What Are the Most Important Steps to Winterizing Your Motorcycle?

I just went through winterization of two bikes in Utah – my 08 Ultra Classic and my son's 05 FLHX Street Glide. The process is simple and straight forward. It focuses on five important aspects of your bike; Oil, Fuel, Battery, Tires and Shelter.


Storing your bike with freshly changed oil is one of the most important things you can do to keep your bike in tip-top condition. Changing the oil removals combustion contaminants that damage your bike's engine. We recommend you follow manufacturer's recommendations on oil type and weight. If you're a do-it-yourself kind of guy, run your bike and let it warm-up before draining the oil to drain easily and optimize removal of contaminants. Replace the oil filter with a new one. Put a thin coat of oil on the filter seal and tighten t turn beyond hand-tight. Inspect the drain plug, gasket or o-ring for damage and replace if needed. Be certain to re-install the drain plug before refilling the crankcase and torque to manufacturer's specs. Refill the crankcase with oil to near full, and then run the bike for a few minutes to circulate the oil. Finally top-off the crankcase and take care to not overfill.


It's important that you treat the fuel or drain it from the tank and carburetor when winterizing your bike to insure the fuel does not gel and clog minute carburetor channels or fuel injectors.

If you choose to drain the fuel from the tank, you've chosen the option with the highest degree of confidence that your fuel system remains clog-free. Purchase an inexpensive gas siphon pump and drain as much fuel from the tank as possible. Or you spend a bit more money and buy an inexpensive bilge pump [12 volt] and two 3 'sections of hose. Connect the hoses to the pump – put the pump inlet hose in your tank and the outlet hose in your gas tank. Connect the bilge pump to a 12-volt battery and pump the fuel until the tank is empty. Then run the bike to clear fuel from the carburetor. One final step, to insure the tank does not rust, purchase fogging oil and fog the gas tank. Additionally, remove the spark plugs and fog the cylinders. The other option is to treat the fuel with a fuel stabilizer – a simple and recommended solution from Harley Davidson. I use STAB-IL fuel stabilizer – but many manufacturers sell fuel stabilizer – followed the directions to treat the fuel. STAB-IL recommends 1 fluid ounce for each 2.5 gallons of fuel in the tank. Then run the bike for a few minutes to circulate the stabilized fuel and your good-to-go for storage for up to 6 months. If you plan to store the bike for longer periods, STAB-IL recommends doubling the treatment amount.


Battery winterization is often overlooked, but proper battery maintenance can increase the life of your bike's battery from 3-8 times, so a small investment now pays big dividends over time. Motorcycle electrical systems, unlike vehicle electrical systems, are designed to only maintain battery charge. If not repaired, your battery will eventually discharge, and may require replacement – a cost of $ 50 to $ 100. That's why you should invest in a battery tender and begin using it now.

Here is a list of features you should consider in your battery tender purchase;

– Services all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (AGM and gel cell).
– Automatically switches to a maintenance mode to maintain battery charge. If charge drops under load, full charger mode resumes.
– Spark proof
– Reverse polarity protected
– Clip-on and permanent-attach leads


If tires stay in the same place for an extended time, they can develop flat spots. To winterize your tires, first inflate them to manufacturer's specs, and then move the bike every month. Another more cost option is to purchase motorcycle stands to lift the bike completely off the tires.


Finally, winterize your bike by keeping it away from the elements. Garage the bike and protect it with a full cover.


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