How to Prevent Rust on a Motorcycle
The metal parts on your motorcycle are bound to rust, which not only spoils the appearance of your ride, but if left untreated, will lead to permanent damage from corrosion.
What is Rust?
When a metal is exposed to oxygen and moisture, a natural process called corrosion occurs that converts the metal to its unrefined oxidized state: rust. Unless a piece of metal is sealed in an environment with absolutely no oxygen or moisture, rusting is inevitable.
Did You Know?
Rust is actually iron oxide, so strictly speaking the word "rust" should only be used when discussing metals that contain iron. However, the word is so widely used that it's accepted when describing any corroded metal.
What Causes Motorcycles to Rust?
Rust is caused when a metal is exposed to oxygen and moisture. Any time your motorcycle's metal parts get wet, have condensation, get snowed on, or come into contact with moisture in any way, they'll begin to rust.
Chemicals such as the salts used to prevent icing in winter or the oils, greases and fuels dropped on the roads by passing vehicles also accelerate the corrosion or rusting process.
Motorcycle Rust Prevention
There's no magic solution to completely preventing rust from forming on your motorcycle. However, you can slow down the process. Minimizing exposure to salts, chemicals and moisture helps combat the formation of rust on your bike.
Cover Your Motorcycle
Park your motorcycle in sheltered areas such as a covered lot or garage. Use a motorcycle cover if you don't have access to a garage. If you have to park out in the open, invest in a motorcycle cover to protect your bike from rain, frost and dew.
Wash and Wax Your Motorcycle
Wash your motorcycle to remove chemicals that can accelerate the corrosion process. This is particularly important in winter and early spring if the roads have been salted. The more you wash your motorcycle with a quality bike wash, the better protected it is against rust.
Apply a coat or two of wax to all painted parts such as the fuel tank, fenders and side covers. Moisture will work its way down into any microscopic scratch or pore in the paintwork, but a couple of layers of wax repel that moisture.
Use Anti-Corrosion Products
Coat all metal parts and surfaces with an anti-corrosion product or corrosion protectant, and remove any developing rust spots as soon as possible.
NOTE: Never put corrosion protectants on brake rotors.
Rust causes pitting, and weakens parts to the point they'll need replacing. Repair affected areas damaged by rust to prevent them from rusting again. Touch up painted areas to reseal the metal beneath, and wipe down exposed metal areas with rust-prevention and anti-corrosion products.
There are no exposed surfaces for rust to form on inside a full tank, and the fuel stabilizer will keep the fuel fresh for several months. If your tank is already rusted, use a fuel tank rust remover to treat it.
Don't let these motorcycle rust protection measures fall through the cracks. Otherwise, your prized possession could end up looking like this!: