Motorcycle Storage: Protecting Your Bike Through The Winter
In most parts of the US you can’t ride a motorcycle year around, so motorcycle storage becomes a big issue. Of course, if you live in Florida or some of the other more temperate southern states, motorcycle storage could be only a minor concern, or even not important at all. But for most of the rest of the country, it is critical to store motorcycles safely through the winter, to ensure they’re ready to go when spring finally arrives.
But properly storing your motorcycle through the winter is not as simple as rolling it into the garage and throwing a tarp over it! Although it would be nice if things were that easy, in reality, care and proper procedures must be observed to keep your bike in great shape through the long cold winter until conditions are favorable to take it out on the open road. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important general guidelines for safely storing your motorcycle this winter.
The most critical step in motorcycle storage is to ensure that your battery does not go dead during the long winter months. Like all batteries, motorcycle batteries tend to lose their charge when left unused for long periods of time. In fact, because motorcycle batteries are smaller than standard car batteries, if left alone throughout the entire winter it is possible that your battery charge could diminish to the point where it will be unable to even take a charge in the future.
There are a couple of ways to ensure that your battery remains charged while your motorcycle is in storage. Of course you could always try to remember to charge your battery weekly during the winter months, but let’s face it, this is easy to forget, and it only takes a week or two with no charge to run down your battery.
A much better option is to buy a battery charger that will provide your battery with a low rate of charge only as needed. These new chargers will turn themselves off to avoid overcharging your battery, and they can be permanently attached to the battery so that you can effectively, “set it and forget it.” This sure beats marking your calendar and trying to remember to charge your battery on the weekly basis!
Another motorcycle storage problem is deterioration of fuel. Fuel stored in a motorcycle gas tank will deteriorate over time while the bike is in storage. This can cause a gummy build-up in not only your gas tank, but throughout the entire fuel system, which results in your bike being difficult, or even impossible to start. So treating your motorcycle fuel is a necessary step before winter storage.
In the old days, it would be necessary to drain the fuel tank, and to also drain all the fuel from the carburetor and fuel lines. This procedure was time-consuming and, frankly, quite difficult. But today you can simply use fuel additives that will prevent the gummy build-up from occurring and keep your fuel lines nice and clean during the winter months.
Following these tips will ensure that your motorcycle is ready to go when you are. Remember, your pre-storage regimen is the most important aspect of safe motorcycle storage, and will ensure that your bike looks and runs like new when spring finally arrives.