Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter? Here are 6 Important Things You Should Know To Prevent Damage

Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts

Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter?  The Winter season has for long proven to be quite detrimental to the health and lifestyle of many people, especially with the harsh climatic conditions associated with it. Of course, having a two-wheel ride like a motorcycle is adventurous, but maybe too adventurous during the cold and long winter nights. Motorcycles like all mechanical things need to be used regularly to maintain proper functions; hence when left unattended for a long result in degradation of materials and mechanical damage. The winter season puts pressure on many bike owners as they strive to look for ways of safely storing their machines.

A well-kept motorcycle will minimize risks of wear and tear after winter and ultimately eliminate the overall time taken to clean and prepare them for use when spring arrives. While we encourage people always to have their bikes safely stored, we emphasize maintaining a certain level of maintenance to ensure they have a short time to resume their usage during the spring.

Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter

Over the years a vast number have asked us the question can you leave gas in the motorcycle over winter?  So,. can you leave gas in the motorcycle over winter? Simple answer, No. We recommend storing gas in the motorcycle only when the intended period is below 3 months. Most modern gasoline blends contain ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and this can cause serious problems when left in a fuel tank for long periods of time. Ethanol may cause the corrosion of soft metals in some engines, especially small and off-road engines. So, you may ask is ethanol-free gasoline a better option for long-term winter storage?

Traditional gasoline blends like E10 have 10% ethanol in them.  Fuels without alcohol added like, non-ethanol gas lasts much longer.  When correctly stored ethanol-free gas can safely last up to six months. Alcohol-free gas is far less likely to have the problems of oxidation or evaporation that ethanol blends experience. E10 gas has approximately a three-month maximum storage life.

Moisture has been established as being fond of causing disastrous implications on moving parts, especially stored ones. During the winter season, it’s highly recommended to empty the tank to avoid corrosion and effects of wear and tear during the hibernation season. This will drastically reduce the overall maintenance costs of your motorcycle.

In addition to leaving minimal or no gas in your motorcycle during winter, other crucial elements must be taken care of as listed below.

Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter? 6 Easy Steps For You

1. Battery

Battery - Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter

Batteries store the chemicals needed for electricity production for your motorcycle. Lead batteries should never be left unused for long, hence the need to disconnect them from the motorcycle during winter. Nonetheless, the fluctuating temperature levels associated with the winter periods accelerate the discharge of lead contents in the batteries.

We recommend charging your battery during the off-season period to ensure it remains active. Furthermore, leaving your battery in the bike may result in extreme freezing, which may lead to cracking hence cases of acid spillages. Although keeping your battery charged proves to be quite helpful, if your battery shows signs of being dead during the spring, make a point of purchasing a new one.

An even better solution is to leave the battery on a trickle charger all winter long. A trickle charger (like a Battery Tender® brand charger) by proving on constant small charge maintains the proper correct charge of the vehicle’s battery when it’s not in use. This is an extremely valuable piece of equipment for people living in regions with extremely cold winters. They are also very useful for those who leave their motorcycle unattended for 4 weeks d longer.

2. Gasoline

In normal circumstances, gasoline evaporates when left unattended for long periods, leaving stale gas and another residue. This can cause many different problems for your fuel system especially the carburetor or fuel injection system. During winter, the gas tank is a barrier against harsh climatic conditions. Therefore, the fluctuating temperature levels mean the inside gas tank is left with condensed air with moisture that presents fertile ground for the production of rust on the gas tank walls. You don’t want to face extreme cleaning procedures come spring, do you?

We recommend filling up your gas tank to the top to expel any air present and hinder the exposure of your gasoline tank’s walls to agents of rust. Adding a fuel or gas stabilizer goes a long way in eliminating the chances of the fuel stratifying. You can decide to add a stabilizer just before filling up the gas tank and ultimately avoid havoc after the winter.

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3. Carburetors & Fuel Injectors

Carburetors and Fuel Injectors have many small jets, orifices, and channels that offer fertile ground for gasoline compounds and residues to clog up. When gasoline evaporates, the remnant varnishes build up in areas of the carburetor, making it extremely hard to clean during the spring season. Also, rubber, plastic, and even soft metal components can be damaged by stale gas, moisture On a carbureted engine, and the other chemical residues that remain.

Therefore, to avoid such disastrous circumstances, we recommend emptying the float bowls just before the winter season to overcome the potential machine-threatening consequences. Drain the float bowls using a hose pipe or the petcock method. Whichever method you use, the bottom line is to ensure the carburetor is free from gasoline compounds before the hibernation period.

4. Tires


Tire and motorcycle companies advise against leaving your tires supporting the weight exerted by the motorcycle in long-term storage. When left unattended for a long time, the pressure from the motorcycle results in flat tires and flat spots on the tires. Furthermore, the fluctuating temperatures for up to 6 months of the winter season may lead to deformed tires. You want your motorcycle tires to come out of the harsh weather at their optimal levels for continued use and maybe for resale purposes; hence taking good care of your tires is crucial.

We recommend using wheel stands before parking your machine and reducing the quantity of your tire pressure to relieve any extreme pressure on them. Alternatively, for people without wheel stands, you can fill up the tire to the maximum PSI and frequently keep moving the machine throughout the winter season. The constant rotation of the tires ensures balanced tire pressure from the machine, preventing the possibility of flat spots on your tires.

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5. Lubricants

All moving parts require lubricants to minimize the effects of normal wear and tear during operation.  Application of the proper lubricants should be made frequently, not only before the onset of the winter season. Before winter arrives be sure to lubricate all moving parts, including the chain, after a thorough cleaning. You should also opt for a waxing procedure on the painted areas to maintain the sharp appearance of your bike. After all, you want a bike that will start right up and be ready to go when spring arrives.

6. Location

location - Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter

Most riders are not well educated about preparations for the winter season and forget the most crucial element—the location where the motorcycle is kept. Remember, the winter season has characteristics of extreme temperature variations which tend to have detrimental effects not only on fuel and fluids but on the plastic and rubber components as well. Consider keeping your motorcycle indoors in warmer conditions or at least in a garage that does not go below freezing (0 C / 32 F) in the winter. Also, covering the machine with a quality motorcycle cover will go a long way in preventing external implications on the bike. However, take care to ensure the cover has adequate ventilation.

“An Empty fuel tanks can rust while your motorcycle sits in storage over the wintertime. You should fill the gas tank about 80-90% full as well as adding a quality fuel stabilizer to reduce the possibility of corrosion. Once you have added the gas stabilizer, run the engine to let the gas flow through the fuel system.”

In situations where keeping the machine in an enclosed area is not possible, you need to ensure that snow and water are kept off the bike. The fluctuating temperatures allow condensation of the moisture, which, when mixed with oxygen and metal, results in rusting and corrosions. So, if you decide to store your motorcycle outside, you can make good use of a block of wood to prevent the machine from falling if the ground becomes wet or settles. Make sure the ground can support the machine’s weight.

Winter preparation procedures are similar to the general maintenance listed in the motorcycle’s owner’s manual. From brake and fluid replacement to engine and carburetor maintenance, all the measures ensure your motorcycle is properly prepared for storage throughout the long winter.

As stated previously leaving gas in your motorcycle over the winter comes to the minds of many as a potential source of problems the following season.  With most motorcycles having components made of soft metals, rubber, and plastics the winter season offers fertile ground for the moisture and oxygen to react, and then here comes rust and corrosion. So, the biggest focus of your winter preparation should be on how to handle the issue of fuel storage and what additives or gas stabilizers you can use.  So with all the information above you have the answer to the question: Can You Leave Gas In The Motorcycle Over Winter? 

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