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Winter Storage


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Suggestions for the proper winter storage of your bike.

1.) Fill the gas tank completely and add Gasoline Stabilizer (STA-BIL) as per recommendations. Filling the tank reduces the formation of condensation and explosive gas vapors and also prevents rust on the exposed area.. NOTE: IF THE BIKE IS TO BE STORED IN AN AREA OF OPEN FLAMES OR SPARKS (e.g. basement or heated garage, etc) REMOVE THE TANK AND STORE IN A SAFE PLACE IF POSSIBLE.
Always run the engine for a few minutes after adding the STA-BIL to get it through the system.

2.) Drain the carburetor with the small brass screw as seen from the horn side between the cylinders in the base of the fuel bowl if it is a carbed bike. Open it a turn or two counter clockwise and let the gas drain out the hose that exits in front of the rear tire.(See pic below.)

If the bike is fuel injected, run it long enough after adding the stabilizer to get it through the injectors. Usually about 5-7 minutes at a fast idle will dry out the exhaust system and get the stabilizer through the fuel system.


3.) Be certain the tires are inflated to the proper pressures.

4.) It is a good idea to change the oil and filter just before storage so as not to have acids and other contaminants sit in the motor. They can damage bearings.

5.) A good coat of wax on the paint and chrome is a good idea, but always buff off the wax or polish before putting the bike away, because some waxes will not come off if left on the finish over extended periods.
Another idea is WD40 on the chrome to protect it. Leave it on over the winter and use pledge or wash the bike before the next season to remove the remainder.

6.) If the bike is to be kept in a place that may freeze, remove the battery being careful to follow the proper procedure to avoid causing sparks by shorting the cables or terminals. Store the battery in a cool, dry place and not on concrete directly, a piece of wood under it will prevent the battery from being discharged. Check the water level (except in maintenance-free batteries) and top up with distilled water. I recommend the use of a Battery Tender to avoid sulfation caused by inactivity. You should use a 12 volt source to run the charge down just a bit before recharging which promotes activity in the battery and keeps the sulfate on the plates to a minimum over the winter.
Also remember that a charging battery emits hydrogen gas that is very explosive so always vent the area where you are charging a battery.

7.) Alkaline damage from storage in a damp area or on gravel or concrete can be avoided by covering the ground under the bike with cardboard, plywood or carpet.

8.) If the bike is to be stored in a damp area or outside, remove the spark plugs and put two squirts of oil into each cylinder or fog the motor using a commercial fogging agent found in auto parts stores. When turning the motor over after oiling it, be certain the plugs are in the wires and grounded and watch for gas leaks that the sparks could ignite.

9.) Put the bike securely on the stand and cover it.

(check your owner’s manual first)

Also see "short term" storage here...

Short Term Winter Storage - Harley Davidson Community