Is it time to put your bike into storage and dream of the next riding season? It’s never a fun thing to put your bike away for those winter months, but it’s important to know how to do it properly. Here are a few things you can do to winterize your dirt bike so that when spring rolls around, your bike is ready to go.

Fuel

Most gas from the pump has ethanol nowadays. Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is used as an additive in gasoline to help cut down on greenhouse emissions. The downside is that it attracts water, which is not good for carburetors, fuel injectors or fuel pumps. Aside from that, the fuel itself breaks down and varnishes if it’s left to sit for a period of time. One way you can combat these problems is by adding in a fuel stabilizer.

To treat your fuel, fill up the tank so that it’s totally full, and add in a fuel stabilizer. Start the bike and let it run for 5-10 minutes – you might even go rip it around for a little bit. This allows the treated fuel to make its way through all of the fuel system’s components. If you’ve got a carbureted bike, turn the petcock off and completely drain the float bowl after you’ve run the engine with the treated fuel.

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Pouring Fuel Stabilizer in a Bike

Engine

If you’re going to store your machine for more than one season, it’s a good idea to use fogging oil. First, remove the air filter. Then, while the engine is running, spray the fogging oil directly into the intake tract. This coats all of the internal components, including the piston, cylinder, combustion chamber and valves (on a 4-stroke). This creates a protective layer and helps prevent corrosion and rust from forming inside the engine.

If you’re not storing your dirt bike for multiple seasons, you can get a similar effect by adding oil to the cylinder. To do this, remove the spark plug, measure a teaspoon of engine oil, and pour it directly into the spark plug hole. This will put it right into the cylinder. Reinstall the spark plug and either keep the spark plug cap disconnected or keep your finger on the kill switch. Crank the engine over several times to distribute the oil so you get a nice protective layer.

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Spraying Fogging Oil on a Bike

Antifreeze/Coolant

If you’ve been keeping up on your bike’s standard maintenance intervals, you’re probably okay to just go ahead and store your bike without worrying about the antifreeze. Most manufacturers recommend changing it out every two years, but you can read your owner’s manual to double-check the recommendations for your specific bike. If you’re storing the bike for more than one riding season or haven’t been keeping up with the standard maintenance intervals, flush your cooling system and replace it with some fresh antifreeze. If you like to run distilled water with additives during the summer months, don’t forget to replace it with antifreeze prior to storage.

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Several Coolant/Antifreeze Products Together

Engine Oil and Other Oils

It’s a good idea to change out the engine oil and filter before storing your bike. Used oil contains contaminants from the combustion process and particulate matter from normal engine operation – stuff you don’t want sitting in your engine for long periods of time. If you have a 4-stroke, change the oil and filter. If you have a 2-stroke, change the transmission fluid.

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Changing an Oil Filter on a Dirt Bike

Air Filter

It’s a good idea to clean the air filter before you store your bike for two reasons. First, when riding season is back, you can just grab your bike and go. Second, it doesn’t allow the dirt and dust particles to sink into the filter. The filter will be a little harder to clean the next year if you don’t clean it before storing it.

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Cleaning a Dirty Air Filter

Drive Chain

Before you store your bike, it’s a good idea to clean off the drive chain and spray it down with a good lubricant. This will help extend the life of the chain, and it will be ready to go once riding season rolls around again.

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Spraying Chain Lube on a Dirt Bike

Cables

As long as you’re keeping up on your standard maintenance with lubricating your cables, you should be fine to just store your bike without addressing them. However, if you intend to store your bike for a prolonged period of time, you should lubricate them anyways.

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Spraying Cable Lube on a Dirt Bike Cable

Battery

If your dirt bike has a battery, it’s a good idea to pull it off the bike and place it on a trickle charger. That will keep it in a good state of charge, lengthening the life of the battery. Depending on your bike, it might be difficult to access or remove the battery. If that’s the case, you can just install some disconnect leads that make it easy to connect your charger to your battery. This is also helpful if there’s ever a time during the riding season when you need to keep your battery on a trickle charger.

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Connecting Charger to Battery on a Dirt Bike

Suspension and Tires

It’s best if you elevate your bike, getting it off the ground and onto a stand. This keeps the weight off the bike’s suspension, helping to keep the springs from fading and sagging over time. This is especially important for bikes with air forks.

The other benefit of elevating your bike is that you won’t get flat spots on your tires – something particularly important for tires made out of a soft rubber compound. If you don’t have a stand and just want to use a triangle, air up your tires to the maximum allowed pressure to help prevent flat spots. A stand is ideal, but this is the best thing you can do if you insist on using a triangle.

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Lifting a Bike on a Dirt Bike Stand

Storage

Before you put it away in storage, it’s good to clean up your bike. Spray it down, scrub it up and polish it to add a protective layer to the plastics, seat and engine.

If you don’t have a garage or trailer for your bike, consider getting a tarp or cover for it. It’s a good idea to get one with ventilation so you don’t trap any moisture inside. This protects your bike from the sun, rain and snow.

Regardless of where you’re storing your bike, it’s a good idea to plug up your exhaust pipe. This keeps moisture and condensation out, but it also prevents critters from building nests in there.

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Inserting Exhaust Plugs into Exhaust

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Tell Us What You Think

If you’re storing your dirt bike for the winter, a little bit of prep can go a long way when it’s time to get out and ride again. Do you have any winterizing tips that we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!