5 Steps on How to Winterize your Motorcycle

With winter arriving soon, check out 5 steps on how to winterize your motorcycle.

With Winter Arriving Soon, It’s Time to Start Winterizing Your Motorcycle

A motorcycle with several issues is not something you want to experience after a winter. With snow already arriving in most states and temperatures already dropping, it might be time to winterize your motorcycle. If you don’t prep it before the winter season, it may be difficult to get it running again during the spring.

With the proper care and treatment, you can prevent any unwanted surprises such as a dead battery, corrosion, rust areas, or worse. To avoid these issues, read these five steps on how to winterize your beautiful motorcycle.

1. Clean your Motorcycle and Give it a Bath

how to winterize a motorcycle
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

If you don’t give your bike a proper cleaning, you might potentially see rust and corrosion on it. If there is already dirt on it, that will increase the chance of corrosion. This is the last thing you’d want to see after taking the cover off when it’s springtime, right? Give your bike a thorough cleaning before storing it.

To clean it, wash it with water and a gentle mild detergent. For better resistance against moisture and corrosion, add a coat of wax or polish to seal it.

2. Change your Oil

adding new oil for winter motorcycle
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

If you haven’t changed your oil, consider doing it now. The last thing you probably want to do after winter is changing the oil before you can take it for a ride. Change the oil and if your coolant levels are low, then add anti-freeze.

Once you’re done, start your bike up again to let the oil circulate through the engine and provide additional protection against corrosion!

3. Remove your Battery and Store it

motorcycle oil change
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

Batteries are not cheap, and it is best to remove your battery from the bike. We recommend that you use a battery tender so it can keep the battery charging during the winter! They are inexpensive to purchase, and very reliable to use during the cold winter months. Just be sure to store it somewhere clean and dry where it won’t drop below freezing temperatures.

4. Inspect Your Tires for Proper Pressure

inspecting motorcycle tires by filling in air
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

We wish this was not an issue, but if you leave your tires to sit in the same position during the entire winter season, then this can potentially cause flat spots. Not only that, they can even absorb moisture from your garage door. To avoid flat spots and moisture problems, get motorcycle stands to prop it.

There are many options to get your bike propped such as investing in stands, getting plywood or a piece of carpet, or blocks to place under your tires.

5. Cover and Protect Your Bike

motorcycle cover to winterize your bike
Photo Courtesy: Adobe Stock

The most important rule of all? Get a cover to place over your motorcycle so you can protect it! This will help prevent as much moisture and corrosion as it can. If you are storing it inside, you’re in better shape of protecting it. If you have to store it outside, it’s recommended that you get a cover with motorcycle tie downs to keep the wind from blowing it loose.

If you are looking for durable, reliable motorcycle straps, look into our selection of motorcycle straps. We also carry motorcycle tie down systems and many motorcycle accessories to better support your bike.

Want to read more about winterizing your bike? Consider reading this:

How to winterize your motorcycle

If you have any questions about our motorcycle straps or accessories, give our team of experts a call at 800-404-7068.

Rubber Wheel Chocks vs. Urethane Wheel Chocks

Wheel chocks are a lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive way to avoid silly accidents from causing major damage to your vehicles.

What they are, how they’re different, and where to buy the best ones.

Rubber and urethane wheel chocks are both a lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive way to avoid silly accidents from causing major damage to your vehicles – whether it’s trucks, trailers, recreational vehicles, or any other vehicle that could potentially roll away on you.

using and choosing wheel chocks

In short, the main purpose of wheel chocks is to keep vehicles from rolling away.

We have many different wheel chock styles to choose from in order to match your needs and your vehicle’s needs. Determining whether you need rubber or urethane wheel chocks mainly depends on the environment that the chocks will be used in.

Styles of Rubber Wheel Chocks

Rubber wheel chocks are commonly used in the commercial transportation industry and while wheel chocks are not technically required for commercial motor vehicles, they’re always good to have on hand when loading, unloading, or when you’re parked on any type of incline or decline.

Most people only use rubber wheel chocks in enclosed areas like warehouses or garages since they’re not very resistant to outdoor elements.

