by Pat Goss
For the most part motorcycles tend to be seasonal vehicles, and that means they’re going to be laid up for a certain number of months out of the year. To avoid disaster there are things that you have to do to protect them during that lay-up period.
Number one is to fill the fuel tank and treat the fuel with a fuel stabilizer. Then run the motorcycle for about ten minutes so that the stabilized fuel is circulated through the entire fuel system. All right, now the engine is warmed up. That’s a great time to change the oil, and if it has one change the oil filter. You don’t want old oil in the engine because it has acid in it, and acid can etch bearings during lay-up.
The next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to use a fogging spray. Now this is an oil that you have to read and follow the label directions on very, very carefully because it’s sprayed into the intake and it coats the valves and the pistons and everything to prevent corrosion.
Next is the brake system. You know brake fluid absorbs moisture. You don’t want that sitting in the brake system, so you flush the brake system. Put in the proper type of brake fluid, and you’ll be good throughout the lay-up.
The chain needs to be lubricated. Chains can have a lot of damage just by sitting in disuse if they aren’t properly lubed. Oh, and you certainly want to wax all the paint and the bright parts on the bike to keep corrosion from forming.
And you want to take care of the battery, but you don’t want a battery charger. You want a battery maintainer. The difference is that battery chargers charge continuously. Battery maintainers shut off when the battery is fully charged. That will make the battery last a lot longer and it will be ready to go in the spring.
Now, tires are an issue, proper inflation, and you want to get the tires up off the ground to prevent flat spotting. So that means you want a service jack, such as we see here. There are many different types on the market. If your bike has a center stand, that will take care of the rear wheel. If it doesn’t, you’ll need two of these jacks, one for the front and the other for the rear. And that will keep the tires in good shape.
Now here’s something a lot of people don’t think about: a chemically treated motorcycle cover. It’s airtight. You put the bike inside, zip it up, and there’s a treatment on it that prevents rust and corrosion. You could also add bags of desiccant. This absorbs moisture to further protect the bike during the lay-up.
Now all of this takes a little bit of time, but it’s well worth it because your bike will look and run like new when you put it back in service.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.