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Winterize your Harley - Save a headache

If off-season motorcycle storage is inevitable in your neighborhood, the service gurus at Harley-Davidson remind you to do the job right. Or simply park your baby in the corner, and leave it untouched behind the snowblower until you’re ready for your first ride next spring. And when everyone else is cruising, you will hate yourself, because:

1. You Didn’t Put Your Battery on a Smart Charger. Clean and inspect the battery and use a battery charger like the Harley-Davidson 750mA SuperSmart Battery Tender (P/N 66000038, $39.95) that incorporates a microprocessor to maintain the battery at full charge capacity during storage. Do not use steady-rate battery chargers because they may over- or under-charge a Harley-Davidson AGM battery.

SERVICE TIP: Do not attempt to keep a motorcycle battery charged by starting and running the bike for a few minutes while it is in storage. These short run cycles leave the battery in a discharged condition, and susceptible to sulfation, a common cause of battery failure, and leave moisture and combustion acids in the engine that may have corrosive effects.

2. You Didn’t Change the Engine Oil. Dirty oil is like dirty underwear – it needs to be changed. Fuel and acids in dirty oil may accelerate engine corrosion during long-term storage. A fresh fill of Screamin’ Eagle SYN3 Full Synthetic Lubricant or H-D 360 Motorcycle Oil will help protect the engine, even when it isn’t running. If you choose to change your oil yourself, the Harley-Davidson Oil Change Accessory Kit (P/N 14900058, $59.95) includes a 10-quart Low Profile Oil Drain Pan, an Oil Absorbent Work Station Mat, an End Cap Oil Filter Wrench, and a Transmission/Crankcase Filler Funnel with an anti-burp design for smooth oil flow.

3. You Didn’t Stabilize the Fuel. Ethanol hates your Harley. So fill the tank with fresh gas and add a product like Ethanol Guard Fuel Stabilizer (P/N 91600001, $5.95) to protect the fuel tank, fuel lines, carburetor and injectors from long-term exposure to the adverse affects of ethanol-blended fuel. If the motorcycle has a carburetor, evacuate the fuel line and carburetor by letting the engine idle with fuel valve turned off until the engine quits. This prevents varnish deposits from accumulating inside the carburetor.

SERVICE TIP: If a motorcycle is stored with the fuel tank less than full, moisture may collect in the tank and expose the bare metal interior to potential corrosion – a rusty fuel tank can cause lots of headaches down the road.

4. You Didn’t Wash Your Harley-Davidson. Dead bugs hate your Harley, too. Give the motorcycle a good scrub to remove road grime, dirt and insect remains that can attract moisture and cause corrosion during storage. The Harley Bike Wash Kit (P/N 93600056, $49.95) and Detailing Kit (P/N 93600057, $49.95) each include products specifically formulated for use on a variety of motorcycle surfaces, including plastic, chrome and paint. Pay special attention to unfinished aluminum (like wheels and the fins of the engine) and chrome (especially mufflers) to minimize the onset of corrosion. Allow your motorcycle to dry completely before covering it for storage.

SERVICE TIP: To maintain the original silky matte finish of Harley-Davidson Denim paint, always clean with Harley Davidson Denim Paint Cleaner (P/N 93600064, $8.95). This spray lifts away oils, fingerprints, dust, and cleans without buffing.

5. You Covered Your Harley with a Blue Tarp. Nice try. You know a motorcycle covered during storage will be protected from scratches, dust and dirt. But use a quality motorcycle cover like the Harley-Davidson Premium Indoor Motorcycle Cover (P/N 93100020, $159.95). Its breathable polyester fabric promotes air circulation to reduce moisture build-up and minimize corrosion during long term storage. Your blue tarp will trap moisture that promotes corrosion, and could also scratch the finish.

SERVICE TIP: Never store a motorcycle near agricultural fertilizers, swimming pool chemicals, salt for icy roads or water softeners, or any other chemicals that may emit caustic gases that greatly accelerate corrosion.

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