The way your motorcycle works is directly related to the way you store and maintain it. As we’ve said in one of our recent articles, there are various things you can do and use to make sure your bike is in tip-top condition and ready for a ride.
Leaving your motorcycle outside in the rain, heat, or cold can lead to a variety of damages. That’s why utmost attention must be paid to what your motorcycle gets when both in and out of use.
If you’re new to motorcycles and what to do to get the best out of them, this post might be of interest as we have highlighted some of the do’s and don’ts of motorcycle storage. Check it out to learn more about what rain and other elements can do to your bike and the steps you should take to prevent that from happening.
What happens when you leave your motorcycle outside in the rain
The answer depends on how old your bike is and the time it spends outside exposed to elements such as rain. While leaving a newer motorcycle outside in the rain for a couple of days might not cause significant damage, doing so for a longer time will deteriorate various parts of your bike, especially if it is an older model.
The age of your bike and the quality of the materials used for its build have a word to say as well. Mid-range bikes left uncovered in an area where there is not much humidity or extreme heat may take months before any damage occurs.
Some of the latest models feature materials such as stainless steel for some of their parts, which means that they will withstand rain and elements better. Still, if left exposed to rain, high humidity levels, heat, or extreme cold, the bike will deteriorate.
As far as rain or snow is concerned, we think of one damage: rust. Long exposure to rain will eventually make some of the bike parts corrode and rust. This translates into performance issues and even a dead battery that will prevent you from getting your bike running altogether.
Heavy rust takes time to build up, though. This means that the motorcycle should be left uncovered in a high-humidity area or rain for a long time before it gets to such issues. However, if the bike is old and the components are already in bad shape, that will happen sooner.
When rust just begins to form, you can still undo the damage if you act fast. You should remove the rust first and then put some oil on it. If it’s not the chain that rusted, use some sprays specifically designed for that such as anti-rust protectants.
If you use your bike to travel, you probably know that storing the motorcycle isn’t always possible. This means that you will have to take some measures to protect your bike from the elements. The first thing that will help you with that, especially when you travel and don’t have access to proper storage, is a weather-resistant cover.
The market now offers a variety of such products that will help you keep your two-wheeler safe even when left outside. Now, such a cover won’t solve all the problems that may be caused by exposure to rain. Leaving a bike in a high-humidity area fully or mostly covered may lead to moisture forming under the cover.
You can cover your bike and still keep it ventilated by using a cover that allows for the air to circulate inside. What’s more, such items may even come with anti-theft features, which will further help you protect your motorcycle. Plus, the electronics your bike features will also be affected when exposed to moisture.
Keep an eye on the material used for the cover you want to buy and the extra protection features it offers. You may pay more for a high-quality item but it will save you more in the long run. Think of how much you’d spend to replace some of the bike’s parts and you will see that it is worth investing.
Motorcycle storage options
While covers will help you a lot when traveling and even for short-term storage, protecting your bike during winter or rainy months when you rarely use it calls for more than a cover. A garage is the ideal option if it meets certain requirements as far as temperature and moisture are concerned.
Storing a bike in a garage where there is high humidity will still affect the vehicle as rust can form in such conditions. What’s worse is that rust can build up from inside out, which makes it even more of a necessity to store the vehicle properly. Regular maintenance will also help you protect your bike, prolong its lifespan, and keep its performance high.
In case you don’t have a garage, you can still protect your bike by using a motorcycle shed. You can even find metal ones but it is a bit more difficult to move them from one place to another. Still, they will provide your two-wheeler with greater protection. Some sheds feature weather-resistant materials usually used for covers and will thus keep the elements from reaching your bike.
Cleaning and maintenance tips
Storing your motorcycle in a garage or protecting it against elements with a quality cover or shed is not enough to actually make sure it will work after you haven’t used it for a long time. Regular maintenance is required no matter if you use it or not. A bike that is left unused and untaken care of may have performance problems to the point where it doesn’t start.
That’s why there are some things you need to do on a regular basis in order to keep your motorcycle in good shape even when you don’t use it. Check it regularly to see if there are any leaks or rusted parts. The chain, brakes, the engine, and the battery require great attention as, if damaged, they will prevent you from hitting the road again.
Preventing is always better than repairing. Therefore, clean your bike on a regular basis and store it where rain, wind, dirt, or humidity can’t reach it. Since 100% protection against such elements is rarely possible, you will have to check and clean the bike and make a routine out of this.
Cleaning the motorcycle and using anti-rust protectants such as wax or sprays will help you prolong the bike lifespan. Don’t let the battery fully discharge when storing the vehicle for a long time as this will shorten its lifespan.
Check for any unusual spots. Rust and acid leaking from your battery are easy to be noticed. Acid leaks will corrode the various parts of your battery and bike, so removing them is essential if you want to prevent that from happening.
The way you store, ride, and maintain your motorcycle will directly and significantly affect the way it works and how long it lasts. A bike needs your help and effort to run smoothly, safely, and properly. That shouldn’t be difficult, though, if you take the above-mentioned steps.