Winterizing 101: How To Prepare Your Motorcycle, ATV, or Side-by-Side/UTV for Winter
The Fall season is an incredible time to get out on your motorcycle or ATV and get behind the wheel of a Side-by-Side/UTV. The temperatures are cooling down, and we still have plenty of daylight to enjoy. But when pumpkin spice starts hitting the shelves, we know winter is just around the corner, and for many Powersports enthusiasts, it won’t be long before they’re winterizing their ride until the weather improves. Winter isn’t dreary for everyone, as that’s when the snowmobiles come out to play and more adventurous riders on dirt bikes and UTVs, too. Preparing your vehicle for winter can mean long-term storage or just the opposite.
Many riders and drivers will be bundling up to push through the colder seasons, and they’ll need to take steps to make sure their machines are ready for those potentially freezing conditions. We’ll cover the nitty-gritty of winterizing your motorcycle, ATV, Side-by-Side/UTV, or snowmobile, whether you’re hanging up your helmet for the season or getting ready to embrace the winter months.
Quantum Fuel Systems is your source for high-quality OE replacement fuel system components designed to fit your Powersports machine. All QFS-branded parts are backed by an industry-leading lifetime warranty, and our extensive catalog has direct replacement fuel pumps, fuel filters, inlet strainers, fuel pressure regulators, O-rings, and more, all built to meet or exceed OEM quality standards. Now, let’s get into winterization!
Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter: The Ins and Outs of Long-Term Storage
Depending on where you live in the country, riding or enjoying your motorcycle, ATV, or another toy can be tricky in winter. And when springtime rolls around, we all want our toys to be in tip-top shape, raring to go the moment the weather permits.
Simply parking your bike for four months straight might mean you’ll spend more time tinkering to get it on the road and missing that first ride with your buddies. These tips don’t just apply to preparing your vehicle for winter; this type of preventative maintenance should be done for any vehicle that will be stored for extended periods.
Treat Your Gas
We’ve covered the problems with ethanol fuel phase separation — from gunked-up components to rust-ridden steel fuel tanks; it’s bad news no matter how you look at it. Although it’s an easily avoidable problem and there are a few ways to handle it.
Fuel stabilizers do precisely that: Stabilize your fuel and prevent it from absorbing water, causing phase separation, and eventually ruining the fuel completely. Depending on your climate, phase separation can occur in as little as 60 days, which isn’t much time at all. Countless stabilizing options are available, and we believe that using any of them is better than doing nothing at all.
Draining the fuel tank and system avoids the spoiled gas problem altogether. When the weather clears up, you’ll have to top up your vehicle with fresh fuel from a jerrycan, but that’s a small price to pay to ensure your quad, bike, or UTV fires up immediately. Downsides include potentially drying out rubber O-rings or gaskets, and we offer high-quality replacement parts for various makes and models.
Change Your Oil and Filter
You’ll have most likely racked up the hours or miles when wrapping the riding season. Replacing your oil and filter will help prevent corrosion and remove impurities from your engine’s lubrication system. Also, you’ll be one more step ahead when Spring comes.
Clean and Lube Your Machine
Packing away your bike or UTV covered in crud will only lead to corrosion on its paint or finishes. Get in the habit of thoroughly cleaning your vehicle before parking it. Once done, inspect and lube all moving parts from the linkage to the chain, if applicable. Proper lubrication helps prevent rust buildup and extends the life of those components.
Keep Your Battery Charged
Parasitic battery drain is unavoidable, and some electrical systems draw more current than others. Worse still, your battery will naturally drain over time, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a conventional lead-acid battery or a lightweight lithium-ion variant. Ensure you use a reliable charging unit compatible with your vehicle’s battery. These days, practically everything rolling off the showroom floor is equipped with an SAE adapter, allowing owners to use a battery tender and maintain proper battery voltage. If not, either pick one up and install it, or simply remove the battery and charge it.
Pest Control: Don’t Feed Our Furry Friends
Mice, rats, and other small furry creatures will get into every nook and cranny available to them in colder months, including your precious motorcycle, quad, and car. Small rodents can begin nesting inside airboxes and exhausts while also wreaking havoc by chewing wiring. Block off areas where pests can enter, which will spare you a major headache.
Find Proper Shelter
There is no substitute for storing a vehicle indoors, but we know that isn’t a luxury for everyone. Temporarily leasing a storage unit is handy, especially for those that only have street parking available. If those options aren’t readily available, opting for a fitted cover specific to the make and model of your ride will go a long way in protecting it from the elements.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter Rides or Drives
Many of us don’t stop enjoying our machines when the thermometer dips and preparing your vehicle ready for winter isn’t as tricky as you might think. In fact, it comes down to using proper fluids and tires, mostly.
Tire Choice Matters
It all comes down to the terrain you plan on hitting and temperatures because those knobby off-road tires on your motorcycle, ATV, or UTV might won’t cut it in freezing conditions. You’ll want to use a softer compound tire designed to operate and sustain lower temperatures, as well as a tread pattern compatible with the terrain you’re exploring. In addition, you might need to opt for hardcore studded tires that provide grip on icy surfaces.
Lower Temps Means Lower Oil Viscosity
Lower viscosity oil flows better in frigid or freezing temperatures, which helps your engine’s lubrication system operate more effectively in harsh conditions. Running high-viscosity oil in the winter will allow cold starts to take their toll on your engine, leading to premature wear. Always reference your vehicle-specific owner’s manual and use the correct oil for your situation.
Those living in warmer climates can avoid using non-glycol-based coolants since their cooling systems will never risk freezing. When dealing with a true winter wonderland, you will have to increase the amount of anti-freeze in your mixture per the needs of your environment.
Have Any Questions? Call or Email Today!
QFS is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. Be sure to reach out via phone or email to reach our support staff with any technical questions that you might have or to place orders for winter maintenance projects.