Once there starts to be a chill in the air, you know it’s the time to start thinking about winterizing your dirt bike or ATV. Here are some easy steps to get you on your way:
1. Clean your machine.
Spray down and scrub every inch of your dirt bike or ATV. An old toothbrush and old rags will do the trick. Dish soap works best for grease and oil. You can use a pressure washer but be absolutely sure you do not use it near your hubs. Forcing water into your wheel or axle bearings is the surest way to ruin them. Also, make sure everything is dry as a bone before storing. You don't want any metal parts rusting or corroding over the winter! And if there happens to be any broken or worn out parts, replace them now. Trust me, you don't want to be stuck fixing them when Spring rolls around and all your buddies are out riding.
2. Change the oil.
Over time, the chemicals in engine oil have a tendency to become acidic and will eventually harm your engine rather than help it. So even when your dirt bike or ATV is sitting during the winter, you want to make sure that the oil sitting in it isn't going to wreck your engine.
3. Stabilize the fuel tank and carburetor.
There is some debate about which is better - draining or filling - your fuel tank and carburetor. We feel that a full tank of gas will keep moisture from building up and that you can keep the gasoline from stratifying by adding a fuel stabilizer. For ATV's, run your machine for a few minutes to allow the stabilizer to work through the carburetor. Then shut off the motor, turn off the gas valve and oil the chain. For dirt bikes, run your machine to allow the gas and stabilizer to mix together and once it’s through the carburetor and injectors turn it off. Don't forget to turn off the petcock. If you're storing your dirt bike or ATV for only a few months, the stabilizer should be enough to keep your carb from clogging.
4. Lube it up.
You will want to clean and lube any cables, like the clutch and throttle cables. Lube up any parts that pivot and all the bearings. Keeping everything lubed during the winter will help keep moisture from building up and rusting or binding to parts.
5. Pull out the battery.
Disconnect and pull out the battery. Charge it if it needs it. Clean the terminals. It's important to store the battery where it won't freeze. Did you know that concrete causes power drain in batteries? So don't store it directly on the concrete, stick it on a shelf or in a cabinet.
6. Store it.
Keeping your dirt bike or ATV in a shed or garage is best. But if you have to keep it outside, make sure you have a good cover or tarp. More importantly, find a way to get the wheels off the ground. You can use a stand designed for dirt bikes or even something like an old milk crate or cooler. It will relieve the bike and suspension making it last longer. For ATV’s, push them up on cinder blocks or a jack stands if you have them. For both you want to fill the tires to the correct psi so they don't crack. However, if you need to leave your tires down, it’s smart to put a piece of carpet under them to keep moisture from seeping into the tires from the concrete or the ground. They could also develop flat spots so rolling them back and forth every couple of weeks can help prevent that from happening.
7. Cap that exhaust.
Mice and other critters love to hide inside of exhaust pipes and make homes out of air filters. Plug up your pipes to you don't get any furry surprises when its time to ride again.