All of the coolest states experience what we like to call “Winter”. It shows up every year, with that terrible Paul McCartney song (you know the one), and brings with it salt, ice and oppression.
Most of us give our scooter a little kiss on the headset and say “See you in a few months, sweetheart.” While kissing your scooter is always beneficial, there are a few things you can do that will help avoid all of the swearing when you realize your scooter won’t start in the spring.
Step 1: Battery Maintenance:
This is probably the most overlooked step in winterizing your scooter. Batteries don’t like extreme temperatures, and they don’t like sitting unused. If you know your scooter is going to sit, the battery should be kept in a warm place, ideally on a trickle charger. A good trickle charger does all of the work for you by topping off the charge whenever it senses the battery level has dipped. We highly recommend the Battery Tender line- so much so, they’re the only brand we carry.
If your scooter is going to sit outside, bring the battery in with you. A battery sitting indoors has a better chance of survival than one left outside. You should not, however, leave the battery on a charger indoors. Charging lead acid batteries need to be in a well-ventilated area. A drafty garage is ideal.
Step 2: Scooter Storage:
We don’t all have nice, heated garages. Some of us don’t even have mean, heated garages. Where you store your scooter is largely dependent on where you happen to live. For those of you with garages, you should throw out that broken patio umbrella, hang up your rakes and make the space for your scooter to hunker down.
For those garage-less warriors, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re parking your scooter- the elements it will be exposed to and safety.
An inexpensive scooter cover will make a significant difference in how well your scooter fares, just by keeping the snow and salt off the scooter. Scooter covers are also designed to allow some airflow beneath, which allows any moisture that does make it in to evaporate.
Anything else you can do to keep the elements at bay is helpful, like parking under an awning.
If you park it on the street, you still need to clear off the snow- a buried scooter just looks like a big pile of snow to plow truck drivers.
Step 3: Tire Care:
Yes, even your tires could use a little TLC during these trying times. All you need to do is make sure they’re properly inflated and are turned every couple of weeks. This helps prevent flat spots from forming. Flat spots can lead to a bumpy and even dangerous ride, and they’re easy to avoid.
Step 4: Fuel Care:
This one is pretty straight forward, but you can make it as complicated as you’d like. There are a few different approaches, and all of them are better than doing nothing at all. This method is the safest one that doesn’t involve spilling gas all over the place and potentially soft seizing your engine:
Fill the tank all the way up and add the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer (we recommend STA-BIL). A full gas tank doesn’t leave as much room for condensation to build up, and the stabilizer will handle any that does. Run your scoot for a few minutes to ensure that the treated gasoline makes its way into your carburetor/injector nozzles.
Fuel stabilizers are meant to prevent varnish build up and deal with moisture. They are inexpensive and can be the difference between hitting the road on that first nice day and having to clean your carb while everyone is out getting ice cream.
We also carry winterization kits for most models that include a cover, Battery Tender and STABIL.
If your storage options are nonexistent, or the winters by you are particularly brutal, you may want to check your local dealer’s storage options. Most dealers will offer winter storage for a modest fee, and they often include things like a spring tune up in with the cost.
If the roads by you are dry, you can certainly ride year-round. You’ll probably want to tune your carb, pop in a hotter plug and invest heavily in gloves. Scooterworks also carries winter tires, which are made of a softer compound that sticks when the temperatures drop. And we have the kilt. Never forget the scooter kilt.