Wedge-Style Wide Rubber Wheel Chocks

Heavy-duty rubber and a grooved design come together to create a secure grip against tires. Metal handles make these chocks easy to carry or secure when not in use.

Wedge-Style Solid Rubber Wheel Chocks

A stronger, more solid rubber and full grip bottom provide a safe and secure hold on your vehicle’s tires. Built-in slots on the back make them easy to carry or secure with a chain or strap.

Double-Sided Rubber Wheel Chocks

double-sided-pyramid-style-wheel-chocks
Double-Sided Rubber Wheel Chocks

These popular pyramid-style wheel chocks come in two sizes to match your tire size: 9-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 7-1/4″ and a slightly larger 10″ x 6″ x8″. This style can be used on either side and come with a built-in eye bolt for secure storage.

Styles of Urethane Wheel Chocks

If you’re going to be using your chocks mainly outdoors, urethane wheel chocks are able to better resist weather and abrasions. Urethane wheel chocks are also more resistant to oils, fuels, and lubricants.

Our urethane wheel chocks are orange due to customer demand. The bright color makes it harder to misplace or forget them. To learn more about the benefits of the orange color see our post: Why Should I Buy Bright Wheel Chocks?

Orange Wedge-Style Wheel Chocks

These long and bright wheel chocks have a curved surface that contours to fit tires and features a raised diamond plate pattern. Instead of a eye bolt, it has a mold-in hole for chain or strap securement.

Orange Double-Sided Wheel Chocks

Similar to the rubber double-sided chocks, these urethane chocks are more lightweight and resistant to fuels and solvents. They provide excellent stability to vehicles and can be used on either side.

Choosing the Right Wheel Chocks

Both double-sided and wedge-style wheel chocks serve the same purpose and choosing which one to use is mostly a personal choice. Double-sided chocks are the most versatile as they can be used on either side, while wedge wheel chocks are able to cradle tires more.

The most important aspect in choosing the right wheel chocks is getting a size that’s right for your tires.

For standard truck and trailer size wheels, you should choose a wheel chock with a height that’s about 1/4 the height of the tire. For example, a 22.5″ tire requires a wheel chock that’s about 6″ high. Along with the tire height, you also need to choose a chock that is wider than your tire’s diameter to ensure a secure hold.

Using Wheel Chocks on Motorcycles

Although some people use the above styles of wheel chocks as a makeshift wheel chock when hauling motorcycles on a truck bed or trailer, they’re really not designed for motorcycles.

Instead, get a wheel chock that’s specifically designed for motorcycles. This TrakStar motorcycle chock comes with durable aluminum L-track for simple installation and a strong hold time after time.

To see a video on how to properly install this popular motorcycle wheel chock, see our post on how to get your trailer motorcycle ready.

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle

dri_41You start to feel it about this time of year – the air starts to get crisp, you start to plan the annual leaf ride…its almost time to start to prep your motorcycle for winter. To keep your bike well maintained and ready to go in the spring, there are some things which need to be taken care of before the snow flies.

Give it a good bath

Leaving dirt, bugs or other junk on your bike over winter is bad. If you let those all winter, it will begin to corrode and start to damage the paint. Use water and a mild detergent to clean and ultimately protect your motorcycle’s finish. Be sure to get the bike dry too – water that sits on the bike is almost as bad as dirt for long periods of time (like a winter) and it will begin to rust. Take this opportunity to make a last run to the local car wash on the bike and enjoy the ride.

Fuel – fill it up or drain the tank

This is like the chicken and the egg. So like one, some like the other – you either need to fill the tank or drain it. I like to fill, and if you do – you must use a fuel stabilizer. Again, some like Sta-bil, some like SeaFoam…pick your favorite and use the manufacture’s recommended amount for your size of fuel tank. If you choose to drain- get it dry. The last thing you want in your tank is rust- very bad.

Along those lines – determine if your bike is fuel injected or carbureted. Carbs need to be drained of their gas – usually from small screws on the bottom side of the fuel bowl. But – not before the treated gas has had a chance flow through. It will help preserve the carb seals and gaskets. (This is the same treatment which should be used if a bike is put into extended storage.)

