What Causes Motorcycle Rust?
Motorcycles will start to rust when they are exposed to oxygen and moisture. This leads to a chemical process known as corrosion, which converts the metal to an unrefined state, what we call rust. The name alone can be enough to send shivers down any driver’s spine. Falling rain, snow, and ice can all lead to rust. Condensation can also appear on the bike as the temperature changes.
If you’re looking for a technical definition of rust, it is an iron oxide, so it only applies to items made of iron. However, we tend to use the same word for all types of metal. Most types of metals will exhibit the same symptoms under the right circumstances. Rust appears as a reddish-brown flaking coating.
Rust remains a major problem on the road. Motorists of all types of vehicles in the U.S. spent an estimated $15.4 billion dollars on rust repairs over the past five years. More than 22 million drivers have encountered rust-related problems, with repairs costing an average of $500 per occurrence. Unless you feel like spending money for no reason, it’s best to keep rust at bay.
How to Prevent Rust
If rust is caused by oxygen and moisture, the best way to prevent it is to protect your bike from water.
You should try to keep your bike in a dry, room-temperature location whenever possible. If you need to leave it outside, keep it under an awning or use a motorcycle cover to keep moisture at bay.
Other factors can increase the oxidation process, including road salts, oils, and grease. Your motorcycle will likely encounter these substances on the road, especially during the winter when the roads are slick.
You can prevent rust by cleaning off your bike regularly, so these chemicals and excess moisture don’t sit on the metal for long periods of time. Keep a rag on hand to address problem areas as they appear. When you get home, use motorcycle cleaning spray to wash away excess debris and other hazards that can lead to rust.
Apply two coats of wax to the bike to protect exposed parts from the elements. Use anti-corrosion products on bare metal to keep the moisture out.
The metal parts inside your motorcycle can also corrode over time. Keep your fuel tank full to prevent rust inside the tank. Top off your oil regularly to keep parts lubricated.
Rust will occur naturally over time unless you keep your bike in an air-sealed tomb. Even the most disciplined drivers will start to see rust form as the years go by.
What to Do If Your Motorcycle Rusts
If your motorcycle starts to rust, all hope is not lost. You should continue cleaning and waxing rusted parts to prevent them from rusting again.
Keep an eye on rusted parts over time. If the problem gets any worse, you may need to replace them all together. Parts that have rusted may be more likely to rust again in the future. This may be a sign your bike is getting close to the end of its life. Continue to maintain the bike to keep it running as long as possible.
You can still ride a motorcycle with some rust as long as the essential parts are still working properly. Test the motorcycle before taking it out on the road to avoid getting in an accident. Use a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet to stay in touch with the authorities and your loved ones in case of an emergency. You should always have a way to contact the outside world when riding a motorcycle, especially if it’s on its last leg.