How to Store Your Motorcycle for Winter

Unless you live in the deep south or you lost a bet, you’re not riding your motorcycle during the winter. Here’s how to properly store your motorcycle for winter to ensure it’s ready to go in the spring.

How to Store Your Motorcycle for Winter

1) Change the oil and filter

A minor debate exists in online forums over whether to change the oil and filter before you store your motorcycle or after you remove it from storage in the spring.

Change it before storage, and here’s why.

Engine operation produces combustion byproducts, such as moisture and acids. Those harmful byproducts can cause problems if they’re left in your engine during storage.

Moisture can lead to rust formation on engine parts. Once rust starts to form, it doesn’t stop. When you fire up the engine in the spring, rust particles can flake off into the oil and scour bearings and other parts during operation, leading to wear.

How to Store Your Motorcycle for Winter

Likewise, acids in the oil can cause problems. Acids corrode metal, which can lead to engine wear and, eventually, failure. It’s best to drain used oil from the engine prior to storage to prevent these potential headaches.

Fun fact: motor oil doesn’t naturally resist rust formation. Instead, special additives must be added to the formulation to guard against rust.

Not all motor oils contain enough rust inhibitors for storage, which is why it’s best to use a properly formulated oil specifically made for motorcycles.

2) Stabilize the fuel

While we’d all be doomed without oxygen, too much of it has a negative effect on gasoline.

Over time, gasoline oxidizes and breaks down. That simply means oxygen molecules alter the gasoline’s chemistry (think of a cut apple turning brown).

Oxidized fuel forms varnish, gums and insoluble debris that can clog tiny fuel passages in the carburetor and fuel system. This can lead to hard-starting and poor operation in the spring – assuming the engine starts.

Use a gasoline stabilizer to fight oxidation.

A good stabilizer resists oxidation to keep fuel fresh. For example, AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer keeps fuel fresh for up to 12 months. If you intend to store your motorcycle longer than four months, add Gasoline Stabilizer prior to the final outing of the season to ensure complete distribution throughout the fuel system.

AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer

AMSOIL Quickshot is another option. It’s primarily designed to clean fuel-system components and the combustion chamber while addressing ethanol problems. But it’s also formulated with a stabilizer that keeps fuel fresh during short-term storage of up to four months.

AMSOIL Quickshot

3) Maintain the battery

There are a couple ways to maintain the battery.

You can remove it from the bike and store it where it won’t freeze, like a basement or heated garage. Make sure to store it off the ground.

You can also leave the battery in the bike. Whichever works best, be sure to attach a trickle charger to the battery. It automatically maintains the optimal charge throughout the storage period. That way your bike will fire right up in the spring.

4) Wash and dry the motorcycle

Wash all the dirt, dust and bugs from the bike before storing it for the season. Use a mild soap and a sponge. A brush works well for wheel spokes, but avoid using a stiff brush to clean areas where you might scratch the finish. Rinse and dry with a clean cloth or chamois.

Avoid getting water into the pipes. If you do, start the bike and run it until it’s warm to evaporate accumulated water.

5) Cover and store your motorcycle

Once the bike is dry, cover it with a quality dust cover, even if stored indoors. You can also block the pipes with rags or dryer sheets to deter mice or other pests from colonizing the exhaust pipes. Just remember to remove them before starting the bike.

And that’s how to Store Your Motorcycle for Winter.

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What is Fuel Stabilizer?

What is fuel Stabilizer and what does it do? You probably know you should stabilize fuel before placing your lawnmower, motorcycle, classic car or other vehicles and equipment into storage for the season. Maybe you learned the lesson the hard way after tearing a rotator cuff trying to start a lawnmower or snowblower after several months in storage minus stabilized fuel. So, what is fuel stabilizer and what does it do?

Time degrades gasoline

Just about everything deteriorates over time, including the fuel that powers your vehicles and equipment. In fact, gasoline can start to break down in as little as 30 days. Deposits can form that prevent the engine from starting, like those shown in this carburetor bowl.

