How to winterize your motorcycle

By Allstate

Last updated: January 1

Motorcycle maintenance is important any time of year. Before the winter months arrive, take care with these basic maintenance tips.

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Have your bike serviced

Inspect chains and belt to see if they need to be lubricated, advises ExtraMile. Now is also a critical time to replace your tires, if necessary. As always, consult your owner's manual.

Clean your bike

Clean your bike thoroughly and give it a wax job, advises ExtraMile. Focus particularly on chrome and paint surfaces. Also, treat the leather with a high-quality dressing to help preserve the seat.

Get an oil change

Dirty oil is corrosive and harmful to the engine, says Life Storage. Be sure to change it before you put your bike into hibernation and consult the owner's manual for the correct oil type.

Use fuel stabilizer

According to Family Handyman, stored fuel can degrade due to chemical reactions. You might be faced with ignition problems after only three months. Degraded fuel can also harm the motor.

Fuel stabilizer helps keep the fuel fresh, says Motor Biscuit, by stopping gas and ethanol from separating and causing damage. Before use, Consumer Reports advises that you consult the fuel stabilizer bottle itself for directions. Measure it according to the directions as you pour it into the gas tank. Then, start the engine so the stabilizer can flow into every nook and cranny of the fuel system.

Charge your battery

Motorcycle Intelligence explains that batteries lose charge every day when not in use. Consumer Reports advises purchasing a charger that cycles on and off to keep the right level of charge. This prevents overcharging, which can kill the battery and lead to overheating.

Find indoor storage

New Touring Rider recommends storing motorcycles in heated garages. It is also recommended that the garage maintains a constant temperature. Any temperature drop may cause condensation buildup which can damage the bike. If you can't find an available garage, says Consumer Reports, be sure to cover your bike with a tarp.

Update your motorcycle coverage

If you intend to keep your motorcycle stored without use for an extended period of time, you might look to update your insurance coverage. Since your motorcycle will not be on the road, explains, liability and collision coverage are not as necessary and may be dropped. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), some states offer a "lay-up" policy. It temporarily suspends all coverage except comprehensive, which can help cover incidents like theft or vandalism. Of course, if you make any adjustments to update your motorcycle coverage during the winter months you will want to make sure you have adequate coverage reinstated before you begin riding your motorcycle again.

Note, however, that cancelling your policy altogether during the winter is generally not a good idea. Some insurers may decide not to insure your motorcycle if you keep cancelling and renewing your policy.

Update the address on your insurance policy

If you're storing your motorcycle at a different address for the winter, it's a good idea to notify your insurer. According to III, storing a vehicle in a secure garage, especially a commercial facility, might mean a reduced premium. That's because, like auto insurance, premiums for a motorcycle policy are based in part on your location.

For instance, if your garaging address is in a city with high rates of collisions and theft, says III, you may see higher rates since the risk of filing a claim is higher. But if your motorcycle is stored in a secure commercial facility, those rates might go down — especially if you're not driving the bike. This varies from insurer to insurer, so be sure to reach out to yours.

After you've gotten one last good ride in before the winter season, it's time to tackle these maintenance tips. That way, when spring rolls around again, you'll be ready to ride.