Getting Your Motorcycle Out of Self-Storage and Ready for the Summer Roads
It’s now June, and the summer heat is just around the corner. If you’ve had your motorcycle in your self-storage unit all winter, this is the time you’ve been waiting for: the roads are back to welcome you on your bike again!
Last fall, when you put your motorcycle away for the winter, you (hopefully) took a number of steps to winterize your motorcycle so that it would last the cold months away in storage. Now, you need to undo those steps, and prepare your motorcycle for movement again. (For more information on storing your motorcycle with Real Storage, look here.)
Follow these basic steps for getting your motorcycle ready for a summer full of wind in your hair and freedom on the road in front of you.
Checking the fuel
It is not good to allow fuel to sit in your motorcycle for an extended period. Sitting still in the tank can allow the gasoline to react with oxygen, which can create varnish deposits. The deposits result in dirty, stale fuel flowing through your motorcycle, which can clog lines, filters, jets, and injectors.
The first thing you should be doing to prepare your motorcycle for the summer roads is to replace the fuel with new, clean, high octane gasoline. Empty any fuel that remained during the motorcycle’s stay in self-storage, and then, while the tank is empty, check to be sure there is no dirt or rust that has built up inside. Clean out the interior of the tank, and then fill it with fresh fuel.
You will hopefully have disconnected the battery from your motorcycle before storing it for the winter: leaving it connected can drain the battery, as the electronics will continue to work off of it, even when the motorcycle is not on. The best storage advice for batteries is to purchase a trickle charger, which turns itself off when the battery is fully recharged, preventing overcharging damages.
If you have a charger, connect the battery there first to see how the battery is working. If nothing happens, then the battery may be dead, and you may require a new one. If power is what you get, then take a quick look at its fluid levels, and top anything up that looks low.
Finally, hook it back up to the motorcycle, and (once all fluids in the bike have been replaced – see below) start the engine.
Check the tires
Be sure to check the air pressure in your tires before taking your motorcycle on the road. The winter months can cause the tire pressure to drop while sitting still, especially if you did not store your motorcycle in a climate-controlled self-storage unit. Inflate your tires if the pressure is too low.
While working on your tires, be sure to inspect their condition as well: make sure the thread is not worn, that there are no damaged or rotting areas on the tire that could get worse with use, and that there are no potential flat-spotting on the tire from sitting too long.
Replacing the fluids
Like fuel, all of the fluids in your motorcycle should really be drained before storing your bike for the winter. Oil can collect dirt, which may damage its circulation. Likewise, old oil contains acids, which can also harm the motorcycle. Drain any oil that was left in the bike, and replenish it with new oil.
Check the brake fluid, and be sure that it is not old. Old brake fluid looks a dark-yellow colour, so if this is the case, flush your brake fluid completely, and replace with new fluid. Also, be sure to check your coolant levels, refilling those if they are low as well.
It is important to have clean fluids that are topped up before starting your motorcycle for the first time after months of sitting still: any dirty fluids can cause damage to your bike.
Examine your brakes
An absolute must before riding your motorcycle is examining your brakes. You do not want to get out on the road for the first time, and not have those working! Sitting in storage for many months could result in brake seizures or stiffness.
To examine whether your brakes are working properly or not, squeeze the front wheel brake lever with your hand and press down on the rear wheel brake pedal with your foot. If you have hydraulic brakes, and you feel a soft or cushiony resistance, then the brakes may require bleeding. With cable-pull brakes, you need to feel a solidly firm resistance, or the tension of your cables may need tightening, or the brake pads themselves may need to be replaced.
Finally, take a good look at the brake pads to be sure that they are not worn and need replacing.
As a last effort before your first ride of the season, we suggest giving your motorcycle a refreshing clean. Give the bike a good scrub and wax so that it sparkles in the summer sun again. And do the same things with your helmet, boots, gloves, jacket, and shades: you want to look as good sitting on your bike as it does in the sun, after all!
Now that the weather is on your side, out comes the motorcycle from self-storage, and (thankfully) in its place, the snow-blower, shovel, salt, winter boots and coats can all go away there for hibernation.
We’re as excited as you for the summer season, and we have all of your self-storage needs covered for it. If you have any questions about your self-storage unit, the contents within it, or questions about acquiring one, speak with your Real Storage agent today.