5 Steps to Winterize Your Motorcycle
We hope you had a great riding and holiday season – and we also hope you keep riding through the Winter. However, if you have to put your bike/ATV/UTV away for the cold weather, her are a few tips for winterize your motorcycle, ATV or UTV to protect it and make it easier to fire up in the Spring.
Step 1 – Managing Fuel
With today’s fuel, sometimes it’s not that good and fuel starts oxidizing and can start going bad in 7 days. We recommend a good ethanol treatment that treats and stabilizes the fuel. There are several good brands out there – but we recommend “Liquid Performanc” (link). You just follow the instructions, which typically says 1oz per 5 gallons of fuel (or cap in a full tank). A bottle can last you a long time.
Also, many people think only carburetors only gum up. Fuel injectors can get plugged with bad fuel as well. With modern bikes the fuel injectors are designed to maximize performance and have special spray patterns and those nozzles can get clogged if not properly managed. We recommend run a little two stroke oil through the fuel (if you are not sure how to do this – call us). In spring – fire the bike up – get up to running temperature and see if it runs like when you parked it. If not a dirty injector can be the culprit.
Last – fill your gas tank to the very top before you park it for the season – and then drain that fuel in the spring (don’t use it) – and load with fresh fuel, with ethanol additive.
Step 2 – Battery Maintenance
Disconnect your battery from the bike and clean the outside. You should consider hooking the battery up to a battery tender. Check your battery, but generally we like to use at least a 1.5 amp or greater tender. Most are pretty good, we have “2.0 AMP Tender“ at the shop so come by or give us a call and we can ship one out to you. We have gotten away from the 0.75 amp tenders because of problems with not maintaining the battery to its proper specification. We also don’t typically recommend the smart tenders – they seem to be too smart for their own good. In the spring, check the voltage and for a standard battery it should be 12 volts plus and lithium batteries 13.2 volts plus. If your into high performance or cold weather riding, we have the “Super B” battery – which guarantees a five year life and does not suffer from many of the problems lithium batteries .
Step 3 – Rubber Parts
You should consider coating all the rubber/vinyl parts (and potentially metal components succeptible to rust – such your o-ring/x-ring chains, steel sprockets (if not coated), any nut/bolt that has coatings knocked off) with a good quality silicon spray (and WD 40 is not it). We recommend silicon spray. In the spring – be aware, the rubber parts might be slippery, so clean them up before riding.
Keep special attention to fork seals, wipers and air boots – they seem to be the main parts that dry out when you use cleaners on them. You can consider spraying those parts with silicon spray with almost every ride.
DO NOT SPRAY ON TIRE TREADS – Dangerous
Step 4 – Tires
You should over-inflate your tires (maybe an extra 10 psi for tubeless and up to 20 psi with tubes) – but be careful. If you have any concerns, don’t do it. You should treat the side walls (NOT THE TREAD) with silicon spray (see Rubber Part’s Blog). Never spray the treads.
If possible, get the wheels off the ground. For dirt bikes, we recommend a standard moto cross bike stand. For street bikes, if they are no equipped with center stand, you can use a Pitbull stand or some people work up hoist type systems. If you don’t have a stand – at least lay day a piece or rubber/carpet/card board to keep it off the concrete.
ATVs – you can overinflate by about 5 lbs.
DO NOT SPRAY ON TIRE TREADS – Dangerous
Step 5 – Storage for Bikes
Storing options can include a variety of options. You can store your bike inside, in a conditioned area, that is best because it helps avoid excess moister and avoids extreme temperature changes – which hurts your bike by expansion/contraction of the various parts. If you cannot keep inside – at least get it under some type of cover. Try to avoid a barn at all cost due to dust, must and mold.
Bike covers are a good choice for a toking option – but the covers need to be of good quality (good ventilation) otherwise, they can trap moister inside and can cause rust and other issues.
If mice are an issue – you can try to put something around the bikes to deter mice/rats – as they can reek havoc on various parts. You can online for home remedies in this area.
When you are ready to ride again, don’t start the bike inside – take it outside, load with fresh fuel, wipe off the silicon from the rubber/vinyl parts, check battery and tire pressure (deflate to normal pressure) and let it idle for at least 20 minutes (with an occasional revving the engine) otherwise, moisture can collect in the systems and cause more problems.
We have a service department that can take care of all of your winterizing needs. Please give us a call if you would like to bring your bike in to be winterized. This will allow you to be ready to ride when spring arrives.
If you have any questions, always feel free to call us. Until next time…. Ride On, Ride On!