Winter Storage for Motorcycles
last updated 10/20/99

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Copyright © 1998-1999 Adam Glass. All rights reserved. Distribution or publication of this document (electronic or otherwise) is prohibited without the express written consent of the author. For more information or to request permission to publish this information, please contact the author at

The information contained in this document is provided at no cost and without any warranty whatsoever. The author and contributors are not responsible for any errors contained herein, and make no claims whatsoever as to the legality, safety, validity, or veracity of the information and advice contained in this document. All riders should have a factory-trained, professional mechanic perform a complete tune-up immediately following extended storage. Furthermore, extended storage preparations should only be performed by mechanically competent individuals who have received training in motorcycle maintenance. Any use of the advice contained herein is done solely at your own risk. The information contained in this document is provided for entertainment purposes only, and is not in any way a guarantee that you or your vehicle will not be harmed by performing or failing to perform any of the procedures described herein. Reading beyond this point constitutes an implicit acceptance of these terms and conditions.

A major tip o' the hat to Paul Luevano, Bruce Leung, Crystal Trexel, Ole Holmblad and Joe Weenytoast for suggestions. If you have any questions or suggestions that might make this resource more complete or more accurate, please email them to me!

Checklist of things to do -- IN ORDER:

Important Note
These instructions are intended to be followed in order. The purpose of this order is to minimize the bike's exposure to corrosive agents and prolong its life & good looks as much as possible. This guide assumes that the vehicle is being stored for more than a month and less than a year. There may be other storage procedures you should follow if you plan to store the vehicle for longer. For storage of less than a month in temperatures that don't go below freezing, you don't really need to do anything to the bike. (Unless you have an alarm system that may drain the battery, in which case you need to charge the battery, disconnect the alarm, or prepare to deal with a dead battery.) If it's going to get below freezing, bring the battery indoors -- you don't want it to freeze.

You may have another way that you handle winter storage. That's fine. I'd love to hear any suggestions that you may have -- please mail them to me -- maybe I can use them to make this document better. No one says you have to follow this stuff to the letter, but a fair amount of thought has gone into the order of the steps and the specific things done at each stage. Do please read through this whole document before you start doing anything -- the suggestions in later steps might affect how you go about doing some of the earlier ones.

1) Find a place to store it, get the tools you'll need
2) Run the bike, fill the tank, stabilize the gas 3) Change the oil 4) Put the bike on stands 5) Spray fogging oil in cylinder(s) 6) Cover intake/exhaust 7) Final fuel system checks 8) Remove and charge the battery 9) Wash, dry, and wax the bike 10) Protect the bike's exposed metal 11) Lock it up 12) Cover the bike Stuff to do over the winter Taking the bike out of storage
For the curious...