How to Get Your Motorcycle out of Storage and Back on the Road

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Coming out of Storage

covered motorcycle
Your bike may be clean, but it's not necessarily ready. (Photo from Amazon)

Even if you applied our motorcycle storage tips before putting your bike away for the winter, you'll want to go through this checklist before hitting the road this riding season.

Before we start, is it clean?

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Is the Fuel Okay?

motorcycle fuel cap
Peer in to inspec the state of your fuel. (Ildar Sagdejev/Wikimedia Commons/GFDL)

If you used Sta-Bil or a comparable fuel stabilizer as outlined in our storage tips, your fuel should be in good shape as long as it's been a year or less. Regardless, double check by opening the filler cap and looking inside for gunk or stratification.

If the fuel is consistent and clean, you can go to the next step. If not, you're better off draining the tank, fuel lines, and carburetor (if applicable) before running the engine. If you didn't spray fogging oil or lubricate the top of the cylinder before storage, you may want to remove the spark plugs and pour two tablespoons of oil into the spark plug ports; this will lubricate the top portion of the cylinder walls before you start up the bike.

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Check the Engine Oil's Quality and Quantity

motorcycle oil level gauge dipstick
uxcell Motorcycle Engine Oil Level Gauge Dipstick. (Photo from Amazon)

Whether or not you changed your engine oil before storage, you'll still want to check the oil level before riding. If you didn't do an oil change before storage, now is a good time to consider that oil and filter change, especially since oil degrades when it sits.

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Charged Up?

motorcycle battery
Inspect batteries for corrosion, and make sure they're charged up. (Photo from Amazon)

Motorcycle batteries tend to lose life quickly, especially in cold weather. If you kept your battery trickle charged or hooked up to a tender, it's probably in good shape. Nonetheless, check the leads for corrosion, and make sure they're attached snugly.

If applicable, make sure your battery is topped off with distilled water, and if it's not completely charged, don't ride until you're confident it will hold a charge and not leave you stranded.

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Check for Leaks

motorcycle oil cooler
(Pwiszowaty/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Check your clutch, brake, and coolant levels (if applicable). Remember that if brake fluid needs topping off, you'll need to use a new, sealed supply that is the same brand as the fluid already in the system.

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Check the Tires

motorcycle tire
Make sure rubber hasn't degraded during storage. (Dennis van Zuijlekom/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you kept weight off your motorcycle's wheels and suspension as outlined in our storage tips, bravo! Chances are your tires and suspension are in good shape, but you should still thoroughly inspect them before riding. If your motorcycle rested on a kickstand, check to make sure there are no unusual stress marks, cracks, or flat spots on the tires.

Take steps to maintain your tires in order to make sure the wear, inflation levels, and general health are ready for the road. You should also ensure that your chain is ready for use again.

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Are You Ready to Ride?

motorcycle speedometer
(Alex Borland/

Use the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's T-CLOCS checklist this and every time you ride. The list covers Tires, Controls, Lights, Oils & Fluids, Chassis, and Stands; for a more detailed checklist, go to the MSF's website.

Don't just take off after a thorough inspection; let the bike idle for a few minutes to get its fluids circulating.

Take those moments to get reacquainted with the bike's ergonomics. Before you go riding off into the sunset, don't forget that the most important component of a motorcycle is you, the operator. If you suspect you're rusty (and there's a good possibility you are), practice riding in an abandoned parking lot, taking it easy until you're up to speed.

When all is said and done, a little preparation will make re-entry into riding a lot more fun; look out for yourself and your bike, and enjoy the ride!