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Winterize a Motorcycle

By Walter F. Kern

In the northern climates motorcyclists have two choices when winter approaches:

  • Continue riding

  • Winterize the motorcycle and put it away until spring

So if you are fortunate to live where it's warm year-round or you choose to ride during the cold winters, there is no need to be concerned about winterizing your motorcycle. Thus, even though I live in New Jersey USA where there are cold winters, I choose to keep riding as part of the Polar Bear Grand Tour. So, at least every Sunday I can expect to ride an average of 200 miles with 400-500 other Polar Bears unless the snow and ice cover the road. Then I stay home. Check out my article, Ride a Motorcycle in the Winter, for more details.

For those in the second group, there are many opinions on what should be done to winterize your motorcycle. Here is a basic set of steps to winterize.

  • Check over the motorcycle for any mechanical problems.
  • Change the engine oil and oil filter.
  • Fill the gas tank, add stabilizer according to the instructions on the can, and run the bike for a few minutes.
  • Check the battery, clean the battery terminals, and connect a Battery Tender or similar trickle-charger.
  • Clean and wax the bike.
  • Cover the bike. If possible, keep the bike in a warm garage.
  • Make sure the bike is locked up and the registration and other papers are removed in case the bike is stolen.

Winterizing is a personal choice for motorcyclists. Many approaches work. The tips provided here will get you back on the road next spring ready for new adventures in our mutual motorcycle obsession.

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