Preparing a moped for winter storage
- The following is a wikified version of this article written by David G. and inspired by this article from Scooterworks.
While I have read that when winter would come to Europe in the 1970's groups of people would wrap the rear wheels of their mopeds with nylon cord and head to a snowy field to play games of "moped polo", however for the rest of us winter means parking our machines for several months of dust collecting hibernation while we find warmer means of getting from point A to point B and back again.
If you do in fact store your moped for the winter there are some steps you should take to insure your moped comes out in spring just as healthy as it was when you put it up in the fall.
People have different opinions about how the gas tank should be dealt with. Some people like to use fuel stabilizers, others like to top off the tank. Two stroke motors are very sensitive to old gas, so neither of these ideas is very good in my opinion, since you probably don't want to have a case of the hard starts when spring comes around. Rather, draining the gas tank and then spraying some WD-40 into the gas tank (to prevent rust) is a better idea.
If you leave gas in the carb bowl for all of winter it can gum up, you'd have to clean the carb. If you drain the gas tank, by riding till you're dry, you don't really have to do anything; however if you simply drain the gas into a container you'll need to run the engine until all the gas in the carb is used. If you so choose you can also pull out the jets for safe keeping, just make sure you remember where you put them. Edit - You must drain the carb completely, usually by removing the float bowl or removing the screw at the bottom of the float bowl and allowing the fuel to drain all the way out, or just dump it out. If you don't and only run the carb "dry" the level of the gas is just below the main jet and the remaining fuel will varnish and turn to gunk while in storage.
The next thing to do is to change the oil of the clutch and gears; this will flush out dirt and particles before they collect on the bottom of the case over the winter. If you wait till spring to change the oil this gunk in the case will contaminate the new oil.
To keep the engine fresh you can pour a very tiny amount of two stroke motor oil into the carb, and remove the spark plug and spray some WD-40 or some light weight oil into the cylinder. Pedal the engine over a couple of times to make sure the oil reaches all parts in the engine. Make sure the engine stops in the TDC position so that moisture can't enter the engine through the exhaust. Then put the spark plug back in.
Next you'll want to put your moped up on blocks so your tires don't end up out of round and lumpy by springtime. You can simply put the kickstand down and use some wood to make sure neither wheel is touching the ground. It is also a good idea to deflate the tires so they don't crack.
It's not recommended that you store your moped outside, although if you have to, make sure to cover it up to keep it dry and out of the elements. A garage, shed, or even a basement makes a better storage area.
If you follow all these instructions, when spring comes around all you'll have to do is inflate the tires, and top off the tank with gas and your favorite two stroke motor oil, and you'll be on your way.