Should You Change Your Oil Before or After Winter Storage?

Unless you live in a climate where the weather remains nice and mild through the winter, you’ll probably be storing your motorcycle away for a few months, or however long your winter weather lasts.

One of the most common questions about storing a motorcycle over the winter is whether the oil should be changed before storage or after.

Should You Change Your Oil Before or After Winter Storage?

At Power Oil Center, we want you to be aware of when to change your motorcycle oil so that you can easily get one of our oil change kits when you need it. A motorcycle oil change kit from Power Oil Center has everything you need to change your oil in your garage or driveway.

Why Change Your Oil and Filter Before Winter Storage?

Should You Change Your Oil Before or After Winter Storage?

Although there are some disagreements among enthusiasts on whether to change your motorcycle oil before storage, there’s a very strong argument in favor of it. As you probably know, the normal combustion action during engine operation creates a number of byproducts, including moisture and acids.

When you run your engine regularly, these byproducts get burned off before they have time to settle in and do any damage. However, when your engine sits cold for weeks or months, these byproducts have the chance to eat away at the inside of your engine and cause corrosion.

When you start your bike up again in the spring, this rust and corrosion can flake off into your engine and cause other problems.

However, new oil doesn’t have this issue as it hasn’t been broken down at a molecular level by cycling through your hot engine. If you change the old oil out of your bike before storing it, the new oil should resist moisture and it certainly won’t build up acid. You can generally get up to 2,000 miles out of it when you ride again in the spring.

Should You Change Your Oil Before or After Winter Storage?

How Often Should You Change Motorcycle Oil?

The only firm answer to this question is what your manual indicates. Otherwise, you’ll need to take into account various factors, such as how often you ride your motorcycle, what kind of oil you use, and what kind of bike it is. If you commute to work every day and ride 30 miles per day, you will likely need to change your oil more often, versus someone who only rides around town on the weekends.

How To Tell If Motorcycle Oil Is Dirty

One key component to knowing when to change your oil is whether it’s dirty or not. How do you tell this? Take a look at the color. All motorcycle oil contains detergents that cycle through your engine and clean the parts it comes in contact with.

As the oil continually cycles through the engine, the detergent eventually gets used up. As the oil collects grime and loses detergent, the color becomes darker and darker. Once your oil is a dark brown color, it’s very likely that it needs to be changed.

Should You Change Your Oil Before or After Winter Storage?

Other Winter Storage Tips For Motorcycles

Besides changing your oil before storage, there are a few other steps you can take to make sure that your motorcycle stays in good shape during the few months it’s not in use.

One is to stabilize the fuel. Like oil, gasoline also oxidizes and breaks down. The oxidized fuel can cause problems inside your fuel compartment. This can result in your motorcycle having a hard time starting in the spring, or it may not start at all.

To avoid this, you can add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel system just before you take it for the last ride. Adding it before the last ride ensures that the stabilizer will be fully distributed throughout the fuel system before storage.

Should You Change Your Oil Before or After Winter Storage?

Another tip for storing your motorcycle successfully is maintaining the battery. You have two options for this. You can either remove the battery entirely and store it somewhere it won’t freeze, or you can get a charger and keep it on a trickle charge during storage.

Finally, make sure you thoroughly wash and dry your motorcycle before storage. Like changing your oil, a deep cleaning ensures that there are no abrasives or moisture to corrode your paint job or other parts during storage. After drying, make sure to cover your motorcycle while it’s in storage, even if it’s inside. A cover will help keep dust and debris off.

Count on Power Oil Center for all your DIY oil change needs. We offer motorcycle oil change kits as well as a wide range of cars and trucks. Our oil change kits contain everything you need for an easy and convenient DIY oil change.

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