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When the winter closes in and it's time to get ready to store your motorcycle until spring, there is a lot more to think about than when you store your motorcycle between trips in the summer. In order to keep your bike in great condition and eliminate potential engine problems in the spring, these tips, gathered from advice supplied by Yamaha and from storage unit companies will give you a head start! Our checklist can be used for winterization, or for any prolonged period of eight weeks or longer when your bike is not being used.
What Should You Do Before Winterization?
Before the last time you use your motorcycle during the season, use proprietary products that you add to the fuel system to
a) keep the fuel system clean and
b) stabilize the fuel during storage.
After addition of these two products, you need to run your engine. Do this to make sure that the products are completely mixed, and that the treated and protected fuel has circulated throughout the system.
Protecting the Engine Over Winter
Whether you have a two stroke or a four stroke outboard, the steps you need to do to prepare it for the winter are almost identical. Here is our checklist:
Flush out the outboard using fresh water and allow it to drain completely
Clean the power-head and all external parts to remove all traces of salt and dirt
3. Oil System
On a two stroke engine, fill the outboard's oil reservoir with the appropriate two stroke oil.
On a four stroke engine, change the engine oil using the correct type of oil for your outboard AND, change the oil filter.
4. Gear Oil
On a two stroke engine, change the gear oil and replace and drain the plug washers on the lower unit.
On a four stroke engine, change the oil in the lower unit
In either case, refer to the manufacturer's handbook for the appropriate lubricant to use
a) Drain the fuel. Depending on the model, this could be from the carburetor or the vapor separator tank
b) Empty the fuel from the primary filter cup and replace the filter element
6. Water Separating Filter
If your outboard is fitted with one of these, replace it
7. Protecting the Internal Parts of Your Engine
Fog the engine with the appropriate proprietary fogging oil
8. Lubricate the engine
Use the appropriate marine grease for all internal and external fittings including the prop shaft
Charge and then disconnect the battery. Apply grease to the battery terminals.
10. Protect Rubber Components
Spray the power-head and all of the rubber components using a proprietary silicone lubricant and protectant
A Storage Unit or Undercover Storage Space is the Ideal Solution
A much better solution if you do not have storage facilities at home, is to rent a storage unit or undercover storage space specially designed for bikes, cars and other vehicles. These are available from good storage solutions companies. Storing your motorcycle in a facility like this, will ensure it is kept, safe and dry and avoid extremes of temperature.
Storing your motorcycle undercover means that the outboard motor cover you choose should not be plastic - which can allow a buildup of damaging condensation. Instead, you should choose a good quality canvas cover.
Following all these tips will ensure that you extend the life of your motor and your motorcycle, save money in the long-term and ensure a hassle-free start to next year's biking season!