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As you put away your motorcycle for winter, have you thought about a fuel stabilizer?

Added December 4, 2018
Motorcycle gas tank

As autumn draws to a close, three-season motorcycle riders will park their bikes until spring. If you want to be ready to ride as soon as the weather warms, don’t just park it—be sure to store it properly. While there are several key things to do, protecting the fuel system should be one of your top priorities. A fuel stabilizer plays an important role.

Why stabilize fuel?

Fuel is a volatile mixture of gasoline and additives designed to provide energy for your motor, while meeting environmental standards. Fresh fuel delivers good performance but begins to decay rapidly once you pump it into your tank. When exposed to air, in as little as a month, the gas begins to break down due to evaporation and oxidation. If fuel isn’t prepared for winter, the decay will damage your motorcycle.

Ethanol issues

E-10 fuel sold at most gas stations contains up to 10 percent ethanol. Ethanol is added to increase octane and oxygenation of fuel. Higher compression motors need higher-octane levels and adding oxygenators provides more complete combustion.

Ethanol also has some negative effects. It can be corrosive to engine and fuel system components—including seals, gaskets, and fuel lines. In addition, ethanol is a hydroscopic compound, which means it absorbs water from the air, reducing fuel potency. At worst, it causes phase separation in gas.

Phase separation

Ethanol in fuel absorbs water from condensation or water vapor in the air inside the fuel tank. When the ethanol absorbs enough water to reach its saturation point, the combined ethanol-water mixture comes out of suspension and settles at the bottom of the tank. As temperatures fall, phase separation happens more easily and hits the saturation point faster.

What is a fuel stabilizer?

A fuel stabilizer contains an additive package designed to protect and preserve fuel, fuel system components, and your motorcycle’s engine. There are several brands of fuel stabilizers on the market. Each one:

  • Reduces evaporation of octane and volatile fuel components to maintain fuel potency
  • Inhibits corrosion and rust caused by absorbed water and ethanol byproducts
  • Lubricates fuel system components
  • Reduces deposits of gum and varnish on motor parts caused by decayed fuel
  • Keeps water and ethanol in suspension to prevent phase separation

Preparing your bike

Preparing your motorcycle fuel and fuel system for storage is a simple four-step process that can easily be added to your late autumn motorcycle rides. You should:

  • Read the instructions on the stabilizer you’ve chosen to use
  • Ride your motorcycle until the tank is nearly empty
  • Add the correct measured amount of stabilizer to the tank before refueling
  • Ride your motorcycle to distribute the treated fuel throughout the system

You can easily do this before placing your motorcycle into winter storage. It can also be started several rides before the last ride of the year. Just continue to add the correct measured amount of stabilizer at each fill-up before returning home. When it’s finally time to store the motorcycle for the winter, your fuel and fuel system are already prepared.

Till next time, ride safe!

Related links

There’s still time for a Autumn ride. Check this out: Tips to avoid fall foliage driving failures.

At Dairyland, we feel strongly about your safety and promote it through our Rider Training Course discount. Check it out.