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Motorcycle Fuel System Winter Preparation

If you’re planning to keep your motorcycle in storage during the winter, you’ll need to prepare your fuel system accordingly. Letting low-quality fuel sit in your gas tank for several months can lead to various issues, such as corrosion, fluid separation, and oxidation.

Using a fuel stabilizer is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prepare your motorcycle for long-term storage. Read on to learn more about motorcycle fuel system winter preparation and why you need a fuel stabilizer. 

What Happens to Gas When It Sits? 

If you’ve never stored your bike over the winter before, you may not realize that simply sitting in one place can lead to a range of issues within your motorcycle. However, many of the fluids in your bike’s internal systems can separate and cause corrosion over time. Your bike’s fuel or gasoline is one of these fluids that can cause the most significant damage during storage. 

When ethanol gasoline sits for a long time, it will begin to evaporate while absorbing water within the tank. This excess moisture can make the fuel less-than-ideal for burning, which can lead to issues when you go to start your motorcycle in the spring. 

However, moisture build-up in your fuel tank can also cause corrosion within the tank and your engine. Corrosion can create many issues, such as rust and clogged-up injectors or carburetors, that can prevent your motorcycle from running well and lead to more problems down the line. 

As a result, you need to prevent fuel from sitting in your gas tank all winter and causing these effects. One of the best ways to prevent moisture build-up and oxidation in the tank is through a fuel stabilizer.  

What Is a Fuel Stabilizer? 

A fuel stabilizer is a chemical product you can add to your fuel tank to prevent the gasoline from absorbing water and evaporating during storage. Adding this chemical is an essential step in motorcycle fuel system winter preparation. 

Fuel stabilizers slow the oxidation process by bonding with the gasoline in your fuel tank and breaking down water into dispersed droplets. As a result, this product prevents evaporation and keeps your fuel fresh and flammable for up to two years. 

Choosing the Right Fuel Stabilizer

You can find numerous fuel stabilizer products on the market, but not all offer the same reliability and quality for your fuel tank. As a result, you should perform a little research to determine the right product for your needs. 

We recommend looking for a product from a well-known brand. While you may be able to save money by choosing an off-brand, these products probably will not keep your fuel fresh as long, which could defeat the purpose. 

Additionally, most fuel stabilizers state how long they will protect your motorcycle fuel on their packaging. We recommend choosing a product that lasts over a year and preferably as long as two years. These long-lasting fuel stabilizers can ensure that your fuel stays fresh past the winter.

How to Add Fuel Stabilizer to Your Gas Tank

Once you’ve purchased a high-quality fuel stabilizer to add to your gas tank, you’ll want to run your gas until it is relatively low. Then, you can add the fuel stabilizer and fill the rest of the tank with fresh gas. 

Here are the steps you can follow to add fuel stabilizer to your gas tank:

  1. Refer to the instructions on the fuel stabilizer bottle to determine how much of the liquid to add. Depending on your fuel tank size, you may only need to add one ounce of stabilizer to protect your entire tank. 
  2. Ride to the gas station. 
  3. Pour the fuel stabilizer into your gas tank. 
  4. Fill the rest of your tank with high-quality gasoline, leaving a little room for expansion. 
  5. Run your engine for at least a few minutes to distribute the stabilizer throughout the fuel system. 

How Long Can Gas Sit Without a Stabilizer? 

If you’re only planning to store your motorcycle for a few weeks at a time and take it out on the occasional warm days throughout the winter, you may wonder whether fuel stabilizer is necessary. However, the amount of time your gas can last without stabilizer depends on the gas you use. 

High-quality fuel can last several months before it begins to separate and oxidize. Meanwhile, low-quality fuels can become stale within a few months. 

We recommend purchasing fuel from a reputable gas station before you put your bike into storage. Stations like Shell, Mobil, Sinclair, and Chevron tend to have better gas than other stations. 

Additionally, keep in mind that purchasing the more expensive gas at a low-quality gas station probably won’t do much good for your gas tank during storage. These more expensive gas options simply have a higher octane rating, which likely won’t affect your motorcycle. 

What If I Already Stored My Bike Without a Fuel Stabilizer? 

If you’re reading this article halfway through the winter and realize you didn’t add a fuel stabilizer to your gas tank before putting your motorcycle in storage, don’t panic. You have a few options to prevent stale gas from running through your fuel system. 

If your bike has only been in storage for a few weeks and you fueled up with high-quality gasoline before storing your bike, you can still add the fuel stabilizer at this stage. Be sure to let your bike run for a few minutes after you add the stabilizer to ensure that it flows through the system. 

If your motorcycle has been in storage for a few months, your best bet is to drain the fuel in the tank and add fresh gas along with the fuel stabilizer. Finally, if your bike has been sitting with stale fuel for several months, you’ll probably need to drain the fuel and clean the entire fuel system. 

Now that you know about motorcycle fuel system winter preparation, you can feel confident that your bike will be well-equipped to weather the winter in your garage. Next up on our winterizing journey, let’s talk Fuel Injectors and Carbs. 

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