Winterizing your scooter

We are now living on borrowed weather.  It’s almost time to put away the scooter for the winter.  Once they sand the roads during the first winter storm, you don’t want to go riding till it’s swept away.  While gravel and sand is great for cars, it causes two wheel vehicles to do the sideways skid.

If you want to avoid problems and a big repair bill in the spring, you’ll need to winterize your scooter.  Winterizing takes an afternoon but you’ll be glad you did it in six months.

  • Clean your scooter.  Wash, wax, and polish it.  Get the oil and road grime off.  Get out the entire arsenal of brushes and toothbrushes.  Get out the chrome cleaner and get the bug guts off the paint and chrome.  Your paint will thank you.  It will be fresh and ready for riding in the spring.
  • Check for loose screws and bolts.    Rides and Rallys shake things loose.  Screws on aftermarket parts are notorious for loosening up.  If you find them now, you won’t be waiting for parts in the spring.
  • Check for cracked lines.  If you have a Vespa ET scooter, you know that the fuel lines need to be replaced annually.  They age, crack, and then you have a puddle of gas on the garage floor or leaking on a hot engine.  Fuel line is relatively cheap and can be bought online, at your local motorcycle shop, or your local scooter shop.   Be careful with the clip on the fuel tap end.
  • Go buy a battery tender if you don’t already have one.  The Battery Tender Junior is easy to install and will kept your battery charged throughout the winter.  It will also prolong the lifespan of your battery.  Determine if you need a 6V or 12 V model. 
  • Change your oil and oil filter before putting it away for the winter.  Don’t let contaminants sit in the bottom of your engine all winter.
  • Stabilize your fuel with Sea Foam.  It will keep your gas from turning to varnish in your carburetor.   Most scooter shops I have talked to do not recommend Sta-bil.  Add the recommended amount of Sea Foam to your tank and add premium fuel to mix.  Ride the scooter for 15-30 minutes so that it will flush through the whole fuel system.  Don’t just run the scooter, ride it.   Park the scooter in the garage for the winter.  You’ve just saved yourself from a fuel system flush in the spring.
  • Now cover your scooter with a breathable scooter cover.  This will keep dirt, dust, snow, and debris off your scoot.
  • Take off the cover when the street sweepers have taken up the last of the winter gravel.

Take care of your scoot now and save yourself some grief in the spring.  Believe me, the scooter shop does not want your business on this.  Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on some cool new accessories?

© 2008-2011 G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and Colorado, snowboards, and scooters with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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3 Responses to Winterizing your scooter

  1. Great article. A little effort now will mean less drama in summer.

  2. Okay, Sea Foam, not Sta-bil, got it. Now what about those great days in good ol’ Colorado when there is no snow on the ground, and it gets up to around 50? I love taking a quick ride around town on those little occasions! Is it okay to ride a winterized scooter around, with the fuel stabilizer in it and everything? Or is it something that must stay winterized until you are really ready to bring it out again? Thanks for the tips!

    • Those days are pure torture. It’s so tempting to go riding. It’s technically okay to ride a winterized scooter but it’s not really recommended. For one thing, all that gravel is still on the roads just waiting to dump you. I’ve succumbed to temptation before and nearly dumped the scooter. Second, riding it around will produce water condensation inside your fuel system. Having water freeze and thaw in your carbuerator and such isn’t a good thing. Besides, you will have to possibly spring for another can of stabilizer. That said, I do know of people who are truly dedicated riders in Colorado and ride all winter long. While I admire them, riding on snow can be tricky and COLD.