A lot can go wrong if you store your bike in poor conditions. One of the most damaging scenarios is leaving it in the rain, unattended, for several days.
This is because the humidity and water from rain can rust metal, and eventually destroy the bike’s sensitive parts and other electrical components.
In this article, we will discuss what could happen if you leave a motorcycle outside in the rain and what you can do to protect it.
How will rain damage your bike or its components?
Motorcycles are built to withstand rain, so getting caught in a rainstorm or keeping it outside occasionally is not going to immediately harm your motorcycle. To provide protection, most bikes have seals on their electrical components and other areas.
However, if your bike is exposed to rain for a long period of time without any precautions or maintenance, then it will definitely suffer damage like rusting and corroding.
Everything from sprockets, bolts, chains, and bearings will wear out more quickly. The fork tops as well as the paint finish on a bike are also susceptible to corrosion from water. Not to mention the saddle which will soak up water and remain wet for a long time.
Due to direct exposure, rubberized parts and plastic will wear out much faster than normal. The control switches are also susceptible to water damage, especially if there are cracks. If rainwater enters the fuel system and mixes with oil, it can cause major problems like seizing up the engine.
What happens when you don’t ride for a long time?
Frequent riding will dry water quickly after a downpour, minimizing corrosion and rust. Also, by keeping the bike clean, well-lubed, and under regular maintenance, you can avoid costly repairs down the line.
Some of the dangers of not riding a motorcycle for an extended period of time include:
- Cracks in gaskets and seals
- Battery discharges
- Moisture in engine and carburetor
- Rust on chains and other metal parts – see how long do motorcycle chains last?
- Tires start to degrade – see how long do motorcycle tires last?
Rusting and corrosion will also depend on the age of the bike
Newer motorcycles will not be affected by rain the same way older ones will. Allowing a newer model to stay outside unattended for a couple of days will not cause much damage, but with an older one, you could run into some serious problems.
The latest motorcycle models are made of higher quality materials and have better seals. This makes them more durable and resistant to corrosion from water and weather.
Heavy rust takes time to build up, though. So while it may not severely affect newer models immediately, it’s still best to take precautions to help prevent it.
What to do if you have to leave your motorcycle in the rain?
To provide maximum protection to your motorcycle during a downpour, here are some tips for you:
If you want to protect your bike from the damage caused by rainwater, then it is a good idea to invest in a motorcycle cover.
When buying a new cover, it’s important to consider its material, quality, and protective features. Look for a correctly sized cover with UV protection, circulation vents, and waterproofing. It might cost more upfront, but it’ll save you money in the long run.
Also, be aware that when a cover is not properly secured and fitted with the bike, it can act like a sail in strong winds, causing the bike to tip over. So, park somewhere where there isn’t much wind or against a stable structure to lean against your bike.
Cleaning and maintenance
Keep water from accumulating in your bike by riding it on a regular basis. When you get caught in the rain, make sure to dry your bike off properly. Also, applying a lubricant around your bike’s moving parts will help them function properly for longer.
Remove any signs of rust as soon as possible and then apply oil or an anti-rust spray to the area.
Look for any leaks from the battery. Acid from your battery can cause corrosion, so it’s important to clean it out right away.
Garages and sheds
Garages can be a great option to protect your bike, as long as they meet certain conditions. A bike that is stored in a garage with high humidity levels can cause rusting. Even worse, rust can form from the inside out.
Make sure your garage is well-ventilated and be extra careful about fumes from your exhaust.
Should you always use a cover?
In most cases, you’ll want to keep your motorcycle under cover when it is outside. However, there will be situations when doing so is not be advisable.
It’s best not to cover a damp motorcycle, as this can cause moisture to build up.
It’s also not a good idea to use the cover if the wind is really strong and you can’t secure it in a way that it doesn’t become a sail. This can lead to the wind blowing your motorcycle over, making it vulnerable to the elements and also increasing the risk of damaging the other parts of your bike.
Riding your motorcycle in the rain
It is always best if you can avoid riding immediately after it rains. This way, the rain will wash away all the slick stuff like oils and brake fluids on the road and provide your tires with a better grip.
If you do have to ride, remember to adjust your riding style and gear up accordingly. Check out this article for more tips on how to ride in the rain.
Yes, you can leave a motorcycle in the rain if it is not for an extended time. Motorcycles are built from durable materials, but the lifespan of your motorcycle will depend on how much care you give it.
If you maintain your motorcycle well and regularly inspect it for any potential damage, you could expect to get a decade or so out of it before needing major repairs.
Make sure that your cover is on, or if possible, keep the motorcycle in a shed or a garage with a suitable indoor climate, especially if you don’t intend to ride it for a long period of time.