With winter fast approaching, many riders have the same question. How do we maintain our motorcycle in the cold? Here’s why this is such an important question that needs to be answered.
These are the things things that you can to maintain a motorcycle during winter:
- Store your Motorcycle Indoors
- Wash and Dry your Motorcycle
- Lubricate all Moving Parts
- Fill up the Fuel Tank and use Fuel Stabilizers
- Replace Engine Oil and Air Filters
- Use Motorcycle Stands
- Disconnect the Battery
- Buy a Motorcycle Cover
- Cover the Muffler
- Apply Anti-Rust to Vulnerable Surfaces
Motorcycles have internal combustion engines that operate at very high temperatures. The cold is not ideal for optimum engine and traction performance. Hence special care must be taken to ensure your motorcycle is running at its optimum even during winter, without risking a major breakdown of your machine.
If this has helped clear your doubts about the need for motorcycle maintenance in winter, read on to discover the most important tips to do the same!
Unlike humans, machines do not have the capacity to adapt to changing varying conditions. Motorcycles, which are also machines, have small windows of operation that ensure they perform at optimum levels. Winter brings about cold weather and snowy weather, which have an adverse impact on the performance of the motorcycle.
If care is not taken, the motorcycle could be affected seriously and may not even start when the weather improves. As a result, you may have to take it for a full service to a garage, which can be a rather expensive affair.
The tips and precautions that need to be taken are rather simple and easy to follow. In this article, we list a few important tips that will help you keep your motorcycle up and running.
Table of Contents
Store your Motorcycle Indoors
Having an indoor garage will help tackle most of the problems that arise due to the cold weather. Most garages are insulated and have a stable temperature. It also prevents the motorcycle from coming in direct contact with the elements like rain and snow, which decreases the moisture content dramatically. Indoor storage can also protect the motorcycle from insects and small animals that are looking for tight spaces that provide additional warmth.
Indoor storage makes it more convenient for owners to check on the motorcycle periodically. They will not be hampered by the weather conditions and will be able to conduct a visual inspection easily. Storing your motorcycle indoors also ensures the security of your motorcycle, protecting it from thieves and vandals.
And if your garage is not warm, then you can use some good heater to maintain the ideal temperature of your garage or you can read our article about How do I keep my motorcycle warm in the winter from here.
Wash and Dry your Motorcycle
Washing your motorcycle has more benefits than just making it look neat and clean. If you are not planning to ride your motorcycle during the winter, a good wash can ensure that you have cleared the bike of all dust and debris which could have accumulated during previous rides.
Make sure that when you clean the motorcycle, you do not leave any tight spaces. While it may be difficult for us to access, it is in these spots that dust, debris, and moisture can accumulate. This has an adverse impact over the long run. Also, take care to ensure all metal surfaces have been washed. This will definitely help you arrest the rusting of these surfaces.
The second aspect is drying the bike, which is critical. If your bike is not properly dried and moisture from the wash remains on the surfaces, it can accelerate the rusting of the metal. Remember, ice is solidified water that expands when it freezes. As a result, it comes in contact with more metal due to its increased surface area.
This can really degrade the performance of your motorcycle once you begin riding. To ensure your ride has completely dried, use a dried rag to wipe down the motorcycle. To ensure moisture has been removed from the tight spaces, use an air blower.
Lubricate all Moving Parts
Lubrication is done to reduce the friction between moving parts of a machine. However, common lubricants like oil also help keep out water and moisture from coming in contact with the metal surfaces and thus helps prevent rusting. Lubricating the moving parts is thus a critical step that must be done before putting your bike away for the winter.
Lubricating the chain is the most important step, as it is the most susceptible to rusting due to its constant exposure to external air. Apply the lubricant thoroughly over the entire chain and ensure that the excess is wiped down. Lubricating the chain in weekly intervals and using small amounts is highly recommended during winters.
Another important part that must be lubricated is the engine. Remove the spark plugs and add a little oil into the holes. Rotate the rear wheel of your motorcycle while the engine is still in gear. This will ensure the cylinders of the engine are coated with the oil you just added. On completion, ensure that the spark plugs are put back in place properly.
Fill up the Fuel Tank and use Fuel Stabilizers
An empty fuel tank can accumulate moisture on the tank walls. This occurs primarily because of moisture content in contaminated fuel. Long periods of inactivity over the winter can result in the fuel tank rusting.
