Your motorcycle, no matter how cheap, is an investment. If you don’t put in the time and attention, it’ll quickly morph from a source of mechanical joy to a rusty piece of garage furniture. It’s important to prepare your bike for winter storage, and it takes an equal amount of prep to get it out of hibernation and ready for springtime riding. Use this checklist to help get your motorcycle smoothly back on the road this spring.
If you properly stored your motorcycle for winter – drained the fuel and, added stabilizer liquid – you have little to worry about. If you did neither of those things, I hope you read this before tried to start up your bike.
Fuel degrades if it’s left alone for too long. Its combustible properties evaporate, the gasoline oxidizes and creates varnish deposits and condensation can form. If carelessly stored for winter, the first startup after storage can force solid particles and water, along with useless fuel, through the system, clogging and destroying the lines, filter and injectors. You… don’t want that.
Pro-tip: Winterize your motorcycle correctly. Assuming you did winterize you motorcycle properly, you’re still going to want to pour fresh high-octane fuel into the tank to ensure the best combustion.
Oil and Oil Filter
If you didn’t change your oil and oil filter before storing your bike for the winter, now is the time to make the swap. Similar to fuel, oil can oxidize and degrade over time and cause the viscosity to change for the worse. And, unless your motorcycle is stored in a climate-controlled garage, temperature swings lead to condensation which leads to sludge. Sludge is bad.
Fuel and oil are the most obvious to check, but it’s never a bad idea to do a full fluid swap and replace your brake fluid and engine coolant. Like fuel and oil, brake fluid and coolant break down over time and lose effectiveness.
Ensuring your battery is set for spring comes down to whether you hooked it up to a trickle charger before storing it for winter. If you didn’t, order a new battery sooner rather than later so your first ride isn’t delayed any more than it has to be.
Before setting out on any ride, you should make sure you have properly inflated tires. Tires will lose pressure if left sitting for long periods, especially in low temperatures. If you didn’t store your bike on a stand, its possible the rubber even developed flat spots, and if the bike was left sitting on concrete with nothing between the tires and the ground, moisture damage is likely. It’s better to check for these things in your garage than find out about them while going 65mph down the highway.
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