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How to Prepare Your Motorcycle for Winter Storage

As the harsh Wisconsin winter approaches, properly storing your motorcycle not only increases the vehicle’s longevity, but it might also be your best choice for safety on the road. A 2022 study found that temperatures as low as 11.8 ℉ (-11.2℃) increased the necessity for medical attention after a motorcycle crash. These low temperatures can also affect your motorcycle off the road; if you don’t prepare your bike for winter storage, it can deteriorate and become unsafe to ride.

Preparing your motorcycle for its seasonal holiday can protect you from dangerous motorcycle accidents in the spring. Read on to learn how to maintain your bike during the winter months and how Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident.

Why Winterize Your Motorcycle?

Winterizing your motorcycle protects your bike from the harsh winter elements. More importantly, it protects you from future accidents by ensuring that your brakes, lights, carriage, and other parts stay in good condition and work properly in the spring and summer months.

When it comes to motorcycle accidents, Wisconsin is an at-fault state, meaning that you can pursue damages against a driver who causes an injury accident. Wisconsin also uses a modified comparative negligence doctrine, which assigns drivers a percentage of fault for a crash. This means you can’t pursue a settlement for incurred expenses if you are more than 50% responsible for a collision.

Winterizing your motorcycle helps you prevent accidents and potential liabilities in a collision. For instance, if you get into an accident because the driver swerved in front of you, the other driver might be deemed at fault for not giving you space to stop.

However, during the case, their insurance might argue that your bike took longer to stop than it should have because it was poorly maintained. If the insurance company succeeds in assigning you fault, 20%, for example, it can reduce your settlement by 20%.

Preparing Your Motorcycle for Winter

You can take several steps to prepare your motorcycle for proper cold-weather storage. Consider the following when putting your motorcycle away for the cold Wisconsin winter:

  • Use a Fuel Stabilizer

The interior of your motorcycle’s gas tank is made of metal, making it prone to rust. Gasoline that sits in your tank for too long will separate and begin retaining water. Emptying the gas tank allows moisture to build up inside the tank. Both conditions lead to rust, which can enter your engine when you take your bike out on the road.

For proper storage, fill your gas tank and add a fuel stabilizer, then run the engine for a minute or two. Running the engine mixes the stabilizer into the gas, which keeps it from separating and collecting water.

  • Change the Oil and Oil Filter

The oil in your bike acidifies over time and can collect grit and debris with use. If acidic junk sits in your motorcycle for months, it will eat away at your engine. Changing your oil and oil filter ensures your motorcycle is ready to go for a smooth ride in the spring.

  • Switch to Antifreeze

Some types of motorcycle coolant are not designed for cold weather and will freeze solid inside your bike. This causes it to expand and stress your bike’s cooling system. Change your coolant to an antifreeze that’s cold-weather compatible. Opt for a 60/40 or 70/30 antifreeze-water ratio for optimal results.

  • Care for the Battery

Your motorcycle battery relies on the engine to maintain a charge. Not using your bike during the winter will cause the battery to deplete slowly, eventually running out entirely. Cold temperatures also cause your motorcycle’s battery to degrade, which can be dangerous both on and off the road.

To prevent issues, disconnect the battery and keep it somewhere warm, connect it to a trickle charger or smart charger, or charge it periodically throughout the winter.

  • Raise Your Tires

Letting your motorcycle sit in one place for too long can place excessive pressure on one part of the tires, potentially causing the tires to develop a flat spot. If you have a motorcycle stand available, place your bike on the stand during the winter to keep the tires from losing air. If no stand is available, rotate each wheel once a month to prevent flat spots.

  • Cover the Pipes

If you leave your exhaust pipe or airbox exposed, rodents may make their way inside, chew the wiring, and leave waste inside your bike. Your bike may stop working entirely, or it may operate unsafely and lead to an accident.

Some people use clothes, newspapers, or plastic bags in or over the pipes to keep rodents out. You can also buy muffler plugs or covers to ensure no gaps are available for vermin to get inside.

  • Cover or Store Your Bike Inside

Like your gas tank, your motorcycle is made of metal. If left out in the open during winter, condensation and melted snow or ice can lead to rust and corrosion on your motorcycle, breaking down critical safety components.

Most motorcyclists recommend storing your motorcycle in a heated garage during the winter. If it’s impossible to store your bike inside, cover it with a breathable waterproof tarp so that water can’t gather on the bike.

Consult Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers Today

Even if you take all the right precautions, you can still be involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. If a collision occurs, a skilled Fox Cities motorcycle accident attorney like Brian Hodgkiss can help you recover the cost of your medical bills, motorcycle repairs, and more.

We can review the evidence of your case to prove negligence on the other driver’s part and maximize your compensation. Contact us today for a free case review.

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