Winterizing Your Motorcycle for a Smooth Ride Come Spring

The end of fall is a very important time for motorcyclists all over. In some parts of the country, namely California or in the South, many riders can enjoy their bikes well into the fall season, but for the majority of riders who want to protect their investments, now is the prime time to winterize a motorcycle. Some people prefer to take their bikes to the shop to be winterized while others prefer to save some money and do it themselves. We’ve put together a brief instructional guide for those of you interested in a DIY project this year.

It’s important to protect your motorcycle while it’s in storage so that it will run smoothly when it comes time to take it out again. Also, it’s always important to have the right insurance coverage on your bike, especially for people who plan to store their bikes outdoors. For more on motorcycle insurance or to get an insurance quote, click here.

What You’ll Need to Winterize Your Motorcycle:


This is not an example of winterizing a motorcycle.

  • Clean rags
  • Spark plug wrench
  • Trickle battery charger
  • 4-5 quarts oil
  • New oil filter
  • Oil can
  • Chain lube (if you have a chain drive)
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • WD40 or similar product
  • Motorcycle cover
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic gloves
  • Cleaning detergent
  • Wax
  • Vaseline

Steps to Winterizing Your Bike:

  • Clean your bike. Use a gentle detergent that you’d use on your car. Avoid the baffles (don’t spray water into the muffler) or else it may rust during storage. Also avoid spraying water into the air cleaner housing, which will make it hard to start the bike.
  • Dry motorcycle thoroughly, making sure to get all water spots that could damage the finish.
  • Wax all painted and chrome parts.
  • Spray all metal surfaces with WD-40.
  • Clean the chain (if your bike comes with a chain) by first spraying off all residue with WD40.344148659_cca7dccebd_z
  • Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prevent the fuel from thickening during storage.
  • Start the bike and run it so the gas and fuel stabilizer will work through the whole system.
  • Turn off the fuel and run it dry.
  • Drain your float bowels (if your bike has a carburetor). Shut off the petcock and drain the gas from the bowels.
  • Change the oil and filter.
  • Remove spark plugs
  • Squirt oil on front forks, cylinders, pistons and work it all over the stationary tubes.
  • Clean and replace spark plugs.
  • Replace plug wires.
  • Lubricate forks, chain(s), cables, pivot points, chain drive and controls.
  • Remove battery (see your owner’s manual about how often you need to charge).
  • Add a thin coat of Vaseline to the terminals on the battery.
  • Check the level of anti-freeze in your liquid cooling system (if you have one).
  • Check all other fluid levels.
  • Lubricate the cables, suspension, pivot points and drive shaft (if you have one).
  • Check the air cleaner, brake pads and fuel filter.
  • Treat all leather to prevent cracking and drying.
  • If storing your bike on cold concrete, use plywood or thick carpeting to insulate the bike from moisture.
  • Store the bike with the weight of it off the wheels, preferably on a stand.
  • Avoid storing the bike near motors, furnaces, heaters, freezers and other ozone emitting objects.
  • Use a clean rag and machine oil to wipe down all metal surfaces (avoid disc brakes).
  • Spray WD40 in the tail pipe(s).
  • Drain hoses and cover tail pipe with plastic bags or plastic wraps to keep pests out (make sure to take these off come spring!).
  • Cover your motorcycle to keep dust and moisture out. If storing outside, get a cover that ties down and stays in place.
  • Do not run the engine while it’s in storage because it may create condensation.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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