If you own a bike and you happen to live in a cold climate, you have to spend some extra time preparing it for winter. To be of assistance, we have decided to lend you a hand by preparing a short but inclusive article that contains tips and tricks that you might find practical.
Make sure you have all the necessary tools
Winterizing your beloved bike takes quite the effort. Because of this, it is vital that you have the required supplies for the job, such as a chain tube, an oil can, and oil filters. Before you start, you should also purchase the necessary amount of high-quality oil, a bike cover, plastic gloves as well as products that you can use when cleaning and waxing the motorcycle.
On top of that, it is recommended that you decide on a location where you intend to store it during the cold months of winter. It is best that you pick a place that is heated. Dripping water, wind and mildew are factors that should be avoided.
Start by cleaning it
A good way to start the entire process is by giving your prized possession a meticulous clean. So, buy a gentle wash detergent and use water to remove road grime and debris. When doing so, it is advisable that you avoid spraying water directly into the muffler in order to avoid causing it to rust.
Similarly, the specialists argue that it is best that you avoid introducing moisture into the air cleaner housing. When the housing is saturated, you might find it difficult to make the cycle start.
All aluminum and stainless-steel surfaces should be cleaned and polished by using high-quality products. Once you are done cleaning the bike, be sure to add a wax polish coat on all the painted surfaces for extra protection. What is more, the chain of the bike should not be ignored. So, make sure it is free of built-up residues.
Use a fuel stabilizer
As many seasoned bikers have noted, when the fuel in the tank of the bike ages, certain volatile components tend to change their chemical structure. As a result, sludge and gummy substances that can affect the carburetor are created.
To avoid this, you should fill the tank up and add a fuel stabilizer. Then, run the motorcycle so that the stabilizer reaches the carburetor and the fuel injections. If you don’t own a fuel-injected bike, it is also recommended that you drain the float bowls.
All models that have carburetors have special drain screws. If you do not know where they are placed, be sure to consult the instructions manual that the model came provided with.
Change the oil
Because the chemical structure of the oil changes in time, it is also best that, during the winterizing process, you also change the oil. When not replaced regularly, the oil can develop acidic qualities and, as a result, it can cause certain parts to rust.
Remove the battery
Some of the available bikes out there have batteries that need charging from time to time. This is the case because the sulfates that build up inside the plates can actually ruin the battery when the bike is not used regularly. By doing so, you can make sure that you won’t have to pay for a new battery any time soon.
Even more so, you should know that lead-acid batteries self-discharge over time. Therefore, chances are that after a few months, the battery will be too weak to start the bike. Because of this, you should connect it to a charger so that it remains topped out.
Still, if you happen to have a lithium-ion battery, this should not be an issue as this kind of battery has a low self-discharge rate. In this case, disconnecting the negative terminal should suffice.
The cables should be lubricated
For extra safety during the cold season, it is also advisable that you lube the pivot points, the suspension, and the drive shaft. Also, while doing so, make sure that the fuel filter and the air cleaner are functioning correctly and that they are clean.
If your bike contains parts made of leather, this is the time when you should clean and treat these surfaces with an appropriate product. Consequently, they won’t get damaged easily due to the weather.
Prepare the storage location
If you want to store your motorcycle in a garage that has a floor made of bare concrete, it is advisable that you place the bike on a thick carpet, a piece of plywood or MDF, as this will prevent the bike from becoming damp.
Even more so, it is recommended that you do not store it near other devices that emit ozone such as motors, electric heaters or freezers as this gas can deteriorate the rubber parts that the bike features.
In order to protect the wheels of the model and to prevent them from developing flat spots, you should use a motorcycle stand. However, if you do not have a stand, placing pieces of carpet or plywood under each tire should be enough.
To help keep the bike away from any type of moisture, you should also use a protective cover. But, stay away from those type of covers that are made of cotton, as this material tends to attract mildew and moisture. As an alternative, you should think about purchasing a cover that was made from a synthetic material, or even tarp.
Although you will surely miss riding your motorcycle during the winter, it is not a good idea to start it periodically as cold starts are hard on most engines. This is true even when it is not necessarily very cold outside. On top of that, by starting the motorcycle you are contributing to the depletion of the battery, as bike charging systems cannot charge the battery completely.
If you need to transport your bike to the storage location and you need to buy a hitch carrier, you should take a good look at some of the models we found as you might discover one that you like.