A lot of us wish we could play with our grown up toys year-round. But, weather, work commitments and distance often mean that, when the season ends, it's time to put our ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles and other toys away. Our storage tips can ensure that your grown-up toys are in great shape and ready for action when you are ready for them.
A lot of people put their vehicles away with a plan to put in fresh oil and a new filter in the spring. But, this approach means that old oil and accumulated particulate sit in your system all through the off season.
Instead, keep everything in great shape by doing your oil change right before you put your toys away in storage. Run the motor for a couple of minutes to circulate fresh lubricant through the system. As a bonus, when it's time to ride again, all you have to do is check your fluids and go!
Fuel can go bad while your ATV, motorcycle or snowmobile is in storage for the season. This is especially likely if you are unable to get non-ethanol gas. Whether it's better to add stabilizer or to drain the fuel altogether will depend on your climate and whether you are putting your recreational toy away for a month or two, a full season, or even longer.
If you wish to keep fuel in the vehicle, a stabilizer can keep fuel in good shape all season long. Even better, drain the tank. This way, you start with fresh fuel when you are ready to get out and play.
If you are expecting cold temperatures, fresh antifreeze can protect hoses and other parts of your cooling system from freezing. Adding fresh antifreeze is especially important if you usually use coolant instead. Consult the vehicle's manual to find out what you should be using to keep it safe from freezes.
If you aren't expecting to start up your engine for several months, removing the battery now can ensure that everything works better when you do. A connected battery can discharge over time. You can also wind up with corrosion issues, which can mean time-consuming repairs next season. Taking out the battery also means that there's less chance of theft while your gear is in storage for the year.
You should also invest in a simple battery tender to keep the battery charged but not overcharged while in storage. Adding this to your storage preparation means that you are more likely to be able to get things ready to go quick when the season returns.
Have a blown tail light, an overdue brake job or any other detail that you've been putting off? Take a day to take care of any repairs and maintenance work. Over the months, it is easy to forget what work you've done and what work is still needed. Doing it all now means that you don't have to worry about it later.
These tasks may take a bit of time and investment now. But, they will keep your stuff in better condition, which can save you money and time in the long term. And, having it all taken care of now means that, when the peak season returns again, all you have to do is a few tiny tasks and then you are ready to head out and play.