Super shine

Once you get back from the car wash and gas station – give the bike a once over with a nice wax or polish. This will keep the dust and dirt away from that new, clean paint. This is a great time to look over the bike; inspect for any damage to the body work, look over the frame for damage and of course dream of all the things you want to add to the bike for the next riding season. Some call these additions farkles, whatever you call them…its a good time.Yamaha_Midnight_Star.engine

Oil change and lube

What? Before you park it? I know – the humanity. But, this will protect your engine and spark plugs from the moisture you curated since the last change. Prior to the change – be sure to warm up your engine – to get rid of any moisture that could have already formulated around it.
Those with the super precautionary gene will want to remove the plugs and add some oil to coat the cylinder walls. By doing this – you add that layer of oil to the internals of the engine, which will keep things as good as new.

A full oil change is also recommended before you go back on the road in the spring too – I will not admit to doing that myself. But, it is a good uber-precautionary riders will. They will say the chemicals in the engine oil becomes acidic over the winter – I think the new synthetic oils will hold.

To protect the cables, bolts and shafts from rust and tightening – use penetrating oil to prevent moisture from forming. Top of the list is the throttle and clutch cables, any pivot points like your kick stand and shifter – and if your bike is chain drive, clean, lube/wax the chain before you store it.

The battery

Some will want to remove the battery – and if you are not storing your bike in a heated area and you do not plan to trickle charge the battery…I have to agree. Now – I am spoiled and have a nice heated shed for my Kawasaki. But – removal is a great idea. Batteries are not cheap.

I like a trickle charger – they have become very, very inexpensive. The connection is permanently mounted to the bike and plugs into 120 volt. There have been some seriously cool solar trickle chargers on the market in the past few years – this is a nice free way to keep the battery maintained, and a super option if your storage spot doesn’t have electricity.

Exhaust and mufflers

Again – we are wanting to prevent moisture – and where heat was, water can be. So use oil penetrating/oil to spray the muffler and drain holes to prevent rust. Some will go as far as to stuff/cover muffler hole(s) with a plastic bag – but make sure the exhaust is dry before you do that. Or, you will be trapping water in the system. One advantage to plugging the system is to keep any pests out of your pipes. No one wants mice in their pipes…not good.

Tire check

Check and fill, if necessary, you tires to the manufacture’s psi level before storage, It prevents any damage caused from under-inflated tires sitting. Make sure to store your bike on the center stand – it takes lots of down pressure off the tires. If your storage area is concrete – consider storing your bike on wood or carpet to prevent/minimize moisture contact with the tires. Cardboard will work in a pinch – especially if there is any change the tires could freeze to the storage floor, that is not recommended.

Coolant

If your bike is water-cooled. Check your anti-freeze/water ratio. Anti-freeze should be flushed every 2-3 years. If you bike is air cooled – less often.

Cover/Protection

Covers can be purchased at local discount stores. It is an absolute must if you are storing outside – there are different covers based on inside or outside storage. Covering your bike not only protects it from the elements, but keeps keeps dust off and moisture to a minimum.
Please don’t use a simple tarp or sheet – it can absorb the moisture in the air which will lead to rust. Damp fabric can also attract – develop mold. This will primary cause issues with your seat…your bike seat. Save yourself and buy a reasonably priced bike cover – they do come in different sizes, so check the package.

Where to store?

Ideally – we could build a big, heated shed to store the bike in for the winter. We could keep it dry, clean and sit on it when we miss the riding. But, for many of us – this is not possible. If you find inside storage – try to find a place that is away from any windows. UV damages the paint and plastic parts of your motorcycle. Some dealers offer bike storage programs – if you have no space at home. Also – if you plan to buy a new bike in the spring, check with the dealer…sometimes they offer to store new bikes until spring for free when they sell new bikes. If you have to store the bike outside – find a nice, clean protected spot. Make sure if you are in a snowy area, you bike does not get disguised as a snow pile and get moved by the snow plow. That would be bad.

Hopefully you have come away with a nice checklist to use to winterize your motorbike for the winter.