Winterizing Your Motorcycle

October 3rd, 2018 by

When the motorcycle season is over, you begrudgingly put your bike in storage. But you can’t take it straight from the street and throw it in the garage. You’ll need to winterize it first. This crucial process helps your motorcycle stay in good condition. When spring comes, you’ll have less maintenance to do and can get on the road sooner!

Winterizing your motorcycle isn’t difficult, but it does take knowing all the proper steps. We created the following guide to make the process easier for you. If you have any questions or need any assistance, come on over to Harley-Davidson of Yuba City. We proudly serve those in Yuba City, Sacramento, Rocklin, Lincoln, and Chico, CA.

Change Your Oil

If you own a car, this step is already familiar to you. You know that regular oil changes are crucial. The older the oil gets, the more it will break down. This increases the chance that it will make a sticky build up that will hurt your engine and your motorcycle’s performance.

If you expect to store your motorcycle for three months or more, you’ll want to take some extra steps. Remove your spark plugs and pour a few drops of oil directly into the cylinder. Put your bike in gear and roll it forward a few feet to cycle the engine and distribute the oil around the cylinders and pistons.


Over time, fuel will break down. This is especially true if you use a low quality fuel with a major percentage of ethanol. If you ride a modern and fuel-injected bike, you’ll want to fill your tank with gas first. Then add in a fuel stabilizer to prevent it from breaking down. If you ride an older carbureted motorcycle, you’ll want to drain the fuel from your tank first. Then unhook the fuel line from the carburetor and run the engine until it runs out of gas. This way, no fuel will remain in the fuel lines or carbs.


You don’t want to leave your battery connected to your motorcycle during storage. If you do, the motorcycle’s electrical systems will contain to draw electricity (even though it’s not being used). When winter ends and you’re ready to ride your bike again, your battery will be dead. Even worse, it’ll be less likely to carry a charge again.

When you disconnect your battery, it’s important to store it strategically. Somewhere dry is key of course since you’re dealing with electronic equipment. You also want somewhere cool (but not so cold that it will freeze).


Your motorcycle weighs several hundred pounds. All that weight will be pushing on your tires all winter long, which will deform the tires and create flat spots. To solve this, many motorcycle owners use a motorcycle stand. It’ll take the pressure off the tires. If you don’t want to invest in a stand, you will need to manually rotate the tires once every few weeks. This ensures one spot doesn’t sit on the ground all winter.

Wash and Protect

Once you’ve gone through all those steps, your last move is to wash it. Dirt, debris, salt. and grime left on your motorcycle can actually be corrosive over time. If you changed the fluids or drained your gas, make sure none of it ended up on your bike. After your motorcycle is washed and dried, hit the chain with a little spray lubricant to protect it over winter.


Now that your motorcycle is ready for storage, you need to find the perfect spot to store it. In the ideal world, you would stick it in a heated garage (but few riders have that luxury). If you don’t have storage space at home, consider renting a storage space. If you absolutely must store it outside, keep it under an awning and throw on a waterproof cover,

Of course, one last step is to make sure your motorcycle is running smoothly. You don’t want to store a broken motorcycle. When spring comes, you’ll have to waste precious riding time having it sit in the mechanic’s shop. If you need a tune-up, bring your motorcycle to Harley-Davidson of Yuba City. We proudly serve those in Sacramento, Rocklin, and Lincoln, CA.