Quick Maintenance Tips: Rustproofing Your Motorcycle
Rust can be a motorcycle’s worst enemy, especially since you can’t completely stop it from happening.
All metal eventually corrodes, but you can slow the onset of rust to keep your motorcycle in near-showroom condition for many years. Obviously, the more you do to delay the inevitable corrosion, the better. There may be a limit to how much free time you have for rustproofing your bike, but here are some quick tips to do it in several ways.
Rustproofing a Motorcycle for Everyday Use
Tip 1. Keep the motorcycle dry. Rust occurs when metal is exposed to moisture, so park your bike in sheltered areas to protect it from wet weather.
Tip 2. Use a breathable motorcycle cover. If you have to park your bike outside, a breathable cover allows moisture on the bike to evaporate while keeping it protected from the elements.
Tip 3. Wash the motorcycle regularly. Dirt, grease and road grime retain moisture, which accelerates the chemical reaction that breeds rust on metal. Washing your bike once a week keeps it free from moisture-trapping contaminants. Use a bike dryer or compressed air to blow away water from every nook and cranny after washing it.
Tip 4. Wax the motorcycle to provide a barrier between it and moisture. Waxing painted and chromed areas such as the fuel tank, front forks and mufflers once a month adds protection to the those areas vulnerable to rust.
Tip 5. Remove salt immediately. Road salt greatly increases the speed at which rust develops. If you ride on salted or gritted roads, wash away the salt as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have time to thoroughly wash your motorcycle, at least rinse the salt off with a hose after every ride.
Rustproofing a Motorcycle for Extended Storage
Tip 6. Clean the motorcycle thoroughly. Take your time and wash every inch of the bike, including wheel spokes and engine block fins. Make sure the bike is 100% dry by using a bike dryer or compressed air to blast every last drop of moisture away, then apply a coat of wax to painted and chromed parts.
Tip 7. Check for corrosion, which breeds more corrosion. Never put your motorcycle into storage if you find any signs of rust, and treat the affected areas immediately if you do.
Tip 8. Lubricate moving parts carefully, including all the gear and clutch linkages; side and center stand pivot points; foot peg pivot points; etc. Work the parts to ensure the lube has penetrated the joint, and wipe away any excess.
Tip 10. Protect the engine and other exposed metal components with an anti-corrosion spray.
Tip 11: Store the motorcycle in a dry place to minimize the amount of moisture it’ll come into contact with over long storage periods. If you’re storing your bike indoors, don’t cover it, to allow any condensation on the bike to evaporate faster.
Removing Rust From a Motorcycle
Tip 12. Remove any rust immediately. Corrosion rapidly spreads once it begins, so if you find any rust spots on your motorcycle, use an abrasive such as wire wool or very fine wet-and-dry paper, or use a chemical rust remover or polish, but make sure the rust is completely gone.
Tip 13. Treat affected areas. Bare unprotected metal will quickly rust again, so cover the area to prevent moisture from reaching the metal and creating new corrosion. Apply a coat of oil or grease to the area as a short-term solution. For longer lasting protection, paint the affected area, which puts a waterproof layer over the exposed metal. Buy touch-up paint to take care of small chips and scratches, or use nail varnish as a quick fix.