Storing your motorcycle properly during the winter months may just help you safeguard against needing to get your bike serviced for something that may have been avoidable.

Decide where you're going to store your motorcycle

Ask your dealer if they have a storage program. If they do, you're in luck because they'll often prep and store it for you over the winter, and make sure it's ready to ride in the spring.

If you prefer to store it yourself, you'll need a spot that is dry and not in the way of your day-to-day activities. Also consider storing it away from windows so that condensation is less likely to occur, and the paint and plastic components don't fade from the sun.

Change the oil

Even if it's not due to be changed, drain the oil and replace it. Dirty oil contains nasty by-products that are corrosive to your bike's inner metal surfaces. While you're at it, change the filter too, that way you'll be ready to ride come spring.

Fill 'er up

Fill your tank with gas and add a fuel stabilizer. Filling up is important in minimizing the condensation of water vapour on the inside of your tank, which in turn can rust your tank. The fuel stabilizer on the other hand helps to curtail the gumming up of fuel lines, carburetors, injectors and other parts, and keeps the gas in your tank good until the spring (gasoline breaks down over time). Run your bike a few minutes so that everything is mixed well.

Drain the carburetor

If your bike is carburetted, drain it and any of the fuel lines of any leftover gasoline. Sediments found in fuel can clog up the lines while old fuel can start to break down and cause a gummy, harmful varnish to appear.

Remove the battery, or attach a battery tender

When not in use, batteries will lose their charge over time. So if you choose to remove the battery entirely from your motorcycle, store it in a warm dry place. Alternately, you keep the battery in the bike but attach a battery tender. A battery tender keeps your battery charged without overcharging because it turns itself off and on.

Clean and wax your motorcycle

Cleaning your bike before putting it away for the winter isn't about making it looking good while not in use, it's about keeping it looking good for years to come. Remove all road grime, grease, tar, stains and bugs from painted surfaces, chromed components, leather and wheels. Then dry it thoroughly and wax it. Waxing will act as a barrier against rust and moisture and will protect your finish from fading.

Check your tire pressure

As it gets colder, tires tend to lose their pressure. So before putting your motorcycle into storage, make sure your tires are inflated to their maximum recommend pressure. This will discourage the appearance of flat spots on your tires, as will moving the bike around every couple of weeks, so it is not sitting on the same tire spots all winter long.

As well, avoid having the tires in direct contact of extreme cold. For example, if you're storing your motorcycle in a garage, park the bike on top of a wood board. This will protect the rubber from cracking or rotting.

Cover your motorcycle

Whether storing your bike outdoors, in a garage, or indoors invest in a quality, cover to keep your bike safe from the elements. Cover materials should be breathable so that condensation doesn't occur, but if you're storing your bike outdoors it should be waterproof as well.

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