Rust is a motorcycle owner's worst enemy. Once the corrosion settles inside the frame, it can quickly eat through the metal if left unchecked. When this occurs, there's no “quick fix” other than replacing the corroded parts. The good news is that you can often prevent rust from developing in the first place by following some simple steps.
How Rust Forms
Rust occurs when iron is exposed to oxygen. This triggers a chemical reaction known as oxidation, resulting in the formation of iron oxide (rust). Typically, the oxygen used in this process comes from moisture, which is why it's essential that motorcycle owners protect their bikes from lingering water.
1. Wash and Wax Your Motorcycle
Washing and waxing your motorcycle on a regular basis can make a huge difference in protecting it from rust. When dirt becomes “caked” on a motorcycle, it tends to harbor moisture, which subsequently leads to oxidation and rust.
Furthermore, dirt and debris will wear down the protective coating of the motorcycle's frame, amplifying the effects of corrosion. So if you're looking to protect your motorcycle from rust – and you should – try to get into the habit of washing it on a weekly basis and waxing it every other month.
2. Cover Your Motorcycle
Ideally, you should store your motorcycle in a covered facility, such as a garage or carport. Covered facilities will protect your motorcycle from rain and the elements, which could otherwise lead to rust.
In the event that you don't have access to a garage or carport, consider using a tarp cover instead. For about $30 bucks, you can buy a vinyl tarp to place over your motorcycle, protecting it from the rain and elements.
3. Apply WD-40 to Your Motorcycle Frame
The most effective way to protect a motorcycle from rust is to apply either WD-40 or a 3-in-1 oil to the exposed metallic frame and surrounding components. This will create a thin layer of oil, protecting the metal from moisture.
When applying WD-40, however, it's best to follow the “less is more approach.” In other words, apply just enough to create a thin layer over the metallic frame without causing it to drip. If you see the liquid dripping off your motorcycle, use a towel or washcloth to remove some of the excess WD-40.
These are just a few simple steps that you can take to protect your motorcycle from rust and corrosion.