Keeping It Original

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle—OBS Style

Winterize Bike

We know many of us are still rebelling against Mother Nature's bitter cold attitude. But for those who are losing the battle against winter, we have created a guide for winterizing your motorcycle.


Tools needed

Besides the usual (i.e. cleaning cloths, oil & a motorcycle cover), other tools that will be needed is a trickle battery charger, chain lube, motorcycle fuel stabilizer, kitchen plastic wrap, and rubber bands.  The ideal place to keep your bike is in a heated garage.  However, any other location that is still & dry, without unexpected (or expected) pests or chemical fumes would suit just fine.


Clean your bike.  We're sure most of you guys have cleaned your bike at least once.  If you haven't, shame on you!  Don't you like our Spray Cleaner & Polish?  But here are a few tips to consider.  Avoid spraying water directly on the muffler and air cleaner housing.  Thoroughly dry and, of course, polish & wax.  Applying the polish acts as a barrier against rust and moisture. Next, clean and lube your chain.

Fill her up!

Add motorcycle fuel stabilizer & drain carbs - Only necessary if you're storing your bike for more than 4 months. Otherwise, add OBS Cycle Fuel System to the gas tank, run your bike for 10 minutes, and then fill the tank with fresh fuel. Shut off the fuel petcock and drain the carbs & fuel lines. Add winterizing fuel conditioner to prevent fuel from going stale. OBS Carb Cleaner will make this easier.

Motorcycle -Maintenace -Winter -Storage

Change oil and filter

Why? Because old oil can rust and eat at engine parts.  Using a colder winter grade oil (5w30) will help your bike start easier in colder weather and will improve startup and running in the spring. Change the air filter while you're at it also.

Squirt oil

Spray oil over stationary tubes on the front forks.  Spray a light oil into the muffler ends and drain holes. Put a plastic bag into the end of each muffler hole (to prevent moisture build-up) then cover each muffler with another plastic bag to keep outside moisture off.

Service all fluids

If you haven't changed the brake or clutch fluids in the last two years, do it now. These fluids will absorb moisture, and the contaminated fluid will cause corrosion inside the system, which may lead to problems next spring. Always use the correct fluids and note all warnings.

Remove spark plug wires & spark plug wrench

Sometimes oil can squirt out when doing this.  So, its very important to avoid placing your face near the spark plug holes.

Remove motorcycle battery

The battery must be removed from the motorcycle when it's in storage. Batterycharging should be performed at least every two weeks using a charger that has an output of 10% of the battery ampere hour rating. Charge the battery away from open flames or sparks, as the hydrogen given off a battery can be explosive. Elevate the battery and keep it from freezing.

Check anti-freeze level

If need be, replace it and make sure the level isn't low, to prevent rusting.

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Lube the cylinder(s)

Only necessary if you will be storing your bike for more than 6 months. Remove the spark plugs and pour a tablespoon of clean engine oil into each cylinder. Be sure to switch off the fuel before you crank the engine. Ground the ignition leads to prevent sparks igniting any fuel residue. Turn the engine over several revolutions to spread the oil around and then reinstall the plugs.

Check Tires

Check both front and rear tires with your air pressure gauge, making sure each tire is properly inflated to the maximum recommended pressure. Placing 1/4"-1/2" piece of cardboard or wood board under each tire will help keep the rubber raised from the cold floor. Do not apply any tire dressing.

Clean & treat leather

It keeps the ride enjoyable.

Park on plywood, MDF, or thick carpet

The purpose of doing so is to make sure the area your bike is stored stays dry.  It is also suggested that any weight on the wheels is kept to a minimal.  You can use a bike stand or wheel lift. Keep your bike in a dry environment, out of harm's way. Try to choose a location away from windows to prevent any light from fading the paint and plastics. Keep your bike covered with a specially designed bike cover. And don't just put a sheet or tarp over it because it will absorb moisture and cause rust.

Cover tail pipe & oil metal surfaces.

Last but not least, avoid running your bike for short periods of time during storage.  It can cause condensation. 

What are your winterizing tips? Let us know in the comment section below.

[Image: MC, RR, LBO]

Written by OBS at 12:00 AM

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