Off-Season Storage

Fuel:  Stale fuel has always been a problem but the ethanol in modern gasoline makes the issue much worse.  The ethanol grabs moisture from the air which in turn will corrode steel fuel tanks and the little brass parts in carburetors.  To minimize the amount of moisture the fuel picks up we recommend storing with a full tank of treated fuel.  Be sure to run the machine for a few minutes to get the treated fuel into the system.

Battery:  The two things that will kill a battery prematurely are low electrolyte and spending even a short amout of time discharged.  Fully charge the battery before storing and on maintenance type batteries (caps on top) fill the electrolyte to the full level with DISTILLED water.  Keep the battery charged by either putting it on a battery maintainer our topping it off with a charger every 30-60 days or so.  It's not necessary to remove the battery from the machine but it may make it more convenient to service it and keep it charged during the off season.

Oil and filter:  Combustion products get past the piston rings and into the oil.  There will be condensation in the crankcase during storage and those contaminants become acids when combined with water.  It's best to store with new oil and filter.

Brake fluid:  DOT3 and DOT4 brake fluid (most motorcycles) aggressively absorb moisture from the environment.  New fluid is clear but as it absorbs moisture it starts to turn dark.  That moisture is sitting in your brake system during the off season corroding things.  If the brake fluid looks like weak tea or darker it's a good idea to replace it before storing.

Tires:  Fully inflate them.  Ozone and sunlight are your enemy, put it in a dark area away from electrical equipment which generates ozone (electric motors, furnace blowers, welding equipment etc.).  It's great to get the weight off the tires.  If you have a center stand or other device to get weight off the tires use it.  Otherwise, move the machine (push, don't start it) periodically to avoid the tires developing flat spots.

Critters:  Powersports equipment had all kinds of places small animals like to make home.  Nests in the intake and exhaust can lead to expensive repairs.  If you're storing somewhere the little guys hang out you can keep them from making a home in your ride by stuffing a bit of metal screen wire in exhaust openings and air intakes.

Appearance:  To have it look best when you put it back in service clean thoroughly and wax painted surfaces.  You can put WD-40 on metal surfaces to protect from corrosion.  Cover with something that will breathe (and old sheet is great).

Cylinder fogging:  To really protect your equipment you can "fog" the pistons and cylinders with fogging oil.  It's not too hard to do if you have a kick starter but on other equipment it can be quite challenging to distribute it.  We really don't think it's necessary for off season storage, but if it's going to sit for years you might consider doing this or having us do it.

Do not start it until you're putting it back in service:  Running the engine puts moisture in the exhaust system which may not get hot enough to cook it back off and can cause corrosion.  There is also the issue of getting combustion products into the oil which can become acidic.  Your best bet is to leave it be until you're ready to start enjoying it again.

 

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