How to Safely Store Your Motorcycle, Boat and RV for Winter

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

The weather is getting colder, leaves are changing...it's time to make the switch from sailing down the river and cruising on your motorcycle to carving pumpkins and cozy movie nights. It's really important to ensure your summer recreational vehicles are protected during the off-season, so we put together winterization checklists for safely storing your motorcycle, boat and RV.


In a hurry? Jump to the specific checklist you need:

Motorcycles

Boats

RVs



Motorcycles

Motorcycle winter storage isn’t something to take lightly. If you’ve invested in a bike, you want to make sure to perform all the proper maintenance when you’re unable to ride it regularly.

  • Clean all exterior surfaces and make sure all moving parts (chain, cables, and controls) are well lubricated to remove dirt and prevent unwanted moisture buildup.

  • Fill the fuel tank almost to the top and add a fuel stabilizer or, if you’ll be storing your bike for more than six months, drain the tank completely and line it with a fogging oil to prevent rust.

  • Change the oil (using an oil designed for winter use) and replace the filter to prevent old oil from corroding your engine components. Tip: Warm the engine to make the oil thinner and drain more readily, then rotate the engine a few times to circulate the fresh oil after changing is complete.

  • If your bike is liquid-cooled, check the coolant level on the expansion tank and top off as needed.

  • Connect your battery to a motorcycle-specific smart charger via an access plug and cable or by removing the battery entirely. If this isn’t an option, turn your bike on at least once a month to charge the battery.

  • Stuff the air intake and exhaust pipes using exhaust plugs, oily rags or something similar, to prevent small animals and other pests from making their nests inside.

  • For long winters, store your motorcycle on a centrestand or rotate the tires every few weeks if you don't have one. The key is to take the weight off the tires to prevent uneven tire wear and flat spots.

  • Lastly, wipe down your bike, give it a good coat of wax to act as a moisture barrier and prevent rusting, then cover with a fitted cloth motorcycle cover. Don’t forget to coat the exposed metal with WD-40 or a similar product as well, which will act the same as the wax.

  • If possible, store your motorcycle in an indoor, heated location because temperature variations and extreme cold can cause damage. If you must store it outside, make sure snow and water cannot get underneath the cover and keep it out of direct sunlight to minimize temperature fluctuation.


Boats

Getting your boat ready for winter requires quite a few steps, but they’re all important to keep your boat in the best condition possible.

  • Check your owner’s manual for specific winterizing instructions because boats and engines may differ.

  • Inspect your boat for necessary repairs and clean it inside and out; removing perishables and valuables from the inside, as well as plant life and barnacles from the outside.

  • Fill the fuel tank almost to the top and add a fuel stabilizer, then run the engine for about 10 minutes to circulate.

  • Change the oil and replace the filters to prevent old oil from corroding your engine components.

  • Seal the fuel valves.

  • Flush the engine with fresh water, drain, then wash with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Fog the engine cylinders with an aerosol fogging solution.

  • Make sure the engine’s grease fittings are well lubricated to remove dirt and prevent unwanted moisture buildup.

  • Drain any remaining coolant from your cooling system and replace with a non-toxic antifreeze.

  • If your boat has an interior cabin, consider purchasing a dehumidifier to pull excess moisture from the air, which can help prevent mildew.

  • Fully charge your boat’s battery, remove, and store in a safe, dry location.

  • Lock, cover and store your boat.


Questions? Want to chat about the insurance policy for your motorcycle, boat, or RV? Give us a call today at (860) 785-4854.

RVs

These steps will help you get your RV as ready as possible for winter storage, so you can get back out there faster when spring comes back around.

  • Drain and flush your black and gray water tanks, then clean the black water tank with a black tank cleaner or cleaning wand to prevent bacteria growth and water freezing in the tanks.

  • Drain and flush your water heater (after it’s been turned off and cooled down). Once drained, turn the water pressure on ad flush out any sediment for 2-3 minutes. Check the anode rod and remove if it needs replacing, to be installed in the spring.

  • Bypass the water heater BEFORE adding anti-freeze to your RV so that it doesn’t make its way into the heater. Many RVs have a bypass installed behind the water heater access panel.

  • Turn your water pressure off, turn on your faucets, remove the freshwater tank plug and drain the tank completely.

  • Add anti-freeze to your water system until you see it running from each faucet and each toilet, then turn off the faucets, close the valves and retighten any plugs.

  • Add anti-freeze down the drain of each sink, shower, and toilet to prevent your pipes from freezing. Ensure your water heater is turned off and all faucets are closed.

  • Check your RV owner’s manual for other winterization tips and tricks.