The Must Do’s
Find a secure storage location. Your locked garage is your first choice. Whether it’s heated or not, it’s likely to be the safest spot for your bike. If you really don’t have the room, consider an offsite garage or dealership that offers secure storage. Always store your bike indoors if at all possible.
Protect your battery. The battery can slowly lose charge over time. The easiest way to keep it topped up is with a trickle charger; plug it into your bike and the wall to keep the battery topped up.
Attend to the fuel system. Modern fuel-injected bikes should be put to bed with a full tank to prevent the gas tank from rusting. However, gas can spoil when left sitting. So, use non-ethanol fuel if possible, add a bottle of fuel stabilizer, and run your bike for a few minutes to distribute treated gasoline throughout the system. If you have an older bike with a carburetor system, consider going the extra mile of disconnecting the carburetor and draining it of gas before storing your motorcycle.
Block the airbox and exhaust pipes. Prevent critters from getting into your bike and turning your air filter into a nest by blocking off the airbox entry and exhaust pipes. Stuff with a rag or cover with a plastic bag and elastic band that can be easily removed come springtime.
The Should Do’s
Wash your bike. Give it a good cleaning to remove any dirt or salt that might damage the finish over time. Treat painted parts with wax and plastic panels with silicone protectant. Be sure to clean and apply lots of lubricant to your chain to keep it rust-free and running smoothly.
Change the oil. Unless you’ve changed your oil very recently, it’s best to do an oil change before putting your motorcycle away for the winter to make sure all parts have fresh oil and are as protected as possible from rust and damage over the winter.
Elevate your bike. This will take pressure off of your tires, preventing flat spots and dry rot. Pro tip: make sure your tires are fully and properly inflated, too. A centre stand is ideal for storing your bike, but if you don’t have one, a bike jack or paddock stand will do the trick.
Cover it up. Use a synthetic cover to keep your bike cozy all winter long and protect it from moisture and frost. If you are forced to store your motorcycle outside, invest in a heavy-duty, waterproof cover that will keep it as protected from snow and ice as possible.
Top up the coolant. Add antifreeze if it is recommended by your bike’s manufacturer. Otherwise, double check that your coolant levels are good to go, to keep the system in good condition and ready for your first spring ride.
Lube up key areas. For maximum protection, add a little spray lube to your spark plug holes, and throttle or clutch cables, if you have them, too.
Once you have read and worked through the motorcycle winterization checklist, your bike should be ready to go next spring!
Whether you’re new to biking, looking to upgrade your license, or just need a skills refresher, watch for our Motorcycle Training Program (MTP) returning in spring 2022. Visit our Motorcycle Training page, choose any course and then enter your email address to join our mailing list to be notified when registration opens.
Earn your Road SMARTS
If you would like to get more involved in road safety, take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents are reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.ottawasafetycouncil.ca/road-smarts.