The Art & Skill of Seasonal Motorcycle Storage

For motorcycle enthusiasts whose bikes are their babies, now is the time to start preparing for winter storage. Early prep helps prevent a useless battery, rusted gas tank, clogged up carburetors, permanently flat tires, and rusty exhaust pipes that are corroded. Storage experts at Storage Auctions Kings contend that it’s not such an onerous task if you know what to do and how to do it. Industry authority Bike Bandit Motorcycle parts highlights the following as among the most vulnerable components to protect:

Battery: Wanted, Dead or Alive

Whether your bike is a conventional type, vented with manual refill, or the new maintenance-free battery, the idea is to limit discharge.

Preserve your battery in the following two ways:

  1. Fill it with water, fully charge it, put it into a suitable container, and store it in a refrigerator.
  2. Install a battery maintenance charger, which keeps the battery at maximum charge. This method applies to conventional and maintenance free batteries.

Fuel Tank

If exposed to air, gasoline will gradually deteriorate. First it loses its potency and then becomes thicker because of the evaporation of lighter chemicals — eventually turning into a gummy sludge.

Prevent this degradation by:

  1. Filling the tank 90 percent full.
  2. Adding a dose of fuel stabilizer.

Carburetors & Fuel Injectors

Any gas in the float bowls will become useless slime over time. When you first hit the starter button, the slime will suck up into the carb or throttle bodies and clog the pilot jets or injectors. Then your carbs or injectors will need to be cleaned, which can get expensive.

Tips to circumvent this nastiness include:

  1. For a manual petcock on the tank, turn it OFF.
  2. For carburetors, drain the float bowls. There is usually a screw on the bottom of each bowl. Loosen or remove it. If you can’t find any drain screws, start the bike and let it run until the float bowls are empty.


If you leave your bike on the side stand, your tires could develop flat spots on the bottom. Now and then, these depressed areas will “work themselves out” after riding the bike a hundred miles or so. The flat areas never completely smooth out by riding though, and you will need new tires.

Eliminate this grief by:

  1. Putting the bike up on its center stand. If it doesn’t have a center stand, hoist it onto a milk crate.
  2. Running a strap through the rear rim and attaching it to a heavy object, such as a cinder block. Tighten the strap until the front tire is off the ground.
  3. Inflating the tires.

Paint, Chrome & Exterior Finishes

Do you keep your motorcycle inside a garage? All you need is a cover. If you keep your bike outside, you’ll want to:

  1. Wash the motorcycle and add a protective coating with a wash kit.
  2. Clean and lube bikes with a chain by using a chain maintenance kit.
  3. Protect it with an outdoor cover.

Ricky Green

Ricky loves working on and writing about American cars.

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