Zylstra Harley-Davidson®
19600 Evans Street NW, Elk River, MN 55330

(763) 241-2000
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Motorcycle Winterization: How to Properly Store Your Harley-Davidson

09 March 2020

The sad season has come to put your summer cruiser into storage. You never wanted this day to arrive, but reality has now set in that you must say “see you later.”

Now that your motorcycle isn’t going to be used for nearly 3 or 4 months, it’s time to clean it up and apply proper maintenance. However, this might be an uncertain time if you’re a new Harley-Davidson owner.

“What about my battery freezing?”

“Should I drain my fuel?”

“Do I need to lift it off the ground to save my tires?”

Don’t worry, the answers are coming. Just remember the big picture in all of this; the more time invested in properly storing your motorcycle now will allow for a much quicker startup in April. Now here are the TOP 6 things to do when winterizing your Harley-Davidson:

1. Top off with fuel

As you’re driving your motorcycle into the garage to park it for the season, swing by the gas station to top it off with fuel. Making sure your fuel tank is full allows for less moisture buildup on the walls of your tank which could lead to rust and, consequently, those particles being pushed through your carbs. Also, don’t forget to add a fuel stabilizer when filling your tank up. This step is very important as fuel becomes stale after sitting for a time and the heavier elements drop to the bottom of the tank which will then enter the carbs.

2. Properly store your battery

Returning to your motorcycle in the springtime and finding out your battery is completely drained is never a good thing. This winter, make sure your battery is removed from your bike and hooked up to a battery tender. Leaving your battery hooked up to your Harley-Davidson will naturally drain your battery, but hooking it up to a battery tender will ensure the battery stays at full charge throughout the whole winter.

3. Deep clean your bike

Riding your Harley-Davidson as much as you do, there are hundreds of bug stains and dust has penetrated everywhere. Not knowing if any damage has come from these incidents, it’s best to deep clean your bike and make sure it looks like it came off the showroom floor. Using an automotive detergent along with a wash mitt, scrub down the surface of your bike making sure to remove all bug guts and dust, and finish your surface off with a wax protectant. Along with cleaning the body, lubricate all chains and moving parts with a solution like WD-40 to avoid corrosion and binding of these parts.

4. Change your oil and filter

The last thing you want to keep you from your first springtime ride is an annoying 30-minute oil change. The easiest way to solve this problem is to do it as you’re prepping for winter storage and using a heavier 5W30 oil. Dirty oil creates deposits and these particles, when sitting over the winter months, can cause corrosion to the metal parts.

5. Top off fluids

When checking all of your motorcycle’s fluid levels, pay close attention to your antifreeze/coolant. Coming back in the spring to a cracked head is a nightmare and will cause your first ride to be delayed by a few days. To combat the possibility, top off or replace your antifreeze to prevent water corrosion or freeze damage to your coolant system.

6. Cover your Harley-Davidson

Last, but not least, protect your Harley-Davidson with a sealed covering. Making sure your motorcycle cover has no holes in it can be very important especially if you have to store your bike outside. Keeping dust and moisture away can help prevent corrosion and small abrasions to the paint. Additionally, placing a plastic bag over your air intake and exhaust pipes are a great way to lessen the possibility of mice entering into those small, warm spaces.

Now that all your questions have been answered, it’s time to get out and winterize your Harley-Davidson! In just a few months we can get back to enjoying riding on the country roads, going out for evening cruises and maybe even taking a trip out to Sturgis. But until then, make sure your motorcycle is stored away properly and come visit us at the showroom to see all the new bikes!