Winter can be a tough time for many scooter riders. With cold weather and icy conditions, riding your scooter just isn’t practical for many owners. And for college students, it’s unlikely you’ll be driving your scooter back to your parents’ house, so it’s important to know how to take care of it until you fire it up in the spring. While much of winter scooter maintenance is pretty straightforward, there are a few small steps that you’ll want to take to keep your scooter in top condition.
Store Your Scooter
Ideally, you should park your scooter somewhere warm, dry and safe, like a garage. Many college students don’t have much in the way of a garage or a carport, but there are other options available. Storage rentals, basements or even low-walled space can help provide shelter from wind and cold. But warmth and dryness are not sufficient protection. Local scooter dealers in college towns like Road Rat Motors will often offer winter break storage to keep them safe while you’re home for the holidays.
Clean and Cover
If you can’t find permanent storage, there are some easy steps to take to make sure your scooter makes it through winter hibernation safely. First, give it a solid cleaning to keep grime from becoming permanent, and then find a scooter cover. If you have to store your scooter outside, a cover is an essential component.
Top Off the Tank
If you have a metal gas tank, it’s very important to completely fill up your gas tank before you store your scooter for the winter. Dropping temperatures can create condensation inside your tank, which can lead to rust and oxidation – not something you want in your gas tank. Filling your tank up to the brim will help you avoid any problems in the spring. However, if you plan on leaving your scooter dormant for more than 6 months, make sure you drain your tank and replace it with new gas to avoid damaging your engine.
Add Fuel Stabilizer
This is an important step, especially in colder climates where the scooter will be in storage for a few months. Even though your tank is full, it can still oxidize and degrade over time, damaging your fuel lines and tank. A fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL will prevent the organic compounds in fuel from degrading during a long storage.
Change the Oil
You can probably get away with changing your oil in the spring, but an oil change is an easy way to make sure you can start your scooter up right away come spring time. Contaminants and acids in your oil can damage the engine, especially when they’re left sitting for months. Simply warm up your engine and drain the oil into a pan, change your oil filter and replace the oil. Make sure to run your engine for about a minute to circulate oil fully.
Kick the Tires
Preferably, you’ll want to raise both tires off the ground completely if you leave your scoot covered outdoors. The cold ground will naturally deflate your tires, so it’s important to take some steps to avoid flat, damaged tires when you fire it…