Fall Motorcycle Maintenance
by ROGER HEUMANN on Aug 21, 2021
Before winter hits, and you’re still enjoying a little fall riding weather, it’s time to think about what’s next. Winter storage – and getting your ride ready for it. What should you keep in mind as the calendar continues to crawl towards winter? Here are a few tips before Old Man Winter steals your riding weather.
Clean that scooter.
Before you get ready to put it away for the season, wash your motorcycle and your gear. The last thing that you want to do is let your bike sit for months with dirt, bugs and road grime on it. Come spring you will have a tough time getting it off.
If your bike has a chain, be sure to lubricate it before it sits all winter. Besides the chain (or if you have a belt) you’ll want to keep all other parts that are prone to rust and corrosion lubed and protected; this would include the bolts, cables, and switches. (WD40 or another rust inhibitor will work here).
Time for (another) oil change.
Before your baby sits for the winter, it’s a good idea to change your engine oil. Used oil has contaminants in it that can adhere to parts of an engine. Changing your oil will remove these materials. If you’re going to keep the bike still for the winter, it’s important that once you change your oil, you do not run the engine for a long period of time. This could contaminate the oil again. Starting it for a brief period will lubricate the parts in the engine, but shut it off relatively quickly.
Here’s hoping for some gas.
Some may advise you to drain your gas tank. Don’t do it. An empty tank allows condensation to form; the tank should be filled to prevent condensation. Adding fuel stabilizer to a full tank will help to keep the gas for going stale. You can purchase fuel-stabilizer at your local bike shop.
The battery needs attention. Many mechanics suggest putting your bike’s battery on a trickle- charge during cold weather months. This is because each time your battery dies, it loses a little bit off its lifespan. Keep the lifeforce of your ride hooked up to a trickle-charge with a charger that will automatically switch to (float/ maintain) ensuring that the battery will not be overcharged. You may also find this called a battery tender.
Avoid tired tires.
Having your motorcycle sit in one spot for extended periods of time can create flat spots in your tires. The best solution for this is to elevate both wheels off the ground with front and rear stands. If you do not have a set of stands and do not want to spend that kind of money, your other choice is to periodically, (a couple times a month will do) move your bike around so that it is not sitting on the same part of the tires all winter long. You can also add some extra air (5psi or so) to your tires for storing, because there will be some air loss over that time.