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Preparing Your Motorcycle for Winter Storage

14 September 2018

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With summer winding down and autumn up to bat, it’s time to think about whether you want to store your motorcycle or not. If you do decide to go the route of winterization, you’ll want to read up on some tips and best practices so you don’t end up damaging your bike. That’s where American Harley-Davidson® comes in, with this short guide to get you and your bike ready for a long winter apart. Read on for more information or head into our showroom in North Tonawanda, New York for a look at our awesome selection of new and used motorcycles. We’re located near Buffalo and Lockport.

Fluid Check

All engine fluid, including brake, clutch, and coolant, should be checked. You may even consider draining them completely and refilling. Antifreeze can help to prevent engine freezing. Also, remember to lubricate the throttle, kickstand, shifter, and clutch cables. Finally, fill your gas tank and add fuel stabilizer to avoid damage from old gasoline. Don’t forget to ride around the block once or twice so the fuel stabilizer has a chance to work through the carburetor.

Battery Conservation

Batteries don’t do well in cold weather, losing their charge even faster than normal. Make sure yours is prepared for the long winter. If you want to leave it on your bike, you’ll have to set up a trickle charger to keep it alive, or otherwise be in a position to start and run the bike regularly (which defeats the purpose of winter storage!). You can also remove it from your bike and hook it up to a trickle charge or battery maintainer. Just make sure it’s stored at room temperature and away from conductive surfaces.

Tires

Fluctuating or extreme temperatures and excessive sitting can wear on your bike’s tires. Prevent uneven wear by suspending your bike so the tires are off the ground and not taking the full weight of your motorcycle. If you can’t do that, fill your tires to the maximum recommended volume and rotate the front tire once a week to prevent flat spots. Setting your bike on blocks can achieve the same effect.

Check Engine Oil and Filter

Perform the basics of engine oil maintenance before putting your bike away for the winter. Likely this will mean changing out the oil and filter completely.  If you’re unsure, check the oil using your usual methods. Old oil can corrode engine parts if left unattended. Even if it’s in a questionable state, change the oil and filter just to be safe. 

Fog the Engine

Fogging your engine can prevent corrosion by coating the internal workings of your engine with a light oil. Just make sure you’re in a ventilated area, that any spark plugs that need replacing are dealt with before you start, and that you remove the air filter. Start your bike and spray the fogging oil as you increase the idle speed to 2,000 rpm. Stop spraying when the engine stops.

Critter-Proofing

Mice and other vermin like to burrow in small dark places during cold months, and your mufflers and air cleaners are ideal homes for them. Block their entryway by stuffing a sandwich bag with steel wool and pushing it into the air intake and tailpipes. The bag keeps strands of steel wool out of the engine, just don’t forget to remove it in the spring!

Not every rider is blessed with winter weather suitable for motorcycle riding. While storing your bike might be like putting a good friend away for a few months, you’ll both be happy with the results of some proper maintenance and storage. If you need more tips for winterizing your bike, or you’re just interested in checking out some awesome Harley motorcycles, head into American Harley-Davidson in North Tonawanda, New York, near Buffalo and Lockport, and serving Niagara Falls, Batavia, and Rochester. Come in today and let our team of Harley experts answer all your questions and help you find what you’re looking for.