Montana’s winters can come in fast and freezing. The Treasure State experiences weather extremes, with an average of 250 inches of snowfall each year. Motorcycling may be one of the most popular summer pastimes in Montana, but motorcycle owners need to follow smart storage solutions for the offseason to preserve their bikes. Knowing how to prepare a motorcycle properly for winter storage could ensure performance longevity for years to come.
If you do decide to ride your motorcycle during the winter, be sure to check out safety tips from Michigan’s Department of State. If not, here are 5 recommended ways to prepare your motorcycle for winter storage:
It is unwise to store a motorcycle for longer than two weeks when it is empty of all fluids. You might assume this is best, so you can start with fresh fluids in the springtime. However, an empty tank for months could do more harm than good. Moisture and condensation could gather in an empty tank if left for longer than 30 days. An empty tank could also lead to dry and cracked seals. Replace your fluids before winter comes.
A fuel stabilizer is one of the most important steps to take for winter storage. The presence of ethanol in gas nowadays means a greater risk of deterioration in a short amount of time. If you let the gas in your tank deteriorate, it will turn into a thick, gummy substance that can wreak havoc to your motorcycle’s engine. Ethanol is also a solvent, which can add further damage by corroding the tank. Adding a fuel stabilizer can prevent these serious issues.
Spend the extra time and money on replacing your oil before storing your motorcycle for the winter. Leaving old oil sitting in the reservoir could damage your engine’s parts. Dirty engine oil contains corrosive contaminates that can eat away at your vehicle during the winter months. Swap out old oil with fresh liquid and change your filter plug before retiring your ride for the winter.
You can preserve your battery over the winter in one of two ways: start your motorcycle once every two weeks to maintain the battery’s charge or remove the battery completely. If you remove the battery, store it in moderate to cool temperatures – not hot or freezing. Check your battery acid levels. They should be full; a half-charged battery will not hold up in storage. Store your battery on a trickle charger, which uses technology to charge your battery slowly over the winter only as needed. A smart battery charger can extend the life span of your motorcycle battery and save you money on a replacement in the springtime.
It may seem counterintuitive to clean your motorcycle when you do not plan on riding it for a few months, but leaving dirt and grime in place for the winter could damage the paint. Wash your motorcycle thoroughly with soap and warm water. Dry it completely and put on a fresh coat of wax. Wax can seal the paint and prevent the metal of your motorcycle from collecting moisture. A good seal of wax could help you avoid rust and corrosion.
Many Montana motorcyclists have setups in their sheds or garages to store their vehicles off the ground. Taking the weight off the tires can help prevent flats and wear and tear. Resting your motorcycle on the ground all winter could lead to the rubber absorbing moisture and compromising the integrity of your tires.
A motorcycle stand is ideal, but a piece of cardboard or square of old carpet could improve tire safety in a pinch. A motorcycle stand could also conserve more space than propping the motorcycle up using the kickstand. Throw a blanket, tarp or cover over your motorcycle to prevent the sun from fading the paint while in storage. Come spring, your motorcycle will be in prime riding condition.
With these suggestions, storing your motorcycle for the winter should make starting up in the spring much easier. If you or someone you know was involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle injury attorney to fight for fair compensation.