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How (and Why) to Winterize Your Harley for 2021

Harley® Winterization How-To

Here’s what happens to most motorcycle riders in the Dallas area who don’t use their Harley® as their only form of transportation. After a blistering summer, fall brings gorgeous temps and sunshine that doesn’t melt your face. All you want to do is ride, and every time you do, it’s amazing. You get on your bike as often as possible and take as many long road trips as work allows.

The weather starts to change, but it’s Texas. You have a few days of rain and freezing temperatures, then it’s perfect riding weather again. This week we’ve had sunny days with temperatures that are almost every rider’s dream. When the weather isn’t great, you get in the habit of just waiting for it to improve.

Then January hits. Suddenly, there are no good days. It’s wet, dark and cold most of the time. Your bike sits until things start to improve. But if you just park it, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. When you go to start it in April the first breathtaking spring day, you could be facing expensive mechanical problems, a dead battery or worse. 

Winterize your Harley® before you park it so you don’t have to take that chance. Take one last, long ride, then follow these steps.

Wash, Dry, Wax

We know, the bikini bike wash has been closed since the weather changed, and you’ve put some miles on since then. Don’t park your Harley® with the fall grunge all over it, or the grime and bug guts could corrode your paint.

Wash it, then use a leaf blower or soft, lint-free towel to get it completely dry, even in the areas that are hard to reach. Apply wax to repel moisture. Use a leather protectant on seats. 

Get an Oil Change

A lot of people think they’ll park their bike for the season, then get an oil change in spring when they plan to start riding again. They figure that oil isn’t traveling through the system anyway, so what harm will it do to leave it there?

When you rode all fall, your oil broke down as it was exposed to heat and oxygen. If you leave it to sit, it sludges up. In spring, you may have to go through several oil changes to remove the buildup. When you bring your bike to us for winterization, we’ll use a winter weight oil that makes spring startup go as planned.

Protect Your Tires

People tend to think tires that aren’t used much shouldn’t wear out as often. But tires are meant to be used, to experience temperature fluctuation and motion. A parked bike is like an unused muscle. It deteriorates. 

Tires that sit in one position can develop flat spots. Concrete is porous and moisture wells through it from the ground underneath. Winter cold makes rubber brittle. (On a side note, don’t overinflate your tires to protect them from getting flat spots. That won’t help, and it could hurt.)

The best way to protect your bike is to put it on a stand so the tires don’t touch the ground and keep it in a climate-controlled, covered space. If you can’t do that, protect them from moisture by parking on an absorbent surface.

Stabilize Your Gas

Gas vaporizes, that’s part of what it makes your bike go. But it’s meant to be used and replaced regularly. When you don’t ride, it continues to do so. It also gets gummy when exposed to oxygen and leaves deposits in your tank and carburetor. If you park your Harley with half a tank of gas and let it sit for months, you could have problems in your gas tank and carburetor come spring.

The fix is so easy, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t take care of it and you have to rebuild your carburetor. Before you park your bike, fill up the tank and add fuel stabilizer. If you think you’ll ride some over the winter, fill an extra gas can with fuel and add stabilizer. Every time you ride, use that to top it off.

Lubricate Everything

Even if you’re keeping your bike in a garage, when cold metal sits exposed to air, moisture builds up. If it’s going to stay outside there’s an even bigger issue from precipitation. Lubricate your fork surfaces, controls, chain drive, cables, and anything else that moves.

One problem that occurs when your bike is ridden hard and put up wet is rust development. Your chain builds up dirt deposits that hold moisture. Your bike sits during the winter, and that debris eats through your chain. In spring, you have a problem. 

Protect Your Battery

Your battery continues to send a tiny amount of charge to your bike when it’s parked, even if you don’t start it up. Over the winter months that can ruin your battery. 

You could remove it for storage, but that’s a pain, especially if you think you might take it out a few times on pretty winter days. Instead, get a battery tender like this one you can pick up at our Dallas Harley® Dealership and hook it up when you park your bike. Before you do, clean your electrodes.

Have Your Harley Winterized For You

Protect your bike and your wallet by having your motorcycle winterized by a pro. Schedule your service online or call us at 972.270.3962.