Tips for Preventing Rust on a Motorcycle, ATV or UTV
Rust can be one of your powersports vehicle’s worst enemies. It’s hard to completely prevent rust from happening, but you can keep it at bay or tackle it when it starts.
The oxidation known as rust is an inevitable part of dealing with anything that has iron in it. Depending on the composition of the metal, this type of oxidation is going to happen sooner or later. If the metal has iron in it, like steel, all it takes is air and moisture to create rust.
Not all rust is the same. For example, you might see what’s called pitting, which looks like little specks of rust on an otherwise clean piece of metal. Pitting is something commonly seen on chrome pipes.
Another type of metal oxidation is known as contact rust, which is when a non-rusting metal such as stainless steel comes in contact with metal that does rust and it spreads all over. There’s also crevice rust, the kind you’d find between something like a nut and a bolt.
If your motorcycle, ATV or UTV has metal with iron in it and you can’t really keep it somewhere air-tight to prevent rust, eliminating moisture is the key. Here are a few things you can do to prevent rust on your powersports vehicle.
Keep Your Motorcycle or ATV Dry
This is pretty much common sense, but just keeping your vehicle dry goes a long way in rust prevention. Park your powersports vehicle somewhere covered to keep the rain off it. And if you don’t have a covered spot to keep your bike parked in, buy a cover for it. Look for a breathable cover, because if it’s made of any material that’s not breathable, you’re just going to trap moisture in with the motorcycle.
Wash and Wax Your Powersports Vehicle
Another simple method of preventing rust on a motorcycle, ATV or UTV is to wash and wax your vehicle regularly. Dirt and grime retain moisture, so you want to get it off your machine as soon as possible. Road salt is also a metal parts killer, so make sure you get that off it as well.
Waxing painted areas also protects them from rust, but be careful with areas that have a matte finish. For these areas, only use cleaners and waxes specifically formulated for them so you don’t damage that finish.
If you’re going to store your motorcycle for an extended period of time, make sure you wash it thoroughly. Every spoke, every engine fin. Then dry it thoroughly with some compressed air to get into some of the nooks and crannies. When you’re done drying it, wax and lube all of the moving parts, including clutch linkages and pivot points on the foot pegs, then clean and lube the chain. Finally, treat your powersports vehicle’s engine with some corrosion blocker and then store it in a dry place.
What to Do About Existing Rust
If rust has already started to form on your motorcycle’s metal parts, how do you keep it from spreading? On some surfaces where aesthetics aren’t important, such as a surface under the motorcycle that’s not finished or painted, use a little steel wool or some wet-dry sandpaper to treat it. As for areas that are finished, use a metal polish or rust remover bath to remove existing rust.