Storing a Motorcycle for Winter
You spent all summer and fall enjoying your motorcycle, but now that the seasons are beginning to change and the weather is getting colder, it’s time to consider your storage options. Your motorcycle is a very valuable item, so it’s essential that you store it correctly during the winter months. Not properly following the steps to storing your motorcycle for the winter can potentially cause lasting damage. It’s very important to know what type of storage unit to rent for motorcycle storage, as well as how to prepare your motorcycle for storage.
What do I need to store my motorcycle in self-storage?
To store your motorcycle in a storage unit, it needs to be in running condition. You’ll also need to bring in your registration and proof of ownership.
Can I work on my motorcycle in my storage unit?
No. If you need to work on your motorcycle, do so off-site before bringing it to your storage unit.
What’s the difference between storing my motorcycle in a garage vs. a storage unit?
Unlike garages, storage units are completely sealed, which will protect your motorcycle from all outdoor elements. This is important when it comes to avoiding moisture and humidity during storage. In a garage, your motorcycle will likely be more exposed to the elements and to pests due to the opening and closing of your garage door. Your motorcycle may also be more at risk of being scratched or bumped in a garage opposed to a storage unit.
Storing a Motorcycle in a Storage Unit:
Determine your storage company & storage unit size
When looking for the right storage company, you’ll want to go somewhere reputable. Look at their reviews, how many locations they have, and what amenities they feature. Most importantly, take note of their security measures. Look for things like gated entry, video monitoring, keypad access, and individually alarmed units. You’ll also want to make sure they offer climate-controlled storage. This type of storage keeps temperature and humidity consistent year-round, which is essential for avoiding moisture and drastic temperature changes when storing your motorcycle.
Most motorcycles can be stored in a 5×10’ storage unit comfortably, with some room to store other equipment like helmets. If you plan to store more than one motorcycle, you may need to upgrade to a 10×10’ or 10×15’ storage unit.
Fill your gas tank
An empty or slightly filled gas tank is more prone to condensation, which can cause rust in your fuel tank. Completely fill your gas tank before storing, and let your motorcycle run for a few minutes. You’ll also want to add a fuel stabilizer, as it will prevent your gas from deteriorating.
Change oil and fluids
Before storing your motorcycle, check or replace all of the fluids. Not taking the time to replace fluids leaves parts of your car vulnerable to corrosion and oxidation. You’ll also want to get an oil change. The oil in your car contains contaminants, and when not changed frequently enough, they can damage your engine. Double-check the brake fluid, as well as the clutch and coolant. If you live somewhere that experiences cold winters, you’ll also want to top off the antifreeze. After replacing all of the fluids, take your motorcycle out for a short drive to circulate them. To prevent any moisture from causing rust on your motorcycle, you may also want to lube your throttle, kickstand, shifter, and clutch cables.
Disconnect your battery
Batteries can easily die after being in storage long term. If you live somewhere that experiences extreme cold, it may also be susceptible to freezing and cracking. To best protect your battery, you’ll want to remove it from your motorcycle. Once removed, keep it somewhere warm to prevent it from cracking or leaking. To ensure that your battery stays charged, connect it to a trickle charger. If you do not plan on removing the battery, it is recommended that you place a fully charged battery in your motorcycle before storing and run it once a month.
Clean and protect your motorcycle
Thoroughly cleaning your motorcycle helps prevent rust and cracks in the fabric on your seats. Before storing your motorcycle, make sure to wash and dry it completely. Once washed, wax your motorcycle to help repel moisture during the winter months. If you have leather seats, use a leather dressing to protect them while in storage. For vinyl seats, you should use a vinyl protectant. If it is raining on the day you move your motorcycle into storage, make sure to thoroughly wipe it down. Any residual moisture that you bring in with your motorcycle can result in rust, mold, or mildew. Once your motorcycle is in the unit and will not be turned on anymore, place a sock or rag in the exhaust pipe. This is done to prevent animals and other pests from nesting in the pipe.
Prevent flat tires
Before putting your motorcycle in storage, fill the tires to their maximum air pressure. The change in temperature while in storage will cause the pressure of your tires to reduce over time.
Your tires are also susceptible to flat-spotting when placed in long-term storage. Flat-spotting is when your tires flatten over time due to contact with the ground. To avoid this, take the tires off of your motorcycle or place it on a lift.
Invest in a high-quality motorcycle cover
It’s important to get a cover for your motorcycle, as it protects from dust, dirt, moisture, and scratches. Invest in a high-quality, breathable cover for your motorcycle. Never use a plastic tarp as a replacement for a cover, as it will scratch the paint on the motorcycle. This cover should also be used when your car is not in storage, as sunlight can cause the paint to fade and leather to crack.
By following these tips for storing your motorcycle in a storage unit, you will ensure that it stays in perfect working condition. To find a drive-up storage unit near you, check out our list of storage locations. For more storage tips, sign up for our once-monthly blog newsletter.