Tips For De-Winterizing Your Motorcycle
We may not be there quite yet, but that light at the end of the tunnel is finally beginning to come into view! We’re talking, of course, about the end of winter and the beginning of another motorcycle riding season!
For most of the country, winter means putting away the bike until the weather begins to finally warm. Now as we inch closer and closer to springtime, the excitement for the arrival of riding season is steadily beginning to rise. Unfortunately, winter weather can sometimes wreak havoc on a motorcycle that has been sitting idle for months on end.
Owning a motorcycle is an incredible experience. However, it does come with its fair share of work. If you live in one of the colder states and have had to put your bike away for the winter, you may have to take some time out of your day to begin the process of getting your motorcycle ready for the road again.
So be prepared and ready to ride on that first nice day of the year by taking the time to prepare your motorcycle for the spring riding season.
Give It A Thorough Look-Over
Start with the basics and give your bike a full look-over before you get back at it. (As if you haven’t been sneaking glances at it all winter, imagining that it was sunny and 75 degrees). Just be aware that there are a few key areas to look out for before you ride again.
You need to ensure that your tires are still in working order. Tires tend to lose air pressure during periods of cold weather. Additionally, if your bike has been in the same position every day for the past few weeks, you’re going to have to check for flat spots.
Quick tip, one of the best ways to avoid flat spots is to take your bike off the stand and rotate the tires every few weeks or so. So if your bike isn’t seeing much action, it can’t hurt to rotate the tires periodically.
Your engine may very well be the most important part of your motorcycle. If something looks out of place on the engine, it’s best to get it checked out before you ride.
Look For Rust/Abnormalities
Maintenance 101 – look out for rust. If you’re storing your motorcycle inside your garage or storage unit, you may run into an issue with humidity. If you see something off about your bike, be sure to investigate further to figure out what may be the cause.
Sometimes overlooked, but your seat is one of the most important parts of your motorcycle. As such, the seat needs proper care and maintenance just like the rest of the bike. Keeping your seat in working order is going to make you a much happier rider down the road.
Check your headlights and brake lights to ensure that the bulbs haven’t deteriorated over the past few months. If you want to be super careful, just go ahead and replace the lightbulbs. You don’t want to be caught riding at night with faulty headlights. So be sure to check those bulbs!
Check Your Fluids
If you kept gasoline in the tank before you turned in for the season, you’re going to want to open it up and take a whiff. Gasoline gone bad has a distinct, pungent varnish smell. In most cases, gasoline in the tank will hold up fine over the winter.
However, you don’t want to overlook the possibility of the gas going bad. There’s no harm in checking, and it could end up saving you the inconvenience of dealing with faulty gasoline.
Make sure your oil is clean. If you emptied the bike before winter, don’t forget to fill it back up. If your oil is already in, great. Also, it never hurts to top it off before heading out. Don’t forget to take a look at your brake fluid level as well.
If you did not drain your bike or use a fuel stabilizer before putting it away for the winter, you may be in for an afternoon of cleaning engine parts. Getting your fluids in check will help to get all the gunk out of your motorcycle’s system and get it ready to ride in no time.
Charge Your Battery
If you have not had your battery plugged into the charger throughout the winter, you’re probably not going to be going anywhere fast.
Even when not in use, your motorcycle’s battery loses charge during the off months. The more the temperature drops, the quicker your battery life drains. So be sure to take the time to charge your battery before you head out of the garage.
Wax & Oil The Chain
Before you start heading down the driveway, be sure to take care of the chain. Oil it up, maybe add some wax if need be. This will help to ensure a smooth first ride after the winter hiatus. Be sure to check to make sure it’s sufficiently tight and free of rust.
Start It Up and Let It Run
If your bike has been sitting stagnant for the winter, you’re going to want to start it up and let it run for a while. This gives your bike the chance to shake some of the dust off so to speak. It also allows the oil to flow through the engine.
Expecting your motorcycle to run perfectly after a long break is like expecting someone to be able to run at their top speed immediately after being woken up from a nap.
Gearing Up For Another Year of Riding
Getting your motorcycle ready for spring is one of the most exciting times of the year for riders who are unable to ride year-round.
Don’t let the thrill of that first nice day distract you from the fact that your motorcycle probably needs a little TLC before it’s ready to run for the first time in months.
Do you have a specific ritual for preparing your motorcycle for spring? Any tips or tricks to help the process go smoother? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us all about it in the comments below.