How To Winterize Your Dirt Bike

It’s that time again. Unfortunately for us that have cold and snowy winters, we have to put our dirt bikes away. Once winter is over, though, you want your bike to run like it does before you store it. So, there are some things you should do to your dirt scooter prior to stuffing it to the back of the garage or storage unit. Winterizing your dirt bike will ensure that it stays safe and does not corrode or break during or after the months you don’t ride it.

Clean '01 YZ250F

The first thing you should do is clean your bike. Putting away a dirty bike is just asking for problems when spring arrives. A pressure washer is recommended to spray the bike, but if you don’t have one that’s fine. Spray the bike down and scrub everything the best you can. Dish soap works if you on grease and oil. I like to use old rags, toothbrushes, and a wire brush to get most of the dirt and gunk off of my bike. You might have to get creative if you want it squeaky clean! Also, make sure everything is dried off completely before storing. Metal parts that are wet can rust and corrode over the time that it’s in storage.

If there are any broken or worn out parts, save yourself a huge headache by replacing them now. Trust me, you do NOT want to wait until spring to do this when all of your buddies are already out riding.

Dirt Bike Maintenance/R&R

Once you wash the bike and fix any broken parts you can either drain the gas tank, but the better way to go is to put a fuel stabilizer in the tank with gas in it. That way the gas won’t go bad. Once you put the stabilizer in the tank, turn the gas on and start the bike so that it will get down in the carburetor. Then shut the gas off and run the bike until it dies so the carb is dry. This helps prevent the carburetor from getting dirty and running poorly in the spring.

After you run and warm the engine up change the oil and filter with some fresh stuff. Leaving old and dirty oil in the bike can cause internal engine parts to rust because of the foreign materials and residue in it. Not something you want to happen, and changing it now means it will be ready when spring comes along.

If you really want to keep your engine safe, take off the spark plug and put about a cap-full of motor oil down the cylinder. Slowly turn the engine over so the oil coats the cylinder walls and protects them from corroding. Then put a fresh plug back in the bike.

Antifreeze/coolant can freeze and crack a big block if it’s quality is low. This is why you should check your coolant before you put it away for the year. If the same coolant has been in the bike for more than a couple years it should be drained and replaced with fresh stuff. You can check the coolant quality with a Hydrometer if you want to be sure.

Bikes Parked In Garage

Next is to clean and lube any cables and pivots, such as clutch/throttle cables, bearings, parts that pivot, etc.

Remember to clean or replace your air filter. That will help keep dirt out of the carburetor. You can also coat your bike with armor-all or wd40 to keep it clean and shiny.

Last but not least, put your bike on a stand that keeps both wheels off the ground, if possible. This will relieve the bike and suspension, making it last longer. Putting a tarp or blanket over the bike keeps it safe from the elements, such as dust/dirt and water.

Doing all or at least most of these steps will help ensure that your dirt bike is ready for next spring when you’re itching to get out and ride, instead of having to fix/replace broken parts that could’ve easily been prevented.

Keep on ridin’, and take care of that bike!

-Tom Stark