How to Store Your Low-Speed Vehicles During Off-Seasons
Proper storage and maintenance of your low-speed vehicles (LSV), both during the on- and off-season, is the best way to get the most out of your LSVs. Just like storage for your household cars and trucks, how you store your LSVs will depend on factors such as the weather in your area, available community options, and the types of storage spaces available near you. Below are some tips on where you can store your different low-speed vehicles and how to prep them for the off-season.
What Is a Low-Speed Vehicle?
There is no hard limit on what counts as an LSV. In general, though, these are vehicles with a top speed of around 25 mph that seat only a few passengers and are ideal for short commutes or recreational use. Some common examples of LSVs include:
- Golf carts, which you can use to traverse a golf course or in a large commercial or industrial setting.
- Scooters, which can be used on some roads for commuting, but don’t usually reach highway speeds.
- ATVs, which are used by outdoor recreation enthusiasts, but aren’t usually seen on roads or used for regular commuting.
If you’re renting from a club, then golf cart storage during the off-season may be included in your rental package. If you own your golf cart, then ideally you’ll want to store it in a climate-controlled storage unit or garage. This will keep your cart out of direct rain, snow, and sunlight, and will help decrease wear on both the interior and exterior of the cart. To winterize your golf cart, both for interior and exterior storage, you should:
- Clean the cart thoroughly;
- Make any necessary repairs or tune-ups;
- Inflate tires to meet manufacturer recommendations;
- Coat battery terminal connections with anti-corrosion gel;
- Set transmission switch to neutral.
When storing your golf cart long-term, do not keep the parking brake engaged. Instead, secure the cart with blocks or another stopping mechanism. This way, you aren’t putting long-term wear on the brake pads or loosening the catch brackets over time. If you own an electric golf cart, you should also refrain from keeping your golf cart plugged in when the battery is full. This can waste energy and put extra wear on your battery and battery terminals.
While you can ride your motorized scooter all year, riders living in harsh winter climates may choose to store their scooter in the winter due to worsening driving conditions. Motorized scooters should ideally be stored in a climate-controlled unit. Keeping your scooter in temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit during winter can protect your scooter from cold-weather-related damage, such as tire rot. If you are storing your scooter outside for an extended period, you should invest in a scooter cover to prevent damage from direct exposure to sun, rain, or snow. To prep your scooter for winter storage, you should:
- Wash your scooter;
- Change the oil;
- Stabilize the fuel system;
- Charge the battery.
Additionally, it can be helpful for your scooter’s engine while in storage to periodically start the vehicle. This will move oil through the engine and ensure everything is staying lubricated for future use.
Motorized dirt bikes can be stored in any garage, shed, or storage unit. If you’re storing your dirt bike for the off-season, you’ll want to park it on a stand if possible, as this is easier on your bike’s tires. If you’re storing your bike outside, it’s recommended to have a bike cover so that dust, rain, snow, and direct sun exposure don’t add wear to the bike. When winterizing your bike, you should:
- Change the oil;
- Wash the bike;
- Use a fuel stabilizer;
- Turn off the gas tank;
- Lube the bike chain;
- Check the tire pressure.
The best way to store your ATV during the off-season is in a dry, cool place, such as a shed, garage, or storage unit. If you don’t have access to these, you will want to invest in a waterproof ATV cover. Weather damage from heavy rain, snow, or sun overexposure can cause wear to the exterior and may cause damage to the interior of the vehicle, such as the engine or battery.
You may use your ATV all year round, depending on your climate or personal hobbies. If this is the case, it’s important to note that in some places with heavy snow, certain ATV trails may be closed, and there may be city regulations on where you can ride. You can check with your city or state parks and recreation or department of motor vehicles to see if any of these apply to you. If you won’t be using your ATV in the snow, it’s important to winterize your vehicle. You can do this by:
- Removing the battery and hooking it up to a trickle charger;
- Topping off fuel and adding a fuel stabilizer;
- Cleaning and lubricating the vehicle;
- Topping off coolant and brake fluid;
- Checking tire pressure and filling to manufacturer’s recommendation.
Similar to boats, you can park your jet skis in dry outdoor or indoor storage. It isn’t recommended to store your jet ski in water for an extended period of time, as you can risk sinking the craft due to excess water or ice buildup. If you’re storing your jet ski outside for an extended period, you should invest in a jet ski cover that can protect your vehicle from snow, rain, and sun damage. In order to weatherize your jet ski for cold weather, you should:
- Drain it of all excess water;
- Clean the craft;
- Stabilize the gas tank;
- Use a fogging oil for internal machinery;
- Remove the battery;
- Plug the exhaust pipe.
Keeping your LSV sheltered from direct weather exposure can help you prevent damage to the internal and external mechanisms. Whether you’re putting your LSV away for the season, or need to store it long-term, these tips can help ensure that your vehicle will be primed and ready for your next use.