and radiator and could possibly crack your engine head.
The fuel in your Carburetor over the winter will begin to degrade and break down into it’s original components. When your carburetor sits full of fuel for the winter the ethanol found in most fuels here in Canada will start to line the inside of its container with a varnish. This over time will seal off orifices so fuel cannot pass into the engine thus making your bike not start. We recommend that you use a good fuel stabilizer to keep the gas in your tank from breaking down and run your machine for a few minutes prior to storage. Be sure to drain your carb before storage and this will make things easy for you come spring.
Your gas tank over the winter becomes its own sealed environment. As the temps rise and fall the moisture in the air trapped inside will condensate. This moisture will sit on the walls of the tank and can cause rust. Rust can clog injectors and jets and can be a major headache for you come spring. An easy way to avoid this is make sure your tank is full when storing your machine. This way there is no exposed metal on the inside of your tank and your rust problem is not a problem anymore. Be sure to also add fuel stabilizer to the tank and run the bike prior to storage.
When parking your machine for the winter your tires are left supporting the weight of your bike for 6 months strait. This weight mixed with falling temps can cause tire pressures to fall. As a result your tires can get slightly deformed in extreme cases.
1 – Using wheel stands is the best remedy and backing off your tire pressure slightly. This relieves the tires from any stress.
2- If you do not have stands fill the tires up to maximum pressure rated on the sidewall before storage. Make yourself a note come spring to check your tire pressures again. Driving on highly inflated tires can be dangerous.
The body work including your fairings, frame, tank and other body panels are all subject to whatever environment you store your bike in. Moisture is the number one cause for corrosion so making sure your exhaust tip and air intake are blocked are a good way to prevent corrosion from happening inside your engine. Prep your body work for winter storage with a generous amount of wax. This will help protect the paint and finish for the winter. Also your chain will appreciate a good cleaning and lubricating, this will help fend off any rust that it may encounter over the next few months.
Your motorcycle battery contains 2 elements that give it the ability to create electricity. If left unused it will discharge and loose its strength to crank over your engine. If left long enough it will loose all of its charge and may loose it ability to receive a charge. The cold temps will accelerate this loss of charge. A simple way to avoid this is to remove your battery from the motorcycle. Hook the battery up to a charger and store inside. Once charged remove from charger and store somewhere warm. Come spring hook it back on the charger overnight and you will be ready to ride. If you do this every year your battery should last you a long time.
If you are able to tick off all these boxes your machine should give you no trouble in the spring and these tips will keep more money in your pocket to spend on gas. Ride safe my friends