Before you know it, it will be too cold to ride your motorcycle.  Once you’ve made the gut-wrenching decision to decommission your ride for the season, you’ll need to figure out where and how to store it.  Motorcycle storage isn’t brain surgery, and only takes a few simple steps.  The last place to store your bike is outside, where it will be vulnerable to the harsh elements.  Instead, call Zippy Shell and put it into a mobile self storage container.

motorcycle in snow; winter storage for motorcycles

To prep for winter storage, you should wash your motorcycle, and wax or polish it once it’s thoroughly dried.  Use a metal protectant spray to prevent rust on the exhaust pipe(s) and anywhere else appropriate.  Some change out their coolant, but if you’re storing in a climate-controlled Zippy Shell, that won’t be strictly necessary.  Change your brake fluid and hydraulic clutch fluid to prevent moisture.

Start the motorcycle and leave it running to warm the oil. With a warm engine, shut down your bike and change the oil and oil filter.  Fresh oil will help preserve your engine; old oil will trap contaminants.  Give your piston and cylinder rings some attention: pull your spark plugs and check their condition. Replace them as needed, and clean and gap them as a minimum.  Pour a teaspoon of engine oil into each cylinder, and gently turn the engine over with short bursts from the starter.   Once you’ve turned the engine three or more times, plug the plugs back in to keep them clean.

If yours is a shaft drive, change out the rear-end oil. If yours is chain driven, coat the chain with a good cleaner and degreaser, wipe it clean and then lubricate it, spinning the rear wheel while in neutral to thoroughly distribute the lubrication.

Bring your tires to the maximum recommended pressure for your motorcycle.  If you want to get really serious, replace the tires completely.  Put the bike up on the center stand, if you have one, or use blocks to raise the front wheels off the ground.  This will alleviate stress on the entire suspension system, tires included.  Clean battery leads, and then uninstall and remove the battery to store separately.  Lastly, cover your bike with a fitted motorcycle cover.  Do not wrap with a plastic tarp, which is terrible for storage.  Plastic doesn’t breathe and produces lots of moisture buildup, leading to mold, mildew and general mustiness.

In terms of fuel, one school of thought holds that the less air in the tank the better, because an empty tank encourages condensation, and thus corrosion and rust.  So, some always top theirs all the way off and include a fuel stabilizer.  Others think you should drain or burn off the entire gas tank by leaving it running ‘til it dies, and store your bike dry.  Zippy Shell’s facilities are humidity-controlled, too so we recommend storing it dry.

Thawing out Your Winterized Motorcycle

When you bring it out of hibernation, set the bike back on the ground, reinstall the battery, refuel, remove the plugs and bump the starter in short bursts to lubricate the cylinders. Reinsert the plugs, tighten them up and start the bike.  Let it run for a few minutes, allowing the oil to burn out of the cylinders, and thoroughly check the bike before riding.  The most convenient method for motorcycle storage is with Zippy Shell.  We will deliver you a portable storage container to your doorstep and place it where you need it.  We leave it with you for as long as you want, only coming to pick it back up when you tell us to.  Storing your bike with Zippy Shell for the winter is that simple!

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