NJM Blog

How to Winterize Your Motorcycle

Man servicing motorcycle in garage.

When all the leaves have fallen, it’s time to prepare your motorcycle before winter hits. Take these 10 steps so your ride will be ready for the road when spring arrives.

  1. Wash, polish, and wax your bike
    Clean all exterior surfaces of dirt and grime to prevent rusting; use a grunge brush and degreaser on the chain, disc cleaner on the brakes, metal polish for the chrome, and wax for the painted and chrome areas. Wear a mask, old clothes, and disposable gloves.

  2. Change the oil and filter
    It will prevent corrosion of internal parts from solvents or sediments.

  3. Lubricate all moving parts
    Ride your cycle for five minutes before applying the chain lubricant so that it will dissolve and enter the O–ring chain. Let it sit for 15–20 minutes, then take it for a quick spin to get the lubricant moving.

  4. Top off the fuel tank
    Fill the gas tank, add a fuel stabilizer, and drive your motorcycle a short distance to ensure the stabilizer mixes.

  5. Fill or replace the anti–freeze
    Consider replacing the anti–freeze if you keep your bike in an unheated garage or outside.

  6. Turn off the petcock
    If you have a carburetor, close the petcock while the engine runs and drain the float bowls into a container.

  7. Remove and attach the battery to a trickle charge
    Choose a dry place to store it; the charger will keep the battery from dying. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent corrosion.

  8. Protect the tires
    Use a center stand to keep the weight off and avoid flat spots.

  9. Use muffler plugs or covers
    It will help ensure your muffler doesn’t become a mouse house.

  10. Cover and store inside
    Buy a breathable cover to prevent mold, mildew, and rust. Ideally, store it in an indoor heated area. If not, in your garage or a storage unit. (Remove your seat and battery and use an appropriately designed cover to prevent snow and water penetration if you need to store outside.)

Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions for your motorcycle brand. Take the motorcycle to your dealer or reliable mechanic if you’re not comfortable winterizing it yourself. Some dealers will even store it for you.

Evans Brasfield, How to Winterize Your Motorcycle, https://www.motorcycle.com/how-to/how-to-winterize-your-motorcycle, (Jan. 2, 2018)
Rick Drewry, How to Winterize Your Motorcycle in 7 Simple Steps, https://amig.com/how-to-winterize-your-motorcycle-in-7-simple steps, (October 2, 2022)
Ed Merati, 2022 Guide for Winterizing Your Motorcycle, https://motorcycleshippers.com/2019/02/motorcycle-winterizing-questions

The information contained in this article should not be construed as professional advice, and is not intended to replace official sources. Other resources linked from these pages are maintained by independent providers; therefore, NJM cannot guarantee their accuracy.