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How to Store Your Motorcycle Properly Long Term

How to Store Your Motorcycle Properly Long Term

Posted by Wiley Moody on Dec 3, 2020

Like many motorcycle riders, you’ve probably been in a situation where you need to store your motorcycle for an extended period. It could be due to winter, an inevitable situation that warrants traveling to another state or country, or even that family vacation you’ve been planning for ages. Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering how to store a motorcycle properly long term to avoid dust collecting or parts deteriorating.

Whether it’s your first bike or one among the many you’ve gotten your hands on, you’ll need to prep your motorcycle for proper storage. Here are some expert tips on how to store a motorcycle long term to get you started.

Give Your Bike a Thorough Clean

Man in grey sweater and shorts cleaning his helmet near his motorcycle

First, thoroughly clean all exterior surfaces of dirt and debris with a good cleaner. Letting dust, water spots, and dead bugs sit on your paint will only make it harder to clean after long storage periods and may even corrode your bike’s finish. Wash your motorcycle, dry it to get rid of all moisture on the surfaces, and then add a thin wax coat to prevent dust and moisture build-up.

As you learn how to store a motorcycle, get any good quality bike maintenance corrosion inhibitor to protect metal, plastic, carbon fiber, rubber, and anodized bike surfaces from corrosion and oxidation.

Lubricate All Moving Parts

Motorcycle being held in a sterile room with a black wall and red room accents

If you are storing your motorcycle for a few months, make sure to cover all exterior and interior moving parts with a light coat of recommended lubricant to prevent moisture build-up. For instance, you can remove your spark plugs, put some oil into the oils, turn the engine over, and spin the rear tire while the motorcycle is in gear so the cylinder walls can be coated in oil.

Everything that needs frequent lubrication, including chains, controls, and cables, should be freshly oiled to withstand the dry and cold winter air.

Top Off the Oil and Coolant

Man adjusting the body of his motorcycle

Another important point to consider on how to store a motorcycle is to top off the engine oil and coolant. It’s important to keep oil in your engine. Even if you won’t be using your bike, it’s still essential to have proper lubrication inside your engine. This will help preserve and cushion the internal moving parts. Make sure you change your oil before storing your bike long term.

If you’ve recently changed your oil, just top it off to the recommended level. If you have a cooling system, make sure to check the level and top it off if needed. Remember to change your oil and coolant again when you take your bike out of storage or your bike won’t start.

Take Care of Your Fuel System

Exhaust of a motorcycle

If you’re wondering how to store a motorcycle long term and still ensure that your bike’s fuel system is in excellent condition, take these steps:

  • Stop at a gas station and top off the fuel. Having a full tank is vital for keeping moisture away from the tank walls - this is a major pointer on how to store a motorcycle.
  • Once the tank is full, add a recommended fuel stabilizer to mix into the fuel system before storage.
  • If you’re going to store your bike for six months or more, consider draining your fuel tank completely.
  • Make sure to line the tank with fogging oil to prevent rust.
  • Use additives specially designed for ethanol fuels.

Tend to Your Battery

Fixing battery on motor bike

You have two options for battery care. The first one is to connect your battery to a battery charger to monitor the voltage and automatically recharge it when it’s low on power. This option is good for storing your bike for months. The second option is to disconnect your battery and leave it in a safe location with no temperature fluctuations. Clean the electrodes and hook the battery up to a trickle charger throughout the storage period.

Elevate Your Motorcycle Tires

Man adjusting motorcycle tires

Another tip on how to store a motorcycle is to take your motorcycle tires off the ground with a bike stand. Taking the bike’s weight out of the tires will prevent uneven wear due to flat-spotting. Long term bike storage is brutal on tires, so elevate your bike to avoid those flat spots that make your tires completely unusable.

Stuff the Exhaust Pipes and Air Intakes

Close up picture of the front of a motorcycle

Make sure to fill any open sections of your bike like the exhaust and air intakes with muffler covers and other items to prevent rodents and pests from taking up residence. You can also use DIY plastic bags. As you learn how to store a motorcycle, don’t forget to remove whatever you use to stuff openings before starting up your bike again.

Cover Your Bike and Store it in an Ideal Location

black bobber motorcycle inside garage

Whether you want to store your bike inside or under some sort of shelter, invest in a quality motorcycle cover that’s specially fitted for the bike’s model. The right cover should protect your bike from debris, dust, rodents, unwanted scratches and dings, and the elements. Also, choose an ideal storage location for your bike, such as a covered and secured spot in the driveway, a parking canopy, your garage, small storage shed, or a storage unit.

Give Your Bike the Attention it Deserves

Group of many men hanging out on their motorcycles

Now you know how to store a motorcycle. What next? You’ll still need to be checking your bike, at least once every few months, or have someone check it for you if you’re not around. The idea is to run your bike’s engine and move it a bit so that the oil can circulate and keep the parts moving. While this is not necessary, it’s a highly recommended step.

Either way, you need to make sure your bike is in good condition so you can be back on the road when you get it out of storage. At West End Motorsports, we specialize in a variety of custom parts and accessories for V-twin cruiser bikes. From aftermarket exhaustsseatsfairings to tires and maintenance kits, we have everything you need.

Order online and enjoy guaranteed fitment and free shipping on orders over $99. Need more tips on how to store a motorcycle long term? Contact our experts.