Motorcycles – Winter Storage Prep

WELCOME TO WINTER – Said no motorcycle rider ever!

I grew up in the lumber camp country of Northern Canada where winters were long, brutal and just plain nasty.

As kids, we basically froze our butts off most days from October to May. To make matters worse, we could not ride motorcycles for that 8 month period…Yes, I hated winter in northern Ontario and it hated me. I, therefore, set my sights laser-beam style on southern California and got here legally at the age of 33. I’ve been riding whenever I want ever since.

Quick stop on Del Mar Beach in sunny San Diego, California. Winter riding the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special. On loan from SDHD.

For those of you riders bound by ice, snow and sleet, I suggest you read this post and follow the storage tips my brother and I learned during those long, cold and dark Canadian winters. Read on…

Clean your bike. Lubricate metal surfaces.

Dirt will begin to corrode and damage metal surfaces if left on your bike for long periods of time. Bike owners need to be sure that they clean their bikes before putting them in storage sheds. If you don’t yet have any storage sheds, you may want to take a look into them for the winter months. Most sellers will provide shed delivery, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of picking one up. Some people don’t think it is worth getting a shed, either because they think a sheet over the bike is enough to protect it from the elements (it isn’t), or because they are simply trying to save the expense. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune; you could take a look at used storage sheds if you want to save money.

Have a chain? Lubricate it. Lubricate all moving parts such as cables. Make sure you also lubricate the underside of the frame and engine. This will take care of any rust exposed by scratches.

Check your tires. Prepare them for storage.

Prepare your tires by taking out any moisture that may be in them. Simply deflate your tires and then inflate them with clean compressed air. It helps if you have your own compressor.

If at all possible, consider elevating your bike so both tires are not under any load. Use blocks under the frame instead of bottle jacks or motorcycle lift. Lifts and jacks have been known to lose pressure and fail under prolonged period of load time. Double-check your bike to make sure it is secure. For storage space, getting a 20×20 prefab garage building could be a great option for the winter season.

Change your oil and add a quality fuel stabilizer.

Scooters need love and protection too.

Scooters need love and protection too.

This step is really important. Residual fuel and contamitants in the gas and oil can oxidize over the winter months and ruin your engine prematurely.

Change your oil to remove all the dirt and particles. Put in a good fuel stabilizer and run it through your engine for about 10 minutes.

Prep the battery. Buy a quality charger.

I recommend disconnecting and removing your battery from your bike for the winter. Clean the battery cables and battery post connections. Once cleaned, put a fine film of grease on the posts to seal and protect them. Simply remove the grease next spring.

CTEK Battery Chargers…top quality product for sure.

Double-check your battery for cracks and damage. I like battery tenders since they don’t overcharge your battery. Simply hook up a specialized and quality battery charger and let it do its thing all winter long.

My battery charger of choice is made by CTEK.


Park it and Cover It.

The type of cover you use to protect your motorcycle while it is in storage matters. You’ll want to select a mildew resistant cover.

Also, it’s a good idea to cover the openings of your exhaust pipes unless you want to deal with rodent nests in the spring. This actually happened to me one winter while my Yamaha 125 was stored in an outdoor shed. It was quite the furry blowout when the bike was first started in the spring.


Review your insurance policy.

Some insurance companies offer reduced rates for motorcycles that are stored during the winter months. Check with your insurance agent for specific details.

Collision coverage can make up anywhere from 22% to 35% of your annual premium so savings can be significant. You can delete the collision coverage if you feel that your bike is stored in a very safe location and is surely not to be exposed to the possibility of any collision.(i.e. your teenager running their car into your bike while stored in the garage.) This is not an option for everyone but sure is worth considering. will be summer...Oh, how I love summer time.

Oh, how I love summer all year long and being able to ride whenever I want.


The Bottom Line

Gearing down for winter can be an emotional experience for bikers who live in cold climates. Spring time is always around the corner they say. Protect your motorcycle right and it will be ready for that first ride in the spring. Also, remember to double check and clean your leathers, gloves and helmet.

If you live in the cold, wintery parts of this world, you gotta follow the motorcycle storage suggestions above. Me, I live in sunny southern California so I’m riding this weekend.

Special Note: Please inspect your motorcycle before that first spring ride. Look for any loose wires, bolts, connections and mechanical problems before starting your bike. Double check tire pressure. Review any notes you may of made before putting your bike up for the winter.

Ride Safe Out There.
MJB July 2015 - 336x336

Remember, keep that battery charged up all winter long. – Motorcycle Marc




About Motorcycle Marc – I’m a motoblogger, some say a motorcycle industry influencer, ambassador and sponsor. I prefer to ride motorcycles but when I can’t ride I blog about it. Since 2009, I’ve developed a strong, dedicated following of thousands of gearheads, motorheads, biker-wannabes and 2-wheeled adventurers who love motorcycles and everything motorcycle-related. Welcome to my world – Marc J. Beaulieu (MJB)

Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement ever intended. Some of the material for this blog was gathered from numerous articles and websites available in the public domain. Manufacturer Names, Logos, Photos/Images, Websites, Links and Model Information are Registered Trademarks of the Manufacturer and/or Organizations represented. Also, note that specifications and any information in this blog is subject to change without notice. No representation of accuracy is made.


  1. Pierce O. says:

    Amazing blog! Man, you put a lot of work into your blog. Looks great. Enjoying your articles and stuff. Thanks.

  2. Harve Z. says:

    Hey Mark. I just start my bike every weekend during the winter months. No other special prep. Keeps the bike running good all year long for me. What do you think about this approach?

  3. Charles H. says:

    Very helpful. Thank you for the tips. Will be using them here in England.

  4. Pete T. says:

    BTW! WINTER SUCKS! You are so lucky to be able to afford to live in San Diego. Keep posting sunshine and beach pictures to help me cope here in the northeast. Really like your blog BTW.

  5. New York Myke says:

    Marc, “winter storage” in San Diego is a conundrum my friend, just ride thru that nasty 60 degree cold spell, you’ll be fine, lol!

  6. Jose W. says:

    I’m like you Motorcycle Mark. I live in Florida and ride all year round. Fantastic life for me. I commute to work in Daytona daily rain or shine. Good tips in this post for those riders less fortunate.

  7. Rob P says:

    I wonder how many bike owners actually don’t prepare their bikes for winter? Any idea?

  8. Beth V. says:

    Last winter my battery went dead…I just didn’t know that you needed to put a battery charger trickler. My Triumph Bonneville is now in good hands. Thanks for the tips Motorcycle Marc…