How to Store a Dirt Bike for Winter – Many vehicles struggle during certain weather conditions. This especially applies to bikes. If you are not careful, the cold weather can end up causing issues for your dirt bike. While cold temperatures alone are not as much of a risk, neglecting proper winterization and exposing your bike to excess moisture can lead to damage. What is winterization? Winterization is a form of storage for the winter season. It can be done in different ways depending on the resources you have available.
One proper way to store your bike for cold weather is to place it in the garage or a dry location to protect it from moisture. If a garage isn’t available, invest in a quality cover for your bike. Properly winterizing your bike ensures it will be ready for action when the weather improves, making the transition from storage to riding season much smoother and more enjoyable.
Tips on How to Store a Dirt Bike for Winter
While it helps to store and/or cover a dirt bike during cold weather, there are different tips and tricks to help ensure your bike remains in quality condition throughout the winter. Some tips are as follows:
Changing the Oil and Filter
Changing your dirt bike’s oil and filter before storing it is a crucial step often overlooked. Unless you’ve recently replaced them, leaving old oil in the engine can lead to issues. To prevent this, ensure you have fresh oil and a new filter in place. Start the engine briefly to distribute the fresh lubricant to external parts, then turn it off. When it’s time to ride again, your bike will be ready to go. This simple maintenance step can help keep your bike in optimal condition and ensure a smoother return to action.
Change the Coolant/Anti-Freeze
Aside from the oil and filter, it’s important to change the coolant/anti-freeze in your dirt bike or ATV. Simply topping off the coolant might not be sufficient, as you could be using water rather than anti-freeze in your system. Since most bikes are stored in garages or sheds, it’s essential to ensure that your cooling system is filled with fresh anti-freeze, especially in cold climates. This step helps safeguard your bike’s cooling system during the off-season and prevents potential damage caused by freezing temperatures.
Lubing and Greasing
As part of your bike’s winter storage routine, it’s essential to lube and grease all components, just as you would during regular maintenance. This includes lubricating bearings, sprockets, chains, and cables. Doing so not only provides protection for these parts but also helps to prevent moisture from corroding the metal, ensuring your bike remains in good working condition during the off-season.
Check the Gas and Fuel Stabilizer
Another storage tip is to handle the fuel in the tank. Gasoline can turn gummy over a few months, especially in colder areas, which can harm your bike’s fuel system. You have two options to deal with this. You can either run the engine until the tank is empty to drain the gas, or you can use a fuel stabilizer like Sta-Bil in a full tank to prevent moisture buildup and gas gumming.
If you plan to store your bike for a few months and use non-ethanol fuel, you may not need a treatment as long as you fill the tank and run the engine to circulate clean fuel. However, for longer storage, over three months, it’s a good idea to use a fuel treatment like Sta-Bil. Taking these precautions is important for a hassle-free return to riding, even though most modern dirt bikes and ATVs have rust-resistant tanks.
Leave on a Stand
For long-term storage of your dirt bike, leaving it on a stand is a crucial practice. While many riders already use stands, it’s especially important for extended periods of inactivity. This step is less crucial for ATVs, as some ATV owners use blocks or jacks. Allowing your dirt bike to rest in one position over an extended duration can cause tire degradation and suspension issues.
While you could periodically move the bike a bit, it’s more convenient to use a stand, which you likely already have for regular maintenance. Additionally, covering your dirt bike with a tarp during its winter storage is a wise choice. Avoid the temptation to start the bike and let it idle every few weeks, as it’s unnecessary. Just remember to perform the usual pre-ride check when the riding season returns.
What to do After Winter
Now that we have an idea on what to do when it comes to storing a dirt bike during winter, here are some tips on what to do once the cold season clears:
- Drain the Fuel: Empty the float bowl to allow fresh, stabilized fuel from the gas tank.
- Change the Engine Oil: Replace the engine oil to remove any accumulated moisture.
- Inflate the Tires: Check and inflate the tires, re-lube components, inspect for leaks after warming up the engine, and be ready to replace any questionable fluids for a trouble-free return to riding.
If you want to learn other tips for caring for your dirt bike, you can learn When to Rebuild a Dirt Bike Engine and Why Your Dirt Bike Bogs. Otherwise, you can learn about convenient gear and accessories like dirt bike gear for the winter and dirt bike ramps.