by Pat Goss
Just about everyone has some piece of equipment with an engine on it that is used only part of the year. The rest of the year it sits, and that means if you want it to last a long time, you have to perform some preventive maintenance before you put it in storage. That applies to things like chainsaws, lawn mowers, motorcycles, cars, boats. They all have engines; they all need proper preparation for storage in their down time.
One of the first things you should do with anything that has oil in the crankcase is to change the oil. You want to have fresh oil because old oil has acids in it that can damage bearing surfaces when the engine isn’t running. All right, but then the next thing. If this particular item has paint, then you want to protect the paint and you also want to protect the upholstery. Here we’re talking about cars, naturally.
All right, next. Fuel, the fuel has to be treated with a stabilizer. If you don’t treat it with a stabilizer, it will break down and form gums and varnishes inside the fuel system that can lead to expensive repairs when you put the item back in service. Oh, by the way, after you put it in, make sure you run it for a few minutes so that the fuel is distributed through the whole vehicle, through the whole fuel system. Then you want some type of dry gas to deal with the moisture and it wants to be isopropyl based so that your full tank of fuel will not absorb moisture while it’s in storage.
And for most engines you’re going to want to use fogging spray. Follow the label very, very carefully, because if you don’t, you could wind up with some problems. But if you do, what you’ll wind up with is well-lubricated cylinders and valves. The whole top end of the engine will be protected against rust and corrosion while it’s in storage.
Now, another big problem for cars. The tires on them, they tend to flat spot when they’re sitting. Now the old tried and true way to do it is to use jack stands, one at each corner, as close to the wheels as is possible. This prevents that. Under this BMW we have something new. It’s called a tire cradle, and the manufacturer says that it will prevent flat spotting. We’ll see how well they work as time goes on.
Make sure that everything on your motorcycle, or whatever it is, that it is well cleaned and everything is protected before you put it in storage. Check the tire pressure, and come time to put it back in service, you won’t have problems.