Whether you’re putting your wheels in storage for the winter or you simply need to keep it off the road for a while, it’s vital that you store it the right way. Follow these helpful tips to avoid the dreaded post-storage realization that your ride developed flat spots in the tires, pasty fluid, exhaust smoke—or worse—while you weren’t looking.
1. Fill ’er up!
Stagnant fuel is your carburetor and injector’s worst enemy—and your mechanic’s best friend. The ethanol in fuel retains dissolved or suspended water, which can lead to corrosion, gum, varnish, and carbon deposits that can wreck your system. Avoid this and fill up your tank before storage. Go the extra mile and treat your fuel system with specialized additives designed for this very reason. Have a carbureted motorcycle? Run the treatment, switch your petcock to off, and drain the carburetors.
2. Keep it hydrated.
Fuel isn’t the only thing that keeps your bike going. Check your brake, clutch, antifreeze, and coolant fluid levels before storage. Top off the fluids or drain them completely and refill them when you’re ready to ride again. It’s also good practice to lube any moving parts, like the chain drive, cables, controls, fork surfaces, and other pivot points to keep moisture from causing rust or binding.
3. Do a thorough oil change.
Changing the oil and filter before you store your bike is very important. In addition to its purpose as a lubricant, oil aids in your bike’s filtration system, meaning it traps small particles like carbon until the filter can remove them from circulation. When your bike isn’t running, those carbon particles rise to the surface and can cause etching on metal surfaces.
4. Give your bike a spa treatment.
In addition to a nice thorough cleaning before storage, you should add a coat of wax to its surface. This will act as a barrier and combat moisture and rust. Spray your exhaust pipes with some WD-40 to protect them and stuff a clean towel into the exhaust and intake to keep tiny critters from nesting in there.
5. Avoid tiring out the tires.
Tires are porous and tend to lose air when in long-term storage. If your tire goes soft or flat, it’s likely to develop a permanent flat spot when left in one position for a long time. Avoid this by storing your bike on its center stand. Don’t have a center stand? Invest in a paddock stand for your front and rear tires. If that isn’t an option either, overinflate your tires slightly before storage and rotate them every few weeks to change their position.
6. Ensure the battery keeps going—and going.
The battery is the heart of your bike—nothing works without it. Check your battery fluid level (if applicable) and ensure you’re not low on battery acid, which can lead to internal shorts. Don’t mistake the misnomer of a “maintenance-free” battery just because the fluid level doesn’t require adjustment. You still need to store your bike in a warmer environment and periodically charge the battery. If this isn’t practical for you, remove the battery entirely and trickle-charge it as needed.
Now that you know the proper way to ensure your bike survives long-term storage, find the right place to keep it safe. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage and give your beloved motorcycle a home away from home.