There’s nothing like roaring down the road on your motorcycle during the warm summer months. But when the temperatures drop, you’ll likely want to set your bike aside for a while. Many motorcyclists put their bikes into storage over the winter. Do you know how to store a motorcycle when the weather gets cold?

Proper winter motorcycle storage can greatly extend your bike’s life and help ensure it will be fit to ride when it’s time to hit the road again.

Whether you keep your bike in your garage, a shed, or a self-storage facility, the steps to good winter motorcycle storage remain the same. Keep reading to learn how to store a motorcycle

Change the Oil and Fluids 

Before storing your motorcycle, check the fluid levels. If they’re low, fill them to capacity. Doing so helps prevent oxidation and corrosion over time.

Change the oil on your bike. Motor oil contains contaminants that need to be frequently cycled; otherwise, you may have to deal with issues in the spring, such as

  • Acid corrosion 
  • Rust buildup 
  • Engine byproducts

When you change your oil, it’s a good idea to switch to cold-weather-grade oil, especially if you plan to ride during chilly weather. Even if you won’t be riding in the winter, temperatures can still dip in the early spring. Cold-weather grade oil helps your bike start more easily in low temperatures. Check with your bike’s manufacturer to see what oil they recommend. While you’re changing your oil, also replace your oil filter so you don’t have any oil byproducts sitting around inside your bike. 

Be sure to also check the brake fluid and the clutch coolant. Finally, if you live somewhere that experiences cold winters, you should add antifreeze. 

Once you’ve topped off your fluids, take your motorcycle for a quick spin to circulate them before you put your bike into storage

Stabilize the Fuel 

Just as your bike’s oil can go bad after a while, gasoline left to oxidize can also break down over time. Oxidized fuel can morph into gummy debris that settles in the fuel tank and clogs the fuel system and carburetor. If that happens, it’ll be a challenge to start the bike up again come springtime. 

According to the Family Handyman, after more than three months in storage, fuel is less likely to properly ignite due to chemical reactions within the fuel and the evaporation of some volatile components. Add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to help prevent oxidation, which in turn will keep the fuel fresh and effective months down the road. 

Disconnect the Battery 

When it comes to winter motorcycle storage, disconnecting the battery is one of the most critical steps you can take, particularly if you live in a cold area. 

Why? Because a motorcycle battery needs to be used frequently. Left alone for months at a time, it can weaken or become unusable. And, in harsher climates, the battery could potentially freeze or crack.

To protect your battery, remove it from the motorcycle and store it separately. Consider storing it in a warm, dry place to prevent cracks or leaks, and then connect it to a trickle charger. Now is also a great opportunity to closely inspect your battery. Look for corrosion around the battery terminals and use a voltmeter to test the battery’s charge. A weak charge may indicate that you’ll soon need a new battery. 

If you prefer to leave the battery in the motorcycle, it’s advisable to take it out for a spin at least one time per month. Doing so will help extend the battery’s life.

Lubricate Your Bike

Before storing your motorcycle, lubricate all the small parts that need it. Your owner’s manual can give you a complete list, but these parts typically include:

  • Final drive chain
  • Levers
  • Cables
  • Side stand pivots

Inspect your components while you lubricate them to make sure everything is in good shape. 

Clean Your Motorcycle 

Do you plan on storing your bike away long-term? If so, it’s important to rigorously clean your motorcycle before storage. This can help prevent rust on the metal and cracks in the seat leather. 

Cleaning steps:

  • Wash and dry your bike.
  • Wax the bike to repel moisture. 
  • Add a leather or vinyl dressing to the seats.

Take some time to give your bike a detailed cleaning. You don’t want any road grime to stay on your bike for months while in storage. Check around your seat and side covers for hidden pockets of dirt and grit. 

While inspecting your bike for dirt, double-check your wires and components. Look for frayed wires or rust on your bike. If you find any issues, take care of them before storing your bike.

Once you’ve completed this process and put your bike into winter motorcycle storage, place a sock or rag inside the exhaust pipe to prevent animals or pests from getting in.

Fill the Tires 

Fill your bike’s tires to their maximum pressure to avoid flat tires. Changes in temperature, particularly over a long period, will cause the tire’s air pressure to wane. 

In addition, an issue that frequently pops up with long-term bike storage is flat-spotting. When this happens, the tires flatten over time because of prolonged contact with the ground. To avoid this, take the bike out for a spin once a month, put it on a lift, or simply remove the tires. 

Cover the Bike

You’ve spent a lot of money on your bike, so take good care of it in storage. Invest in a high-quality motorcycle cover. Avoid plastic tarps or other cheap options, which can cause scratches on the paint. A top-notch cover can help prevent damage from:

  • UV rays
  • Dust
  • Dirt
  • Moisture
  • Scratches

When searching for the proper cover, find one that is breathable to stop mildew.

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Store the Bike in a Proper Place

Now that you know how to prepare a motorcycle for winter storage, you have to pick a place to keep it. 

Typically, you’ll have one of three options for long-term storage:

  • At home
  • In a dedicated bike parking space
  • In a storage unit

Storing your bike at home can be a convenient option, but motorcycles take up a lot of space. Storing it in your garage may mean you have to park your car in the driveway or on the street. If you live in an apartment or condo, you may have limited parking options or may not have indoor parking available. 

In these cases, it might be best to look into self-storage. 

When choosing between a dedicated bike parking space and a motorcycle storage unit, we suggest the storage unit. An enclosed unit not only adds security to your motorcycle but also protects it from the elements. 

Wondering what the best storage unit size for motorcycles is? A 5’ x 10’ unit provides plenty of space for an average bike. This makes it simple to get the bike into and out of your unit. Additionally, it gives you extra room for all your gear, like your helmet, boots, jacket, saddlebags, and more

Your Winterized Motorcycle Checklist

There are a lot of important steps when it comes to preparing your bike for winter motorcycle storage. For your convenience, we’ve put together a simplified winterized motorcycle checklist.

When it comes time to prepare your bike for storage, just follow this checklist:

  1. Wash and dry your motorcycle.
  2. Wax your motorcycle.
  3. Add leather or vinyl dressing to the seats.
  4. Change your oil.
  5. Check and top off the brake fluid.
  6. Check and top off the clutch coolant.
  7. Add antifreeze for extra cold winters.
  8. Ride your motorcycle to circulate the fluids.
  9. Add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank.
  10. Lubricate motorcycle components.
  11. Disconnect the battery.
  12. Store your battery separately if you’re in a cold climate.
  13. Fill the tires to the maximum allowable pressure.
  14. Consider removing the tires if you’re storing your bike for several months.
  15. Cover the bike with a high-quality, breathable cover.
  16. Store the bike in a secure, dry place.

Preparing your bike for storage can be a lot of work, but these steps will protect it so you can enjoy it for many seasons to come. 

Price Self Storage Motorcycle Storage 

Want to free up additional space in your garage or driveway? Need a place to keep your bike for a long period? Looking for the best winter motorcycle storage solution? If so, you should partner with the right storage facility.

Enter Price Self Storage: Our mission is to help you live an uncluttered life! We do that by providing our customers with more than a dozen convenient locations, affordable prices, helpful features, and a range of unit sizes. Whether you want to store just one bike or an entire fleet, we have the space you need! 

Interested? Find your nearest Price Self Storage location and put a no-obligation hold on a unit today.