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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve seen several opinions on whether to change the oil before putting the bike away for the winter, or changing it after taking it out of storage. So for those of you that do, I’d like to know; what do you do for storage on your bike. Do you change the oil before putting the bike away or after?
 

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77 bikes in 52 years of legal street riding and I've never done any of that stuff.

My oil is basically never dirty because I change it very often.

If you do change it and the filter right before you put the bike away for the winter, at least you won't have to worry about doing it when you are ready to ride.

Put your bike on the center stand if it has one and hook up a battery tender. Add an overdose of ethanol stabilizer to a full gas tank.

Never start the bike and let it run for short periods of time as lots of people erroneously do because if the engine doesn't stay at normal operating temperature for some time, condensation (water) will form and go into the oil.

Wax everything and cover with a few old sheets or a store bought bike cover.

This is just my way, that I've always used.

Sam:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
77 bikes in 52 years of legal street riding and I've never done any of that stuff.

My oil is basically never dirty because I change it very often.

If you do change it and the filter right before you put the bike away for the winter, at least you won't have to worry about doing it when you are ready to ride.

Put your bike on the center stand if it has one and hook up a battery tender. Add an overdose of ethanol stabilizer to a full gas tank.

Never start the bike and let it run for short periods of time as lots of people erroneously do because if the engine doesn't stay at normal operating temperature for some time, condensation (water) will form and go into the oil.

Wax everything and cover with a few old sheets or a store bought bike cover.

This is just my way, that I've always used.

Sam:)
Thanks for the reply. I'm actually taking the battery off as it it gets cold in my garage. I'll have it on a tender in the house though.
 

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What I've heard is that if you have conventional based oil in your engine you should change before the winter. If it's a synthetic you can keep it in all winter and fire it right up. That's just what I heard though
 

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The concern is that by leaving dirty oil in your bike over the Winter you leave moisture and carbons and acids and other products of combustion sitting in your engine for the time the bike is idle. If you change your oil before you winterize, then you've got good clean oil in there, and you're ready to break her out in the Spring as soon as you can.

That's all very true, but does it make much difference? For most bikes, and most riders, probably not. I've never rebuilt an engine that failed because it was winterized with dirty oil, but there is no doubt that dirty oil does effect engine life. So I'd say if you want to keep your scoot running smooth for a LONG time, then it's somewhat better to change your oil before you stable the bike for the Winter.

It depends on how long you plan on keeping the bike sitting, and how long the current oil has been in the engine. Don't throw away good oil that you just changed 500 miles ago because the weather turned cold.
 

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Nightfly
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And then we have those who insist on starting their bike on freezing cold days, let it run for 5 or 10 minutes before shutting if off, thinking it's a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The concern is that by leaving dirty oil in your bike over the Winter you leave moisture and carbons and acids and other products of combustion sitting in your engine for the time the bike is idle. If you change your oil before you winterize, then you've got good clean oil in there, and you're ready to break her out in the Spring as soon as you can.

That's all very true, but does it make much difference? For most bikes, and most riders, probably not. I've never rebuilt an engine that failed because it was winterized with dirty oil, but there is no doubt that dirty oil does effect engine life. So I'd say if you want to keep your scoot running smooth for a LONG time, then it's somewhat better to change your oil before you stable the bike for the Winter.

It depends on how long you plan on keeping the bike sitting, and how long the current oil has been in the engine. Don't throw away good oil that you just changed 500 miles ago because the weather turned cold.
The oil was changed in July( about 800 miles ago) when I had it in the shop for service. It will be sitting from November, until March or April depending on how soon the warm enough weather decides to show up in 2015.
 

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And then we have those who insist on starting their bike on freezing cold days, let it run for 5 or 10 minutes before shutting if off, thinking it's a good thing.

I've heard both sides of this argument. I'm not sure which one I agree with, but..........let's say your bike has been sitting for a few weeks, or a month even........and the weather turns unexpectedly warm for a couple of days (like in the 40's, after it's been in the 20's and 30's for a month..........MY tendency would be to take the bike out at mid-day, when the day is likely to be the warmest (say, after lunch) and let it sit in the sun for a while, warming up the motor to some degree, just by ambient temps, and then start and run it.

I don't personally like the idea of starting a cold engine (exposed to "Winter" temps in the Northeast) without SOME form of "warm" exposure first.

As for changing the oil..........I like the idea of changing it out (if it's "old") BEFORE Winter, simply because the metal deposits in the "old" oil sitting on the internal components for months, in very cold temps, would (I believe) not do any favors to the internal components, becoming adhered to the internal components.

