Winter isn’t a very fun time to own a motorcycle. It’s marked by cold, gross weather in most areas which is traditionally pretty dangerous to drive a motorcycle of any kind in, but it’s also just plain dangerous to drive at all in. But, we’d urge you not to just stow away your motorcycle at the first sign of seasonal bad weather. Nor should you simply just pack away your motorcycle trailer at the first sign of a snow storm. All vehicles, when they sit for too long, start to decay and certain components on them will begin to go bad. That means that by spring time next year, you may need to invest in replacements before you can take your bike out and feel the cool wind on your face again. That’s a bummer, and you don’t want to have to invest money into fixing a bike or a trailer that was working fine just a few months ago. So, don’t.
Invest a little time, and much less money, in winterizing your bike and your motorcycle trailer before you roll it into the shed for the season. Learn how to winterize your bike and your trailer below.
What You’ll Need
To winterize your bike and your trailer, you’ll need a few cleaning cloths, a spark plug wrench, a couple of quarts of high-quality oil of your choice, a new oil filter, your oil can, chain lube (if the drive train is exposed on the outside body of the bike), fuel stabilizer, trickle battery charger, a can of WD40, and a nice motorcycle cover. You might need a few other supplies, but you won’t have to collect those from the store, as you’ll likely have them on-hand anyway.
Most of all though, what you’ll need is a dry place on your property that won’t get too cold during the winter. We aren’t suggesting that you put a little space heater inside to keep your trailer and bike warm. Just choose a section of the garage. It won’t get quite so cold inside the garage as it would in an unattached shed, as the garage get’s the advantage of some latent heating from the house.
Rinse It Off
You’ll want to thoroughly clean your bike before you stow it away for the season, but not just because it’s more fun when you take it out at the start of a new season and it’s shiny and pretty for you. Get started with a gentle detergent and some water. Wipe down and really get at the spots that are stuck on the paint. Removing this dirt and debris will help the finishes on your bike and your trailer stay in good shape for a longer period of time. There’s plenty of acidic organic compounds that often splash up onto your bike and your trailer that can easily cause long term damage. They’ll eat away at the paint, first, and then they’ll eat away at the metal beneath by exposing it to corrosion. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that the bike and trailer are clean, before you leave the grime more time to eat away at that protective first layer.
After you’ve given them a good wash, be sure to dry them thoroughly. There’s loads of components that can permanently fail if they’re exposed to water for too long and aren’t readily dried. You don’t want to have to replace or fix those pieces to use your bike in the spring either. So, be sure to towel dry everything off. Once everything is dried off well, then you can bring out the wax polish for the trailer and the bike. Be sure to give them a good protective layer between the elements and the metal body beneath. Taking good care of this will mean it’s shiny and new when you roll them back into the sunlight, but it’ll also mean that anything that gets on the bike or motorcycle trailer over the winter season doesn’t have a chance to corrode away part of your bike. Next, if the chain is exposed, be sure to lube it up and use some WD40 to remove any build-up that’s currently on the chain.
Be sure to apply that lubricant to the suspensions, wheel bearings, springs, and electrical plugs on your trailer, too. It’s better to be safe than sorry when taking care of the various important mechanical pieces of the motorcycle trailer that carts your bike around for you on all of your adventures.
Bike Maintenance Specifics
Be sure that you go through a check list of other bike-only pre-winter maintenance to ensure that your bike is in tip-top shape despite the uncomfortably cold weather that’s on the way. Go ahead and add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, drain the float bowls if you have a carburetor on your bike, warm up the engine and change the oil and oil filter, and remove the battery. Other maintenance you might consider performing before packing the bike up and throwing a cover on top includes oiling the components in the front fork, removing spark plug wires, and checking the liquid cooling system, if you have one. These aren’t quite as necessary as the basic maintenance steps, but they’re certainly good practice, especially since you likely don’t perform them that often anyway, so you can make winter into a good excuse to get all the maintenance on your bike done ahead of time so it’s practically a new machine by the time spring comes.
General Maintenance Checks
Once you’ve finished up the majority of your maintenance on the bike, do a quick check on the trailer and the bike’s functionality. You’ll want to do a once-over on both to see if there are any broken lights or faulty electrical connections. You’ll also want to look all over the trailer for any signs of rust or corrosion and check that there isn’t a faulty hitch connection. Now would be the perfect time to examine the tires for any abrasions as well, as that will certainly be exasperated in the cold weather. Be sure to replace these things if you find anything is out of the ordinary now, as most of those aforementioned issues can worsen over the course of the winter after being exposed to the cold weather. Next, you’ll want to remove any electrical pieces that might prematurely age in the winter, i.e. batteries. Find a warm place inside your house to store them so they can benefit from the temperature-controlled conditions.
Storing Your Bike and Trailer
We’ve already mentioned that it’s better to keep them in the garage than in a shed or separate building, but if you’re in a pinch and you don’t have a warm little place to put them, you still can take good care of your toys. If you’re putting them on concrete, whether it’s under shelter or outside, put something on the ground beneath them. It can be as simple as some cardboard, or an old strip of cardboard. It’ll work to insulate the bike and the trailer from getting too damp, but it’ll also protect them from the excess cold the concrete will put off. As a substance, concrete is fairly exorbitant as far as temperatures go. It’ll reflect the temperature it pulls in outward, and that’ll make the components of your trailer and your bike get colder faster.
Don’t Have a Trailer For Your Motorcycle Yet?
Invest in one of the superior models from Drop-Tail Trailers now. We have a wide selection of high-quality folding trailers that are crafted with the sole goal of making your life easier. We provide a selection of rampless trailers that are easy to load and secure a bike on, even by yourself. This coming spring, take life by the reins and start taking your bike out to traverse more interesting paths and experience more of your surroundings. Shop our motorcycle trailers now to find out more.