Are you planning to go away for a holiday, while your trusty bike stays in the garage?
Is it the end of the season and you are taking a break from dirt biking for a few months?
In this article we uncover the truth about how long can a motorcycle sit without starting.
A motorcycle’s idle time without starting can vary, impacted by factors such as its condition, surrounding climate, and battery type. Generally, a motorcycle can sit for 2-3 months without starting, but periodic starting and engine running is advisable to maintain systems and prevent battery discharge.
Factors to Consider for Long-Term Motorcycle Storage
When storing your motorcycle for long-term, there are several factors to consider to ensure your bike is safe and ready to ride when you are.
First, it is important to ensure the bike is clean and dry before storing. Washing the bike and drying it thoroughly will help prevent corrosion. Drying is especially important if you plan to store it in the garage with poor ventilation.
Next, make sure the battery is disconnected and stored in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent any electrical damage. While simply disconnecting the battery from the terminals is enough, sometimes you might want to remove it from the bike and store separately. Motorcycle battery theft is a thing, you know.
Additionally, make sure to fill the gas tank to help prevent moisture buildup and oxidation. A piece of personal advice – if your bike has been in storage for many months, you shouldn’t use that “old” fuel. Drain it and put fresh fuel in. Your engine will thank you.
Finally, use a high-quality motorcycle cover to protect against dirt, dust, and UV rays (and bird poop). Obviously you won’t need that in a garage, but outdoors a good bike cover is your best friend.
Following these steps will help ensure your bike is in top condition when you are ready to ride again.
Steps to Prepare Your Motorcycle for Long-Term Storage
If you are looking to store your motorcycle for a long period of time, it is important to get it properly prepared before doing so.
Here are the steps to take to make sure your bike is ready for the storage process:
- Clean your motorcycle thoroughly. This includes washing the exterior, as well as cleaning the exhaust and engine components.
- Change the oil and filter. This will help keep the engine lubricated and running smoothly when you start it up again.
- Check all fluid levels, such as coolant and brake fluid, and top them off if necessary.
- Disconnect the battery and store it in a safe, dry place away from the motorcycle.
- Place the motorcycle on stands to prevent flat spots on the tires.
- Cover the motorcycle with a protective cover to keep dust and dirt away from it.
- Place mothballs or cat litter near the bike to help absorb moisture, if required.
What Maintenance Should be Done Before Storing?
Before storing your powersports machine, it is important to do some maintenance to ensure the longevity of the bike.
Start by changing the oil and filter, and make sure to use the correct type of oil for your specific model.
Check the brakes, chain, and sprockets for any wear and replace as needed.
Check for any air leaks in the tires and make sure the tire pressure is at the recommended level.
Clean and lube the cables, and inspect all nuts, bolts, and fasteners.
Finally, check the battery and give it a full charge before storing it away.
How Often Should You Start the Motorcycle During Long-Term Storage?
It is important to start your motorcycle during long-term storage to ensure that all of its components are working properly.
Starting the motorcycle once every two months is ideal to make sure the fuel system stays lubricated, the battery is fully charged, and the engine and other parts are running smoothly.
Make sure to run the engine for at least 10 minutes and check all the fluids.
Also, make sure to take the motorcycle out for a short ride every couple of months to ensure everything is functioning properly.
How to Troubleshoot a Motorcycle that Hasn’t Been Started in Months
If you haven’t started your motorcycle in months, there are a few steps you should take to get it running again.
Firstly, check the battery and make sure it’s charged. If it isn’t, charge it up, jumpstart it or replace it with a new one. You can pick up a decent battery for around $50, but expect to pay up to $200 for a high-performance sports battery.
Secondly, check the fuel system for any dirt or debris that may have built up during the time it was sitting. You will also want to make sure your fuel tank is full and that your fuel filter is clean. Remember we talked about “old fuel”? Yeah, ditch that. Drain the fuel tank and carburetor, then use fresh gas.
Thirdly, check the spark plug and replace it with a new one if worn.
Fourthly, check the air filter for dirt or debris. Give it a good clean, or replace it if it’s too far gone.
Lastly, check the oil levels and top off if needed.
One more thing – if your bike has an electric start, check if the starter motor is working.
Once you’ve gone through all these steps, try starting the motorcycle and see if it runs. If not, it may be necessary to take the bike to a mechanic for further diagnosis.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember that properly caring for your motorcycle is the best way to ensure it remains in good condition for years to come.
I hope this guide has given you a better understanding of how long your bike can sit without starting and what you can do to keep your motorcycle running optimally.
Be sure to check out some of my other articles on motorcycle maintenance!