Ordinary touring motorcycles do not have an elaborate mechanism to prevent damages during winters. Consequently, riders who own motorcycles in areas where the winters are extremely harsh, prefer storing the motorcycle for the whole season. However, whether you want to store the motorcycle or ride it, there are certain things that you need to take care of. Therefore, in this article, we shall give you some tips on how to winterize a motorcycle.
Changing The Oil
Even if you use the best motorcycle oils for your bike, not changing them for a long time will do more harm than good. Motorcycle oils tend to degrade over time. Moreover, with constant circulation throughout the machine and extensive riding, contaminants get added to it. Both of these lead to the condensation of the motorcycle oil in different compartments of the bike.
If you do not change the motorcycle oil for an extended period, the condensed oil and contaminants may further get converted into rust. Rust eventually damages every part of the motorcycle.
Therefore, if you are planning to store the bike safely during the winters, you should first change the motorcycle oil. Always add fresh motorcycle oil after installing an oil filter. It will prevent the entry of any contaminants that may get converted into rust later.
Checking The Antifreeze
Most motorcycles have a liquid cooling system that prevents overheating of the engine. These cooling systems have an engine coolant called antifreeze. Before you plan to winterize your motorcycle, check if the antifreeze is working properly. The antifreeze in motorcycles has a device called the hygrometer. Always ensure that the hygrometer reading is at the maximum when you park the motorcycle during winters.
It will prevent the water from circulating through the liquid cooling system and freezing into ice. Moreover, it also prevents the oxygenation of the interiors of the motorcycle where the coolant is not available.
Washing The Bike
To prepare your bike for the winters, always wash it thoroughly first. The purpose behind washing the motorcycle before the winter season is to remove all road grime from different parts. During winters, the grime sticks more firmly to these parts. It will become difficult for you to remove it later.
Moreover, parts like the carburetor and the float pads get damaged with this grime. Use the best motorcycle cleaners to wash every part of the motorcycle. Always be gentle during the process and use a sponge or wash mitts to scrub the dirt out. You can also use accessories like chamois to remove the water spots once you are done washing.
The electrolytes inside the motorcycle battery can change during the winters. Therefore, as a preventive measure, you should provide some pre-season maintenance to the battery. For this, you can connect the battery to a battery tender. Battery tenders ensure that the battery does not lose power when it is in storage for a long time.
Clean the terminals of the battery at least once before the winters. Moreover, if you want to store the motorcycle, and do not want to use it in the winters, you should always remove the battery and keep it in a dry environment.
Taking Care Of Leather Parts
Changes in temperature and humidity affect certain parts of the motorcycle adversely. If your motorcycle has leather coverings, saddles, or any leather part for that matter, always wash them with a leather-safe soap. Moreover, it is crucial to apply a leather protectant once everything dries out.
While pure leather does not undergo these changes, the commonly used synthetic leather does. Thus, maintain these leather parts, and ensure that they remain dry after the wash.
The most crucial reason behind the winterization of a motorcycle is to prevent the alteration of the components of gasoline present in the tank. Gasoline may get stale when you keep the motorcycle stored for a long time. Moreover, when gasoline is contaminated with dirt, it might undergo certain chemical changes as well. It ends up providing a conducive atmosphere for oxygenation of the interiors.
Thus, you must add a small amount gasoline in the tank and use it completely with every ride. Otherwise, you can add a stabilizer to the tank just before winters. Always mix the gasoline stabilizer in a full tank. Mix the stabilizer thoroughly with gasoline, and do not start the bike immediately.
The drive chain, driveshaft, and fork tubes are some parts of the motorcycle that have unprotected metal. During winters, when stagnant air and moisture come in contact with these exposed metal parts, they increase the chances of corrosion. To prevent this, you should apply suitable lubricants on all these parts.
Always use specific high-quality lubricants for the motorcycle chain. You can use old motorcycle oil or any other motorcycle lubrication spray for other parts. Note that if you are using a motorcycle lube with a spray applicator, you should first put it on a lint-free cloth, and then use the cloth to wipe the lubricant on the desired part. Spraying does not concentrate the lube on a single part, and it gets dispersed unnecessarily.
Protecting The Engine
In any season, the cylinders of the motorcycle engine should have an oil coating or some other fluid to prevent corrosion. Since the atmosphere becomes hostile for the metal parts of the engine in winters, you should always put oil or any other viscous fluid in the cylinders.
Remove the spark plugs and put some fluid in every compartment. While doing this, the wires of the spark plugs should not touch any metal part. Once you are done with it, use the starter switch to turn on the engine, and let it run for around 5 to 10 minutes.
By doing so, you will allow the oil to circulate inside the cylinders and form a protective coating on it. Do not add excess oil to the cylinders. If some oil spills out of the cylinder, always wipe it thoroughly before connecting the spark plugs.
So, we hope that these tips were useful in understanding how to winterize a motorcycle. Motorcycle parts are fragile and get damaged easily with sudden temperature changes. If you take proper precautions and preventive measures, your motorcycle will remain safe during winters. Winterization aims to give you a smooth-running bike for the summers that remains in good shape for years together.