On refueling, the rust can contaminate the fuel mix and result in serious damage to your engine. Filling up your fuel tank will ensure that the tanks of the wall do not get corroded over this period of storage.
Fuel stabilizers are essential in keeping octane and other fuel components from evaporating, which adversely affects the quality of the fuel mix. It also ensures that the tank is protected from corrosion due to water and the other byproducts of ethanol.
Fuel stabilizers must however be mixed in the right proportion. Failing to do so could lead to detonation and loss of power to your motorcycle.
Replace Engine Oil and Air Filters
Engine oil produces a lot of unwanted products during combustion, which is generally called gunk. During use, the gunk is burned out due to the engine heat. When the motorcycle is in storage during the colder months, the gunk can get mixed with the oil.
This can cause the oil to break down and go bad. Broken down engine oil can severely reduce the performance of an engine. Thus, replace the engine oil on your bike after your last ride before you store the bike away. Use engine oils that are designed for the winter.
Some bikes have liquid-cooled systems that require antifreeze to ensure the coolant remains in its liquid state during colder temperatures. Ensure you have the right proportion of antifreeze in the coolant to ensure the proper performance.
Use Motorcycle Stands
Motorcycle stands are critical for maintenance and storage. These stands not only offer a stable base for you to carry out maintenance of your ride. They also help save space and store your motorcycle more efficiently.
Most default side stands provided by the manufacturers tend to deform over extended periods due to the weight of the bike. The area of the tires in contact with the ground experiences uneven stress over long periods.
This causes uneven wear and can even result in flat spots or deflated tires. Motorcycle stands are an easy solution to this, by preventing the tire from coming in direct contact with the ground. The stand takes on most of the weight of the motorcycle, thus preventing flat spots and issues related to the wear of the tire.
We have made a detailed article on Why put a Motorcycle on a Stand, you can read that article to know the uses of motorcycle stands. We have picked the best-rated motorcycle stand from amazon:
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Disconnect the Battery
The battery is most affected by the winter. The cold weather increases the viscosity of the battery fluids. The resulting flow is improper and therefore the strength of the battery reduces. As a result, the battery will not have the strength to start your motorcycle.
Ideally, the battery must be removed while in long storage. Keep it stored in a location that does not have too much temperature fluctuation. Another option to preserve your battery is to connect it to a trickle charger.
If you are storing your bike for a short period, ensure you check the battery every week. Start the motorcycle to ensure your battery has not developed issues. Maintenance of the battery includes checking if the terminals are clean and there is sufficient electrolyte in the battery.
Buy a Motorcycle Cover
Using a motorcycle cover to protect a motorcycle from dust and changing weather is the most obvious choice for riders. The cover is of much more significance if you do not have the option to store your motorcycle indoors.
A motorcycle cover helps preserve the finish and the paintwork of your motorcycle. It also helps keep away moisture to a large extent, provided the fabric is breathable. In this case, it prevents the accumulation of mold as well.
A motorcycle cover in winter can keep away snow. This allows for the engine to be kept at a relatively warmer temperature which will help preserve engine life. It also ensures that snow does not accumulate in the open areas of the bike, such as the exhaust vents.
A motorcycle cover also adds a layer of security as it keeps it away from the prying eyes of thieves and vandals. Here are some of the best ratedmotorcycle cover:
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Cover the Muffler
Winters get cold for not just humans, but even insects, bugs, and rodents. They thus look for tight spots that will offer them a better chance to stay warm. The tailpipe assembly, which includes the muffler, is susceptible to this issue. If proper precautions are not taken, you may have to replace your tailpipe due to damage and clogging by these animals and insects.
They can also damage internal wiring and piping which can lead to an expensive trip to the garage. Thus, it is important to protect the motorcycle’s tailpipe assembly.
This can be done by covering the muffler with steel wool. This keeps pests and small animals away effectively and helps protect the exhaust assembly.
Apply Anti-Rust to Vulnerable Surfaces
A motorcycle frame is primarily made of metals that are susceptible to rusting over extended periods. This could cause holes to form in the metal surfaces, which can seriously degrade the loading capacity of the frame and pose a safety risk to the rider.
A good layer of anti-rust should be applied to the motorcycle, especially the parts susceptible to rusting. This will keep the moisture away and prevent rusting. Anti-rust coatings can also help protect the finish of the bike and help you maintain its pristine condition throughout.