JZ Motorcycle Repair
Motorcycle Winterization Guide
Here's an expanded version of our winterization list that explains why we do what we do when it comes to winterizing motorcycles.
Step 1: Engine / Mechanical
When motorcycles sit for a long period of time there is no part safe from condensation or moisture, especially with extreme temperature fluctuations combined with cold storage such as your average garage space. Changing critical fluids such as engine oil, brake fluid or gear oil will help prevent moisture buildup. While changing these fluids it's also a good idea to give your bike a good check over and make a list of any issues such as worn out brake pads or tires. If you're not ready to replace these items at least you'll know about them & can plan for the upcoming riding season.
Step 2: Fuel System
Fuel system neglect can be one of the most expensive mistakes you could make when putting your bike away for winter. Fuel tanks that sit with little to no fuel leave the door open for....again moisture from condensation, which can lead to rust buildup, damaged fuel pumps or fuel valves. Untreated fuel, especially in carbureted bikes can lead to varnish & costly carburetor rebuilds. Start with a FRESH, FULL tank of unleaded premium (No Ethanol) fuel & stabilize with the recommended amount of additive. We recommend BG Supercharge II, about 1-2 oz. per gallon. After you've added fuel stabilizer you'll want to take your bike for one last ride, that way the treated fuel will run through the entire fuel system. For carbureted bikes, the best way to ensure your carbs stay clean is to turn the fuel valve to the OFF position (for vacuum operated fuel valves set to the ON position and disconnect the vacuum line from fuel valve) and drain the carburetors, pull the choke and try starting the motorcycle a few times. This process will pull all of the fuel out of the carburetor bowls and jets eliminating the chance for varnish buildup.
Step 3: Battery Maintenance
Neglecting your battery during storage can be another costly mistake. We recommend completely removing your battery for the duration of storage. Some of today's Fuel Injected motorcycles have the tendency to drain a battery's voltage in a matter of weeks because of ECU memory functions, clocks or security systems. Remove the battery, if standard top off fluids, clean & grease posts & terminals. Charge & test battery to get an idea of the battery's current health state. We recommend storing your battery up off the ground in a dry climate controlled area and leaving it connected to a tender or use a charger 1-2 times per month.
Step 4: Cosmetic Preventative Maintenance
Step 4 is all about preserving the look of your motorcycle. Oxidation & corrosion from moisture & condensation are the first steps leading to a rusty part on your motorcycle, paint, chrome, polished parts & brake rotors are all vulnerable. First wash your bike, be sure to remove any bugs, dirt or road grime from any painted, polished or chrome surfaces. Next thoroughly dry your bike, we don't want any leftover water or moisture on critical areas such as switches, pivot areas etc. Now that you're done washing the bike it's also a good idea to lube cables & pivot areas such as lever pivots or linkage, foot peg pins and springs, etc. For further protection of painted surfaces use a clean microfiber rag & a can of spray polish. For chrome use a chrome polish. Brake rotors also need to be cleaned & dried.
Step 5: Final Storage Preparation
Decide where your bike is going to be stored (the drier the better). One concern we hear about is preventing flat spots on tires. Hard surfaces & low tire pressures are the main causes for flat spots. Park your bike on a rug or piece of carpet & inflate your tires an additional 5-10 psi from where you usually set them. Put the bike up on the center stand if it has one, some owners use a custom stand under the bike to lift the tires completely off the ground. Something else you might want to think about......rodents! Yes, sounds crazy, but it is not uncommon for mice to crawl up a motorcycle through the tightest spaces & into your air box where they will make a nice nest for themselves. While making a new home out of your motorcycle they've also been known to chew insulation off of wiring. If you think rodents could be a problem where you are storing your bike use rodent repellent products around your bike & the storage area. Finally, cover your bike. Motorcycle covers are great for protection during storage.
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