Winterizing of your Harley-Davidson® Motorcycle

Well, the snow is falling and the roads are icy. It’s that sad time of year where we have to winterize the mower and the motorcycle. It’s very simple, and with a few products you can be sure that come that first warm day, your bike will be ready to ride.

Here is a basic list of what you need to do:

1. Clean Your Bike.
2. Change your Engine Oil.
3. Check your tires to proper pressure.
4. Fill fuel tank and stabilize the fuel.
5. Hook up your Battery Tender.
6. Cover with a soft – BREATHABLE cover and put in a safe place.
7. DON’T start the motorcycle during the winter unless you are going for a ride!

Here are more details on each of the items mentioned above:

94702_09tt_lg1.  Clean your Bike – Just like dirty dishes, the longer the dirt is stuck, the harder it is to get off. You want to be sure that your bike is clean before you put the cover on. Thoroughly wash, wax and detail the motorcycle with your favorite cleaning products. To further prevent rust and deterioration you can spray S100 Corrosion Protectant on any exposed metal surfaces. May also be used on fittings, plastic and rubber to preserve and protect.


99824_03tt_toc_gma092. Change your Engine Oil – Engine oil by design absorbs water. Engine oil can only hold a finite amount of water in suspension before it starts to separate. In the winter, the constant changing of temperatures can result in condensation inside of your engine cases. Fresh oil will be able to hold more water and thus, be better at protecting your engine from condensation.

75137_98a3. Check your tires and adjust to the proper pressure – Tires sitting over the winter can develop flat spots. The best prevention is to keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure and check them periodically with a quality tire pressure gauge. You can find proper tire pressures for your model listed in your owner’s manual. If you are parking on concrete another good idea is to place carpet remnants under each tire. You may also want to move the motorcycle periodically in the winter so that the tires are not always sitting on the same spot.

99893_91a4. Fill the fuel tank and stabilize the fuel – The more free volume you have in your fuel tank, the more condensation you are likely to have which could lead to water in your fuel. A full tank will ensure very little condensation and corrosion in your tank. Be sure to use fuel stabilizer, in the proportions listed on the packaging to stabilize your fuel. Put the stabilizer in your bike at the gas station and ride home or keep bike running for 3-4 minutes to allow the fuel stabilizer to run through the system.

94654_98tt_alt075. Hook up that Battery Tender. – The more you use your Battery Tender® the longer your battery will last. Keeping a charge on your battery not only ensures that it will be ready to go when the warm weather hits, it also increases the life of your AGM battery. Be sure not to overcharge a battery on a traditional charger. Modern AGM batteries are meant to be charged by trickle chargers only.

mt91685_98_7k6.  Cover the bike with a BREATHABLE cover – A good cover will keep dust and other potentially abrasive substances off of the motorcycle while letting moisture out. Remember, the cover MUST be BREATHABLE. Otherwise, condensation will live on the bike and corrosion will result. A good cover is the Premium Indoor Motorcycle Cover.


7. Don’t start your bike unless you are going for a ride – One of the worst things you can do is to start your bike for a couple of minutes. This takes away from the charge on the battery and heats up your exhaust just enough to create condensation in the exhaust system (think of the water you see dripping out of a car exhaust in the winter time). Basically, don’t start your bike unless you are going for a ride and it’s going to run for a while.

Other tips:

  • You can elevate your bike with a Motorcycle Service Lift (Please follow instructions for use).
  • You can lock your motorcycle upright with a Cruise Cradle Wheel Chock.
  • Mouse damage has been a growing problem over the last few years. Be aware of the presence of mice and be sure to take action to remove them if they are living anywhere near your bike.
  • When you do take the bike out in the spring it is a good idea to burn up the storage fuel and put some fresh fuel in the tank as soon as possible (this means you need to go for a long ride!).
  • Want to keep your bike in a heated garage this winter? Winter storage is available at our Warwick location.  Call our Service department, (401)781-6866 to reserve your spot.