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Motorcycle Winter Storage Tips

Harley Davidson Winter Storage Tips

Here at Lind, we want to make sure you have the best experience with your Harley-Davidson motorcycle. We'd hate for you to lay your bike to rest throughout the winter and then there's something wrong at springs first light. This is why we've put some top tips together for those of you looking at storing your bike away throughout the winter. Our dealerships in Guildford, Newmarket, Norwich and Reading are more than happy to help get your bike set for winter for a lot less than you might imagine, why not call a member of our service team to find out more about how we can help you this winter!


Clean and inspect the Harley-Davidson® Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery. Keep it fully charged. Replace any battery that is leaking or that has a bulged case, indicating it was overcharged.

Note: Some riders attempt to keep their motorcycle battery charged by periodically starting and running their motorcycle for a few minutes while it is in storage. Unfortunately, these short run cycles are harder on the motorcycle and battery than not starting it at all.

  • Short start and run cycles leave the battery in a discharged condition, making it more susceptible to sulfation, one of the biggest causes of battery failure.
  • Additionally, the combustion process inside the engine produces water and carbon dioxide along with other corrosive ingredients. Short run cycles don’t allow the engine to reach full operating temperature, which leaves some moisture in the cylinder and exhaust system that increases the corrosive effects.

Use a Harley-Davidson Battery Charger or Battery Tender to maintain motorcycle battery at full charge capacity.

Harley-Davidson Battery Tenders or Battery Chargers incorporate a microprocessor that reads battery voltage and adjusts charging output accordingly. Do not use steady rate battery chargers because they may overcharge or undercharge the AGM battery.

Change the oil and filter.

Fuel and acids present in dirty oil will accelerate the rate of corrosion. Leaving dirty oil in the engine during long-term storage may accelerate engine corrosion leading to a premature engine rebuild. A fresh fill of Screamin’ Eagle® SYN3® Full Synthetic Lubricant or H-D® 360 Motorcycle Oil will help protect your engine, even when the engine isn’t running.

Check the engine coolant level, change if necessary. (VRSC, Street, FLHTK and Tri-Glide® Ultra models)

Use Harley-Davidson Extended Life Anti-Freeze & Coolant. It protects against freezing to minus 37 degrees F (minus 38 degrees C). Replace coolant if it is more than 10 years old or has been more than 30,000 miles [48,000km] since it was last changed.

Fill the fuel tank completely.

A motorcycle stored with the fuel tank less than full exposes bare metal in the tank to potential corrosion. If the tank becomes excessively corroded, it may require a corrosion-removal treatment or replacement.

Add Harley-Davidson® Ethanol Guard Fuel Stabiliser to preserve fuel.

Stale fuel can produce engine starting problems, foul spark plugs and cause engine surging and misfiring. In a worst-case scenario, stale fuel may need to be discarded and the fuel tank flushed. Fuel Stabiliser slows the aging of the fuel and ensures an efficient start after months of storage.

If motorcycle has a carburettor, evacuate all the fuel from the fuel line and carburettor by running engine with fuel valve turned off until engine quits.

This prevents fuel varnish build-up in the small and functionally important orifices inside the carburettor.

Carefully inspect condition of the tyres and adjust tire air pressure to the proper specifications.

For information on proper tyre pressure, refer to the Owner’s Manual or Service Manual for the appropriate motorcycle model. Also, visit your tyre manufacturers website for tyre condition, care and maintenance guidelines.

Note: Tyre condition greatly affects motorcycle operation and rider/passenger safety. If you do not feel 100 percent confident in your ability to ascertain a good tyre from a bad tyre, we strongly encourage you to take your motorcycle to an authorized Harley-Davidson dealership.

Clean and protect motorcycle surface finishes prior to storage using Harley-Davidson surface care products that are designed and tested for your motorcycle.

Use cleaning products such as: Harley-Davidson Quick Wash; Sunwash®; Bug Remover; Denim Paint Cleaner; Wheel & Tire Cleaner; Seat, Saddlebag & Trim Cleaner; and Boot Mark Remover. Dry motorcycle completely after washing and then protect surface finishes with: Harley-Davidson Spray Cleaner & Polish; Chrome Clean & Shine; Engine Brightener; Gloss Detailer; Glaze Poly Sealant; and Leather Protectant. Follow instructions on the container for best results.

Cover your motorcycle to protect it from impact, dust and dirt.

However, not just any cover will do; non-breathable covers trap moisture, which increases the effects of corrosion. Harley-Davidson motorcycle covers are designed to protect the bike while allowing corrosion-causing moisture to escape.

Store the motorcycle in a safe location. Do not store near agricultural fertilisers, swimming pool chemicals, salts for icy roadways or water softeners or any other chemically reactive compounds.

Chemicals such as these are commonly stored in the same area as the motorcycle and emit caustic gases that greatly accelerate corrosion.

Tip: Many riders perform scheduled maintenance and/or major customisation while the motorcycle is inactive in long-term storage. This enhances the experience and increases riding time when the weather improves. Talk to one of the team at our dealerships in Guildford, Newmarket, Norwich or Reading for ideas on how to maximise the enjoyment during long-term storage period.