Even if you were prudent enough to store your motorcycle during the winter in an ideal space, it will still need maintenance before the next ride. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy steps that you can take to keep your bike in shape during the winter break. And after taking your motorcycle out of extended storage, make sure to address the following components.
The heart of your bike — its engine — should be checked thoroughly after a long time off. Any gearbox and engine oils should be replaced right away, as should any rusty cylinders (though treating them with WD40 before the winter is always recommended to prevent rusting).
Also be sure to rotate the engine (with spark plugs removed) and use a shop rag over the plug holes to collect extra seeping oil. You can also accomplish this by putting your bike into 2nd gear and rotating the engine via the rear wheel.
It’s also common for a bike’s clutch plates to stick together while in long-term storage. Place the bike in gear and rock it forward and back with the clutch pulled, and you should free the plates easily.
Always store your bike with a smart charger to prevent battery drainage. If you forgot to do that, the battery may need to be replaced or fully recharged. Apply a DC voltage check to indicate the battery’s level of service.
Don’t forget to make sure all the bike’s lights work — from your blinker to engine light. Replace them when necessary, primarily for safety reasons but also to avoid tickets.
The brakes should be cleaned with brake cleaner. Engine repair and maintenance fluids can prevent oil leakage. You should also bleed the brake fluid, which forces unneeded air out of the system and makes use more efficient. When riding after an extended period away, be aware that the bike’s brakes will be slower to react or more cumbersome to use. As a result, take it slow initially when on the road, especially when coming to stops.
Oil and Fuel
Unless you changed your oil immediately before putting the bike away for the winter, it likely needs to be changed. This can be done quickly at home or with a mechanic. Contaminants can enter an oil supply during winter. Similarly, unless you used a fuel stabilizer, you’ll need to re-fuel as well.
While you’re at it, clean your fuel filter and check the tank for rust. Anything that resembles cottage cheese or milky-like oil should be replaced and cleaned.
Check for steering-head looseness by grasping its fork lowers while sitting at the front, moving them forward and back for feel. If you feel any movement, make sure to tighten it fully. Also change your fork oil if it hasn’t been changed recently, as fork seal leaking is also prone to winter.
Don’t forget about your gear! Is it time to upgrade to a new helmet? Are there holes in your boots? Are you missing a glove? Don’t let your first ride be ruined by not having the right gear. Make some upgrades if you need to, and then make sure you store it all in the same spot instead of throwing things in different areas after your ride. A little organization can save you a lot of hassle.
By doing everything above, you can feel safe and secure knowing that your motorcycle is ready to ride after a long winter in storage. Check out these winter driving statistics for driver safety if you still need convincing about taking care this winter!