Winter Motorcycle Storage

Chances are that you aren’t riding your motorcycle during the winter, with rare exceptions. Luckily, winter motorcycle storage is very straightforward and easy. Read more to learn tips for how to store your motorcycle appropriately so it’s ready to ride in the spring.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Winter Motorcycle Storage

1. Change the Filter and Oil

There are some differing opinions on when to change your motorcycle oil and filter; before or after winter storage. We recommend changing it before storage—here’s why.

When an engine runs, it produces byproducts from combustion, like acids and moisture. If these are left sitting in your engine, they can spell trouble. Moisture can cause rust on engines, and once rust has begun to form, it continues to spread. If this rust stays over winter, it can flake into the oil upon spring’s arrival when you turn the engine on, tainting the parts and causing wear.

Just like water, acid can also cause problems in your oil. Acids are corrosive to metal, which leads to engine wear and even engine failure. The best way to prevent this damage is to drain oil from the engine before you store your motorcycle. 

Did you know motor oil doesn’t inherently resist against rust? It’s true—rust prevention additives have to be added to protect against rust.

Many motor oils don’t contain enough rust inhibitors to hold up in storage, so it’s best to use a specially created oil that’s made for motorcycles. Consider AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oil, which has rust inhibitors sufficient for storage season protection. 

2. Make Sure the Fuel is Stable

Oxygen is vital to our survival, but excessive oxygen can actually break down gasoline if it oxidizes. Once gasoline begins oxidizing, it can form gum, insoluble debris, varnish and more that can clog fuel passages in the fuel system and carburetor—all tough on an engine. It can make it hard to start the engine in the spring, if it starts at all.

A gasoline stabilizer can help protect against oxidation, and a good one is able to resist it and keep fuel fresh. AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer is proven to keep fuel fresh for up to a year. 

If you are wanting to store your motorcycle for more than four months, be sure to add Gasoline Stabilizer before the last ride of the season to make sure it’s fully distributed across the fuel system.

Another option is AMSOIL Quickshot, mainly created to keep fuel system components clean and also clean the combustion chamber while focusing on ethanol issues. However, Quickshot also includes a stabilizer that keeps fuel fresh during short-term storage up to four months. 

3. Maintain the Battery

There are a few ways to do this. You can take it out of the motorcycle and keep it stored where it won’t freeze, like in a basement or garage with heat (be sure it’s stored off the ground). You can also leave the battery in your motorcycle, but make sure you attach a trickle charger to your battery. This will make sure the battery is optimally charged and allow your bike to start up in the spring with no problem. 

4. Wash and Dry Your Motorcycle

Be sure to wash everything off your bike before storage, including dirt, dust, and insects, using a sponge and mild soap. Brushes are helpful for wheel cleaning, but a stiff brush could scratch the finish, so be careful. 

5. Cover and Store Your Motorcycle

As soon as your motorcycle is dry, make sure you cover it with a good dust cover and keep it stored inside. An extra protective step is to keep the pipes blocked with rags, dryer sheets to keep rodents and pests out; just make sure to take them off before you start up in spring.