It’s getting to be “that time” again. The weather is changing, and fall is here. It might be time to winterize your motorcycle and say goodbye until spring. Read through the appropriate sections in your owner’s manual; the instructions there are more complete and accurate for your machine than we can give here.
You might as well have the items you’ll need handy before you start, so buy 4 or 5 quarts of the motor oil that’s recommended in your owner’s manual. For example: Spectrum HD Platinum Oil is designed for high-output, twin-V motors like those in a Harley’s high-performance bikes. You’ll also need fuel stabilizer, like the Spectro Fuel Conditioner It fights corrosion and keeps gas from getting gummy. You can also use this fuel conditioner In other gas engines—in your lawn mower, for instance. You might need a new oil filter. Eagle Leather has several in stock. Check your owner’s manual and buy the one that’s meant for your ride.
You might want to buy a battery tender, which will keep your battery alive over the winter. Otherwise, you should remove the battery and keep it indoors. Eagle Leather has several battery tenders. The Battery Tender Junior is one of our bestsellers. It’s light and compact, fully automatic, sparkproof, and protected against reverse polarity; it’s perfect for any lead-acid, sealed maintenance-free, or gel-cell battery.
You’ll be cleaning your motorcycle, so be sure you have enough washing liquid. It has to be strong enough to get rid of dried on bug remains. You might try Spectro XL Bike Wash. It’s water-based and non-flammable. While gentle enough to use every day, it’s tough enough to conquer any grime and dry goop your motorcycle is wearing. And, using it is spray-on, rinse-off simple. You’ll then need wax to protect the finish. You could also use Purple Slice Spray, which doesn’t need rinsing; it cleans and protects at the same time. You’ll need something like Blue Job Polish for your chrome and steel parts.
You’ll also want to pick up an oil tray or can for the old oil and a can WD-40. If your motorcycle will be stored where it might freeze, you will probably need antifreeze. You might want to buy a bike stand. Smaller items include newspaper to protect the garage floor from stains, steel wool, plastic kitchen wrap, a cloth for polishing, rubber bands, and rubber gloves. You might also want to buy a bike cover.
The first step is fun:
- Taking your fuel stabilizer along, ride until your gas tank is almost empty, then fill it and add the fuel stabilizer. On the ride home, the stabilizer will mix with the gas so it can prevent it from turning to gunk.
- Once home and before your bike has cooled down, check coolant and antifreeze levels and add them as needed.
- When your bike has cooled and with your newspapers in place, put the oil tray under the release valve, drain the oil, and replace with new oil.
- Lube the chain and other moving parts.
- Drain any gas from the carburetor float bowl.
- Either remove the battery and store it inside or hook up your battery tender.
- Check your tires. If they need more air, inflate them. Now is the time to fix any tire problems you can see.
- Clean your motorcycle, being sure to remove any splattered bugs or bird poop. Be sure to dry all the nooks and crannies. When the bike is dry, wax it.
- Spray the exhaust pipes with WD40.
- To keep rodents from living in your motorcycle, plug up any holes with steel wool.
Now your bike is ready to hibernate while you dream of the roads you’ll travel next year.
If you have a bike stand, use it now. Otherwise, you’ll want to move the bike often during the winter to avoid ruining the tires.
Cover your bike. You can tie down a makeshift cover with your rubber bands or bungee cords or use purchased cover.