Unless you live in a climate that is warm year-round, you will have to store your dirt bike during winter months to avoid freezing and cracking of various parts, as well as to prevent exposure to extreme elements. Rather than simply leaving it in a garage or storage area, the bike will require some cleaning and other routine checks prior to being winterized. Dirt bike maintenance before the winter as well as when in use will help keep the bike in top shape for years.
Items you will need
- Pressure washer or garden hose
- Dish soap
- Old rags
- Toothbrush or wire brush
- Fuel stabilizer
- Fresh oil
- Fresh coolant
- Containers for draining fluid
- Spark plug
- Bike lubricant
- Bike stand
- Storage area
- Tarp or old blanket
Clean the bike thoroughly before storing it. Spray it with a pressure washer or basic garden hose, and scrub it with dish soap and water to remove dirt, oil and grease. Use old rags and wire brushes to clean the bike. Old toothbrushes also work well. Dry the bike thoroughly to avoid rusting.
Clean and lubricate all pivots and cables, such as bearings and clutch cables. Clean or replace your air filter as well, which will prevent dirt from entering the carburetor.
Pour a fuel stabilizer in your gas tank to store the gas over the winter, or drain the tank and dispose of the gas responsibly. If using the stabilizer, turn the gas on and start the bike once you have administered the stabilizer to ensure it makes its way to the bike's carburetor. This also helps the carburetor stay clean.
Change the oil once the engine is warmed up. This prevents rusting as well.
Maintain your engine by removing the spark plug and pouring a capful of motor oil down its cylinder. Slowly turn the engine over a few times so the oil coats the interior, thus preventing corrosion. Finish the job with a fresh spark plug.
Check your bike's coolant levels before storing. Low coolant/antifreeze levels can lead to freezing and cracking of bike parts, so drain dirty coolant and replace it with fresh coolant when storing the bike.
Ensure your tires are filled to capacity to avoid dry rot.
Remove your bike's battery if it has one. Keep the battery in a safe area where it won't freeze when not in use.
Store your bike in a safe, dry storage unit, basement or insulated garage on a stand that keeps both wheels off the ground, which relieves the bike's suspension. Put an old blanket or tarp over the bike to protect it from dust and dirt. Keep the bike out of direct sunlight, which can fade parts and weaken rubber and plastic pieces.
Tips & Warnings
- Wipe your bike down, check all fluids and pressures, and perform any other necessary bike checks before riding it again in the spring.
- "Motorcross Hideout"; How to Winterize Your Dirt Bike; Tom Stock, September 2010
- Only Trail Bikes: How to Winterize Your Dirtbike
- "Super Bike Planet": How to Winterize Your Motorcycle; Michael Ross
- "The Motorcycle Mart"; How to Winterize Your Motorcycle; Harley; November 2010
- Dirt Bike Blogger: Winter Storage
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