The primary riding season has come and gone in Colorado. Winter is upon us. But, as we all know, there will be plenty of days in the next few months when the sun shines and the mercury climbs over 55 degrees. We want to ride on days like that and that’s why scooterists in Colorado need not fully winterize their machines. Nah. We want to keep them at the ready. Still, there are a few basic things we should all do to keep our scoots primed through the winter.
Prevent the battery from dying. Batteries are expensive. Furthermore, they cannot be discarded in the trash. Batteries must be recycled, otherwise they pose a threat to the environment. At Sportique we like to see as few replaced as possible. One thing we can assure you is that if you simply stash your scooter for the winter and pay no heed to the battery you will be replacing it in the spring. It will go bad. Batteries rely on their “memory” to stay vital. “Memory” refers to the effective capacity of the battery and that capacity dulls over time until the battery “forgets” that it’s a battery. Cold is especially damaging to the memory of a battery; therefore it’s very important to periodically charge it when temps plunge. We recommend the Battery Tender Junior ($40). It’s a smart charger that automatically switches itself on and off on demand.
Stabilize the fuel. Picture a bottle of Italian salad dressing sitting on a shelf in your refrigerator. See how the dressing separates into layers, with the lightest material at the top and the heaviest at the bottom? Your fuel settles inside your scooter in the same way. Over time the heaviest material (which often contains sediments) will settle, causing fuel flow problems at the tank valve and inside the carburetor. The way to prevent this is to use a quality fuel stabilizer. Also, since we see a lot of ethanol in our fuels this time of year, you should use a treatment that consumes ethanol with enzymes. We recommend Startron enzyme additive ($9). One bottle treats 40 gallons of gasoline. Also, start your scooter periodically to keep the fuel system flowing.
Air your tires. When that phantom 60 degree December day arises and you decide to run your scoot you should head straight for the gas station to return the tires to proper inflation (usually around 30psi). Fluctuating temps cause the air inside your tires to expand and contract, often forcing air out and causing your tires to be soft. It’s not only dangerous to ride on under-inflated tires, it leads to uneven and premature wear. A quick stop for a fill-up is all it takes to make sure your tires don’t leave you flat.
Ride the poor thing every chance you get. The absolute best thing you can do for your dormant scooter is ride it. Even if you’re only comfortable putting around the neighborhood, start your scoot up and take it for a spin whenever the weather allows. This will keep your fuel system flowing, send a jolt to the battery through the charging system and in general allow the cobwebs to blow out. The more often you can get the scooter up to operating temperature through the winter months the less likely you are to need service in the Spring to make it ride again.
Cover it, for heaven’s sake. If you absolutely cannot free up garage space for your scooter you should at least cover it up. Nice fitted scooter covers are available at Sportique for about $60. Or, as a cost-saving move you can purchase a barbeque grill cover at any hardware store that will do the same thing. Keep the snow, ice and water from directly contacting your machine and it will be far less susceptible to damage.