There is nothing more frustrating than to drag out your bike in the spring just to find that it won't start! I use the following list of preventative steps during the fall and normally don't have problems in the spring.
1) Take out the battery and store in a cool dry place, normally a basement. CAUTION: don't set your battery on a cement floor because it can discharge through the case and go dead. I have asked several of my physics schooled friends on how this could happen, but no explaination yet. Every two-three weeks, trickle charge the battery using a 0.5 amp charger. The proper amperage for motorcycle batteries is 1/2 amp and no greater! The plates in these batteries are very thin compared to car batteries and are easily damaged by high amperage charging. Fill the battery with distilled water to the proper mark if it appears to be low.
2) Fill the gas tank up to the very top. This eliminates the air chamber above the fuel that is a place for condensation and water buildup. You can add a fuel storage additive to the fuel if you wish but I have found that this is not required.
3) Turn the fuel petcock to "off" and drain the carbs. The screw located on the bottom of the carb "float bowls" will allow easy drainage. IF YOU DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE, DRAIN THE CARBS.
4) Extract each spark plug and squirt in a shot of "fogging" oil down into the cylinder. Kick over the engine, in the off ignition position, to coat the walls of the cylinder with oil. Replace the plugs.
5) Change the oil. Acidic buildup in the oil after use can damage internal parts. And then, you don't have to change in the spring!
6) Squirt a shot of fogging oil into each exhaust and rub down any chrome with an oil dampened rag.
7) Place the bike on its center stand and deflate the tires slightly. Deflating the tires is not really required but it does prolong the use of the tires slightly.
These steps are good for one winter or prolonged storage. The savings in aggravation is worth it.
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