What is Fuel Stabilizer and what does it do?
Bad gasoline is the number-one reason seasonal equipment starts hard or runs rough.

Over time, gasoline changes, leaving behind gums, varnish and other solids that foul the fuel system and prevent gas from flowing into the combustion chamber. In severe cases, gasoline can change so dramatically that it no longer ignites.

Gasoline is predominantly a mixture of carbon and hydrogen atoms bonded together into energy-dense hydrocarbons. Like conventional base oils, it’s derived from crude oil via a distillation process that uses heat, pressure and other catalysts to create different fractions. Gasoline is comprised of hydrocarbons that are lighter than those found in, for example, diesel fuel or conventional base oils. Refiners add ethanol to the formulation, typically 10 percent, but as high as 85 percent. Time, however, takes its toll on gasoline. Exposure to heat, humidity, atmospheric pressure, oxygen and other variables degrades fuel.

Fuel degrades more quickly than oil

In addition to gums and varnish becoming more concentrated and less soluble as lighter hydrocarbons evaporate, gas is continually oxidizing, which further contributes to varnish and other gunk.

Gasoline oxidizes more quickly than motor oil and its negative effects are more immediately noticeable. That’s why it’s important to use high-quality gas and store it in approved containers where air infiltration is limited, like inside a ventilated garage or shed, and not in the back of your truck or under the deck.

Meanwhile, ethanol added to gasoline at the refinery can absorb water from the atmosphere, which can lead to phase separation, which occurs when ethanol and gas separate, much like oil and water. Ethanol that has absorbed enough moisture and has sat long enough can foul the fuel system and prevent the engine from starting.

That’s why it’s vital to stabilize fuel prior to storage.

Personally, I add gasoline stabilizer to my five-gallon gas can at every fill-up. That way I never worry about fuel going bad inside my four-wheeler, lawnmowers, chainsaws and other equipment around the homestead.

What is Fuel Stabilizer and what does it do?

But what, exactly, does fuel stabilizer do? Let’s use an analogy to explain.

You’ve probably heard terms like “free radicals” and “antioxidants” in relation to your health. A free radical is an unpaired electron, and most are unstable and highly reactive. They can either donate an electron to, or accept an electron from, other molecules. This starts a chain reaction that can lead to oxidative stress and cell damage. Left unchecked, free radicals can lead to health problems, like cardiovascular disease and cancer.

To help fight free radicals, we should eat plenty of foods rich in antioxidants, which lessen their effects. Antioxidants can “donate” an electron to free radicals or trap them, effectively reducing their instability without becoming unstable themselves. Antioxidants aren’t silver bullets, but they go a long way toward improving our health.

By analogy, fuel stabilizer is an antioxidant for your gasoline. It disrupts the free-radical-induced chain reaction that causes gas to oxidize and form varnish and gums. Some stabilizer products, like AMSOIL Quickshot, also contain chemistry that increases solvency and breaks down existing varnish, helping clean a dirty carburetor and restore performance.

How does AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer stack up?

Very well, thanks. But don’t trust me, trust the independent test results shown below.

Amsoi gasoline Stabalizer
What about protection against corrosion? Again, AMSOIL delivers, as shown here.
Amsoil vs Seafoam
So, if it’s formulated properly, like AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer, fuel stabilizer improves the stability of gasoline to protect against varnish and gum formation so your vehicles and equipment fire to life when you take them from storage. AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer also protects against corrosion during storage to maintain fuel-system cleanliness while stabilizing fuel for up to 12 months.
amsoil Stabilizer
Buy Fuel Stabilizer

For short-term storage up to six months, consider AMSOIL Quickshot. It also contains chemistry that increases solvency and breaks down existing varnish, helping clean a dirty carburetor and restore performance.

Amsoil Quickshot
Buy Quickshot

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