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How To Winterize a Harley Cruiser

How To Winterize a Harley Cruiser

Oct 28, 2019

Harley Davidson cruiser bike riders are well-known for their riding rituals. One of them is the tendency to take one last epic ride when the riding season is coming to a close. Whether you take the same ride every year, join other riders in the annual Hogfest, or do something totally different, at the end of the day, you’ll have to park your Harley cruiser for the winter.

Learning how to winterize a Harley is important to ensure that it’s ready to ride when spring comes. While some riders rely on local dealers to winterize and store their bikes, or even make the necessary enhancements, you can also prepare your bike for winter storage on your own. Here are ten simple steps on how to store a motorcycle for winter outside or in your garage.

Prep Your Cruiser Bike

Motorcycle being washed with sudsy soap

Before you store your bike for winter, give it a thorough cleaning. You don’t want to leave any water spots or bug guts on your paint as they could corrode the finish permanently. Make sure you dry it completely after washing it. A leaf blower works great when it comes to drying all the nooks and crannies. Once it’s dry, add a coat of  quality wax to protect your bike against moisture and rust. Spray WD-40 on any exposed metal surfaces for further corrosion protection.

Change the Oil and Filter

stored motorcycle for winter

Another important step in learning how to winterize a Harley is changing your bike oil and filter. You don’t want to have broken down oil sitting on your bike for several months. Run the engine for a while, then add fresh oil, preferably winter oil like 5W30, which can help your Harley cruiser bike start-up easier when spring comes. Replace the oil filter too. It’s also wise to protect your internal engine components against moisture by coating them with some light oil.

Battery Care

Motorcycle battery pack and battery acid

One of the first things you should do when you want to store a motorcycle for winter outside or in your garage is to learn how to take care of your battery. Disconnect the battery before putting your Harley Cruiser up for the winter. When your battery sits unused for long in your bike, it will discharge, which means you’ll have trouble starting your bike and will probably damage your battery. The easiest solution on how to winterize a Harley battery is to get a battery tender and connect it to the battery while it’s still connected to ensure that it stays in great shape.

Prep Your Bike’s Fuel System

Putting new fuel in a motorcycle tank, another answer on how to winterize a Harley

When spring comes, you want your Harley cruiser to roar right away when you hit the ignition. Fuel that stays for too long breaks down, especially when you have low-quality fuel in your tank. Gas tanks also rust when not used over a long period. To prevent rusting while ensuring your fuel is ready to run when winter is over, add a fuel stabilizer, then fill your tank completely and have a short ride. That way, the stabilizer and fuel can mix together and run through the fuel system before storage.

Lube all Moving Parts

close-up of a Yamaha bike engine

Lubricating all moving parts of your bike is another critical step in learning how to winterize a Harley cruiser bike. Moisture can easily build up and cause binding and rusting on these parts. Check all the parts that need to be lubricated and apply  new lube after cleaning the bike before storage. These parts include cables, chain drive, fork surfaces, controls, and other pivot points.

Protect Your Tires

motorcycle tire close up

If you’re wondering how to store your motorcycle for winter outside or in your garage while ensuring that the tires are protected, you’ll want to get motorcycle stands to put your bike on for storage. Your Harley Davidson cruiser bike is a heavy machine, so having it sit all winter in one spot could lead to flat spots on your tires and  wheels. If you don’t have a stand, put some plywood or a carpet under the Harley tires to prevent any moisture from seeping into them.

Plug Up Your Pipes and Any Openings

Harley Davidson bikes all covered in snow

Another great tip on how to winterize a Harley cruiser bike is covering all openings. It’s common for pests like mice and small rodents to hide inside exhaust pipes and even make homes out of motorcycle air filters during the winter. To avoid surprises when starting your bike again, make sure to plug up your  Harley exhausts and air filter. You can either get an exhaust or a muffler plug or use some bright-colored plastic bags to seal those pipes and air intakes.

Add Antifreeze in Your Coolant

Coolant tank of a motorbike

If you’re storing your bike outside or in a garage when temperatures fall below freezing, make sure to add sufficient antifreeze in your bike’s coolant system. This is critical because if you run straight water in your Harley cruiser bike’s coolant system and it ends up freezing throughout the winter, you could potentially be dealing with a cracked reservoir when spring comes. If you don’t know how to winterize a Harley cruiser bike using the right antifreeze, consult your mechanic.

Cover Your Cruiser Bike

motorcycle in winter outside

After preparing your bike for winter, invest in a proper breathable motorcycle cover. The right one will not only keep dust away but also prevent moisture from getting trapped underneath the surface. If you have to store your motorcycle for winter outside, then you need to know how best to protect it against the harsh weather conditions. To do this, get a cover with strong tie-downs that will prevent it from being blown away by strong winds.

Store Your Bike Safely

Harley Davidson HOG stored inside a garage

If you’re parking your Harley cruiser bike outside, keep in mind that leaving it unattended for months could make it a very easy target for thieves. Invest in the best theft protection, such as strong chains anchored to immovable objects and a new alarm. You can also install security cameras both outside your home and inside your garage for easier surveillance. Learn how to keep your motorcycle from getting stolen by taking the right security measures.

Having taken all the necessary steps on how to winterize your Harley cruiser bike, you can now rest assured that you’re fully prepared for a few months of hibernation. This is also the perfect time for you to do some maintenance and custom upgrades that you’ve always wanted to do. West End Motorsports brings you a variety of affordable,  customizable parts and accessories that you can install on your Harley cruiser. Check out our section of aftermarket parts now.