RoadRUNNER - newsletter - Oct 2009
**Touring Tip: Checklist for Winterizing Your Bike**
Because most mechanical systems perform best when they're used
regularly, the most effective way of preparing your bike for winter is
to simply keep riding and maintaining it. But most of us,
unfortunately, don't live in a climate that allows a 365-day riding
year. Consequently, we need to prepare our rides for some period of
winter storage. Here's a quick checklist to help you make sure the job
gets done properly:
Store Properly: Indoor (heated if possible) storage is best for
guarding against moisture and rust. To prevent flat spots from
developing on tires, store the bike on its centerstand with most of
its weight off of the wheels. If that's not possible, move the
motorcycle slightly every month.
Stabilize the Fuel: Fill gas tank and add fuel stabilizer to the
gas. With fuel-injected bikes, run the engine so the treated fuel gets
into the injectors. With carburetor(s) turn off petcock, drain float
Tend to the Battery: Attach maintenance charger to battery. If
battery is a non-sealed type, check fluid levels and add distilled
water if needed. Avoid using trickle chargers, which overcharge
batteries in storage
Lubricate Controls and Other Mechanical Parts: Lubricate cables,
change front fork oil as required by owner's manual and oil other
exterior unsealed moving parts.
Change Engine Oil and Filter: Because old oil can develop acidic
qualities and cause corrosion, change it prior to storage and possibly
again in the spring.
Inspect/Lubricate Final Drive: Chains should be cleaned, checked for
proper tension and lubricated. Check the oil level on shaft drive
bikes and add or replace it as necessary.
Inspect/Service Cooling System: For water-cooled bikes, test the
coolant for freeze protection. Look for any signs of rust or leakage,
ensure that coolant level is at the proper level--drain and flush and
replace coolant every two years.
Inspect/Service Brakes: Remove the brake pads and check the calipers
for corrosion. If left unchecked, corroded parts can eventually cause
brakes to seize up. Replace faulty parts as necessary.
Inspect/Replace Tires: Check condition of tires, including tread
depth. Tires with wear bars showing or 3/32 or less of tread
remaining, or older than six years should be replaced.
Inspect/Service Electrical System: Look for any signs of corrosion
on exposed electrical connections. A thin coating of silicone
dielectric grease can help prevent corrosion.
Replace Brake/Clutch Fluids: Brake fluid can absorb moisture over
time, causing corrosion and loss of braking effectiveness. It's best
to replace those fluids yearly, but be sure to use only the
recommended fluid from a sealed container.
Check Torque of Threaded Fasteners: Ensuring that key nuts and bolts
(i.e., those that could threaten life or limb if they became loose)
are at their proper tightness is especially important.
Clean/Protect Surfaces: Give your bike a thorough cleaning and then
polish and wax all painted and chrome surfaces; clean and polish
aluminum and stainless steel surfaces with the appropriate metal
polish and then apply a protective coating.
Inspect/Replace Air Filter: Inspect the air filter to determine if
it needs cleaning or replacement.
Clean and Treat Leather: Using a high quality dressing to clean and
preserve all leather surfaces.
Treat Cylinder Walls: To help prevent cylinder wall and piston ring
corrosion, remove spark plug(s) and add 25cc of motor oil. Then, with
plugs removed, use the starter to turn the motor over several times to
distribute the oil. Reinstall spark plugs and tighten to the specified
Consult Owner's Manual: As a final check to make sure you haven't
missed anything, review the maintenance schedule in your owner's
manual to determine if any other services are required.
Many, if not most, of the above procedures will be within the
mechanical knowledge and skill level of the owner. However, if you're
ever in doubt about something, it's always advisable to consult a
trained professional technician.