-Soupy
 

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here in Missouri we usually have a few days a month I can still ride....I think the longest my bike has sat was 3 weeks....if I've changed the oil within 1500 miles (Yamaha has a 4000 mile change schedule) I'll leave it, and still ride, but if I'm close enough to 4000 before winter hits, I change it a little early....

as for starting it and just letting it run for a few min., I've always heard that's bad....unless you plan on riding the bike long enough to being the bike up to operating temps (15 min.) then don't start it...the engine won't get hot enough at idle to "dry" up any moisture that may have collected or will collect....letting it sit in the sun or not....
 

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My mechanic suggested to me that I change mine out before storage this year. Only because it will only be her second oil change, and there could still be some metal deposits from break in settled in the oil now. I still have 1200 miles before I need an oil change, doubtful I will get that in before I put her away. Weather is not looking nice for the next couple of weeks, so she may be seeing her last ride soon.

It's not starting a cold engine that hurts, it's taking off with a cold engine that could crack the case. My mother cracked the block in my dad's truck by just starting and taking off. Once under load, it can crack the block, especially older motors. I always let my car warm up a bit before taking off. But letting the bike sit in the sun for a bit will keep your butt warmer.....
 

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The oil was changed in July( about 800 miles ago) when I had it in the shop for service. It will be sitting from November, until March or April depending on how soon the warm enough weather decides to show up in 2015.
If it was my bike I wouldn't worry about changing the oil now. Just do your other winterizing tasks and stay warm.
 

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as for starting it and just letting it run for a few min., I've always heard that's bad....unless you plan on riding the bike long enough to being the bike up to operating temps (15 min.) then don't start it...the engine won't get hot enough at idle to "dry" up any moisture that may have collected or will collect....
^^^There it is.

But like TR said, there's always those who will start it and let it idle for a few just a few minutes, thinking they're doing something good.

It's a good thing most motorcycle engines are built as good as they are, since we seem to keep trying our best to screw them up. :biggrin:
 

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We rode a LOT this year (for us) and the oils were certainly looking very black! Normally I change oils in the spring, but this year because we piled on quite a few miles, we decided to change it before storage season. Now when spring shows up we'll be ready to go right away! :cool:

I am strongly against periodically starting the bike throughout the winter storage time as it doesn't "help" the bike at all. Most people would agree that "prolonged idling" isn't good for an engine, right? Well if you start the bike for 5-10 minutes every week or so, that all adds up to several hours of prolonged idling by the time spring shows up. You're not doing your bike a favor doing that. If however you are lucky enough to live in a climate where you can take the bike for a short ride, then THAT is a fine idea. Around here though they use salt to melt ice on the roads, and even on a "warm" day mid-winter I am reluctant to go for a quick ride because all that salt is coating the roads, and will leave a salt dust deposit over the whole bike :(

IMO winter idling as as bad an idea as is people whom put premium gas into a vehicle that's rated for regular gas. THEY think they're doing their bike/vehicle a favor too by putting in "better gas" :wink:
 

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Well I used to let my bike ideal for about 15 minutes. After reading this thread I will not be doing that again.

However, I will ride when a good weather days come, even with the salt residue.
 

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Modern oils contain bases, which are designed to neutralize acids from combustion. Your oil, even at its mileage limit, is not caustically acidic -- there is sufficient base added to prevent damage to your engine.

With regards to metal bits in your oil, that is what the filter is for. Detergent oils are designed to suspend such particles, so that they are floating within the oil as it passes through the filter -- which captures the metal bits, preventing them from damaging your engine. That is why you are advised to change out the oil after it is warm, not cold.

Idling the bike during the cold storage period lowers the gas level, within the tank, creating air space. Air space leads to condensation of water within the tank (leads to rust in the upper part of the tank). The water settles to the bottom of the tank, and it usually gets sucked into the carbs, and the engine, first, when you start it up.

Best practice is to top off the tank with stabilized gasoline, and let it sit, without starting, until the Spring riding season begins. Keep the battery above freezing temperatures, on a "smart" trickle charger, to avoid damaging the plates within the battery (sulfation, discharging/over-charging, etc.).

The only real advantage to changing the oil prior to storage, is that it is fresh, and ready to go, come Spring. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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I would definitely agree with changing it before. You do not want dirty oil to sit for an extended period of time because the chemicals in engine oil can become acidic and eventually hurt your engine.
 

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And since we're on the topic, you may also want to treat your gas. Gas tanks can become damaged during winter storage as they have a tendency to rust when not in use. Fill your tank all of the way and then add some over the counter fuel stabilizer. You should be good to go come spring.
 
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