Storing a motorcycle in a clean, dry place for the winter may seem safe enough, but bikes actually require a lot of preparation before being parked for long periods of time.
Choose a Location
An indoor location is the best place to store a motorcycle. Covering the bike will protect it from insects and rodents. The air intakes should be covered as well. For the truly dedicated, a bike chamber offers complete security, climate and dust control.
Clean It Up
After the final ride of the season, the motorcycle should be thoroughly washed and detailed. The bike should be dried by hand and all metal parts, except the brakes, should be coated with an anti-corrosive product. Make sure the motorcycle is completely dry before storage as trapped condensation can lead to rust.
Check the Battery
A motorcycle battery will eventually go dead if it sits in a cold storage space all winter and will corrode at a fast pace. You can either remove it completely or use a trickle charger to keep the power level high. If you decide to remove it, make sure you check the fluid level in the battery and clean any corrosion.
Drain the Brake Fluid
Since brake fluid tends to attract water, it is better to drain the system and bleed the lines with new fluid the following spring. Some people will strap the brake lever to the handlebar to keep air out, but this is not advisable.
Change the Oil and the Filter
Its much better to have fresh oil sitting in the bike's lubrication system for several months than to have old, broken down oil in it. Also - you'll be glad you already changed the oil when riding season begins. Use a heavier, winter weight oil like 5W30 should help your motorcycle start up easier come spring time as well.
Avoid Fuel Residue
Any fuel left in the tank of a stored bike can cause a residue that may clog injectors and carburetors. If the bike is to be stored more than three months, the tank should be drained. If you choose to keep the fuel in the gas tank, make sure you fill it completely and add some kind of fuel stabilizer to the gas. The stabilizer keeps the gas from turning into sludge.
Check the Forks and Exhaust
Collector boxes corrode easily and should always be thoroughly dried and coated with a product such as WD-40. There should be no moisture around the fork stanchions, as corrosion can cause pits, which may lead to weakness and fork seal rupture.
Protect the Brakes
Placing cardboard or paper between the pads and discs on the brakes will prevent sticking. If this is not done, the pad could settle into the disc, creating a bond and requiring an expensive repair.
Raise the Wheels
Using paddock stands to raise the tires off the floor is the best way to protect them during storage. If this is not possible, rotating them one-quarter turn at least once per month will preserve them.
By following the suggestions above, storing your motorcycle for the winter will make spring start-up a lot easier. Safety is always first. If you or someone you know was involved in a motorcycle accident, contact Karney Law Firm, a motorcycle injury law firm serving bikers throughout the Carolinas with offices conveniently located in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.