In part one of the How to Winterize a Motorcycle, we went over five of the ten steps to prepare a bike for winter storage with the gas, oil & fluids, battery, spark plugs, and cleaning and lubricating moving parts. Here are another five important steps to take to minimize problems with a motorcycle when the weather warms up.
To avoid having road grime or water spots corrode the finish of the painted areas of the motorcycle, the bike should be washed, thoroughly dried and then the painted areas should be waxed to help provide a barrier against moisture.
The chrome needs to be polished, not for looks, but again, to provide a protective barrier. For other exposed metal surfaces, a very light amount of WD-40 applied from a towel will be enough to provide a protective coating against corrosion. All leather and vinyl should be cleaned and treated to avoid aging and/or cracking.
7) Exhaust System
When the bike is washed one last time before it is stored for winter, special attention needs to be paid to not getting water into the end of the exhaust as the water can cause internal rust. To accomplish this, a plastic bag can be attached with a rubber band around the end of the pipes or mufflers.
After the exhaust has been cleaned, a small amount of WD-40 can be sprayed inside to avoid internal rust, the chrome and exposed metal treated as noted above. Next, a dry plastic bag should be attached around the open end of the exhaust to prevent moisture buildup and unwanted guests like insects in your exhaust.
First, the tires’ integrity is based on them being properly inflated. Subsequently, before storing the bike for the winter, the tires should be at the recommended pressure.
Next, the weight of the bike on the same footprint of the tires for long periods of time can cause flat spots, so it is ideal to put a motorcycle on stands. If a rider doesn’t have stands, another option is for the motorcycle to be moved a foot or so each month to help avoid the formation of flat spots. Note: If the bike is going to be on the ground, to keep the rubber from being damaged, the tires should be placed on pieces of plywood or carpet.
Without a decent motorcycle cover, some of the above steps to winterize a motorcycle’s benefit will be canceled out. Although a plastic tarp will help to keep water off the motorcycle, it will also hold in moisture between it and your motorcycle thus creating the opportunity for a bike to rust. A fabric sheet will let water in and out, but it will be moist and be pressed against metal parts again creating a situation where the motorcycle can rust.
If the motorcycle is going to be stored outside, the motorcycle cover will need to be more durable and have reinforced tie downs. Even if the motorcycle is stored in a garage or other enclosed area, there are some issues to consider. One is finding the location that will have the most moderate temperatures, normally away from walls shared with the outside of the house. Not only does the cold come easier through the windows, but so does the ultraviolet light of the sun that can damage the paint or plastic parts.
Finally, with the motorcycle prepped and stored for winter, there is one way to save a little money or recoup some of the money spent on a battery tender or motorcycle cover. As noted in the How to Get the Best Discounts on Motorcycle Insurance, there are often “lay up” options that will save a rider a good amount of money since the bike will not need collision or liability if it is not on the road.
Hopefully you’re able to ride year round, but if not, these steps to winterizing your bike will help avoid time, money and frustration when getting a bike back on the road in the spring.