I hate to open up a can of worms, but with the potential for 6+ inches of snow in Connecticut on Sunday and Monday, itís time to store the Vespa. The heavy sand use on the roads and freezing temperatures can make it dangerous to ride over the winter. Then again, in some years winters are mild and not too much sand is used and it rains enough to wash much of the corroding salt off the roads, too. The problem is that itís hard to predict how ďbadĒ winter will be in Connecticut. Sometimes, we have a fairly mild winter, and I can ride here all winter (last year was mild - I was riding in February). Other years, snow can last into April. Here is what Iíve traditionally done over the winter and the reasons (perhaps myths?) as recommended by a motorcycle shop employee:
1. Get the tires off the ground to keep them from ďflatteningĒ in contact spots. (Is this necessary? Will tires really flatten in the spot(s) they touch the ground for 4 months?)
2. Wash and wax the Vespa and then cover it. I think this is probably a good idea. I remove the windshield, too.
3. Cover the tail pipe to keep rodents and other critters from nesting in there. Probably not necessary, but it takes two seconds to do this with a plastic bag and one of my wifeís hair ties.
4. Top off the fuel tank with fresh Stabil-treated fuel (and run it through for 10-15 minutes).
5. I have never changed the oil before winter storage. I just leave the oil in regardless of its mileage. I change the oil on schedule (I did it in June), but I donít use ďoil stabilizerĒ (Lucas oil stabilizer, et al) and the crankcase is currently full, so Iím not going to add oil stabilizer now.
So - the can of worms: Knowing the bike could potentially sit for 4 months, Do I need to change the oil before winter storage or can I just leave my current oil in there? Should I be using oil stabilizer at every oil change (and does that eliminate long-term oil storage problems) or is oil stabilizer snake oil?
What else should I do (or not do from the list above)? Thanks!