Is keeping your motorcycle looking shiny and new, one of your top priorities? Well, one of the most important ways to do this is by knowing exactly how to wash your motorcycle.
Washing a motorcycle is a skill that you need to master to keep your bike looking its best. If you have been wondering whether or not you have been cleaning your motorcycle the right way, you will find the following information useful.
Here is a rundown of how you should be washing a motorcycle to keep it looking like it just got out of the factory.
1. The First Steps To Take When Washing A Motorcycle
Make sure you have all the tools you will need on hand. This will save you a lot of time and energy and prevent you having to go back and forth to collect items.
Here is a short list of the essential items you will need.
- A large bucket
- liquid soap
- lint-free cloth
- scouring brush
- leaf blower
- metal polish
- car wax
Once you have all these items nearby, you are ready to get started.
2. When You Wash The Bike Is Just As Important As How You Wash It
Don’t wash your bike when the engine is hot. If you have just finished riding your bike, you should wait for it to cool off before you wash it. Washing a motorcycle when it is hot can cause significant damage because metal parts tend to expand when they are heated.
Throwing cold water on the motorcycle to wash it will cause the metal to contract quickly. This could damage the engine and the motorcycle’s finish. And it’s not just the heat from the engine you should be worried about. Never wash your bike when the sun is hot. The heat from the sun tends to dry the detergents on the surface of the bike, and this usually results in streaks on the motorcycle.
If you are using hard water, the warm weather makes the mineral deposits in it a bit more aggressive. These minerals can leave difficult to remove deposits on your bike.
3. Create A Balance
The schedule you create for washing a motorcycle should be flexible and dependent on the frequency of use and your need to keep the bike in good working condition.
Frequent washing can remove lubrication from cables and grease points on your engine.
On the upside, washing a motorcycle often will help to make you more aware of any problems that are developing in the bike’s mechanism. However, too much washing can also damage the bikes mechanism.
A balance needs to be created.
The bottom line is that you should keep your bike clean but don’t be so obsessive about it, that you go overboard.
4. Circumstance That Warrant Immediate Washing
There are a few circumstances that warrant immediate washing of your bike.
If you happen to squash bugs while riding, the sooner you can get rid of these the better it will be for you.
Squashed bugs on the surface of your bike that are not removed quickly can leave hard to remove blemishes on your motorcycle.
If they are allowed to decompose in your radiator, they can cause overheating issues.
Even if you get in late from a motorcycle event, never allow mud that is caked onto wheels or surfaces to remain on your bike overnight.
If you allow mud to sit overnight, when you are ready to wash the bike the next day, you are likely to get scratches on your motorcycle from the dried mud.
5. Use The Right Cleaning Agents
Washing a motorcycle doesn’t require a lot of water if you use the right cleaning agents for the job.
While it may be tempting to use the regular all-purpose cleaner that you have lying around the house, these cleaning products can cause damage to your motorcycle’s paint job.
Any detergent that you use should be very gentle and measure a seven on the pH scale.
A ph level of seven creates a perfect balance because the detergent won’t be too acidic and it also won’t be too alkaline.
6. Use High Pressure Cleaning With Caution
While high-pressure cleaning does have its place when washing a motorcycle, it should be used with caution.
The benefit is that there is nothing quite as effective at removing mud that has caked onto tires or the body of the bike. High power washing is also very tough on grime.
However, the drawback of this kind of cleaning is that it can get water into the electrical areas of the motorcycle.
Water may also settle into crevices of the bike and foster corrosion. There is nothing that can destroy a bike faster than corrosion.
If you must use high-pressure hoses to clean, then keep it confined to the wheels and very sparing to the body of the motorcycle.
Here is a list of places on your bike that high-pressure water should never reach:
Vinyl seats on your motorcycle are especially vulnerable when high-pressure washing is applied. This kind of washing has the potential to rip vinyl seating open.
If water gets on chains when washing a motorcycle, be sure to re-grease them to prevent corruption from setting in.
7. The Right Sponges and Cloths Are Important
If you have been using one or two rags to clean your motorcycle, then you need to invest in buying some more.
In fact, the best thing you can do is have a separate rag for each area of the motorcycle. You should invest in microfiber cloths as they tend to be soft enough not to damage the surface.
Just as you should have a different rag for different areas of your motorcycle, you should also have different sponges as well. This will prevent dirt and grime from one area getting to the next.
While investing in high quality cloths and sponges are essential. Don’t forget to keep an old toothbrush around, since this will come in handy when you want to get to those hard to reach areas on your bike.
If you find metal areas that need scouring, then a scourer such as that used on pots from the kitchen is usually effective. Always follow up any scouring with some metal polish.
8. Get Detailed
Once you have finished cleaning and polishing, it’s time to get into detailed cleaning with a microfiber cloth. Lie down on the ground and look under the motorcycle to see if you have missed any areas.
No matter how thorough you are when you are washing a motorcycle, there are often areas that did not get the full treatment.
Get to work and use your cloth to start wiping down the cables on the motorcycle as well as the wheel hubs. You may also want to rub the cloth over the engine casing to ensure they have been thoroughly cleaned.
Oil and spray the motorcycle’s cables as well as the hinges and the levers because lubrication is often lost in these areas when a bike is washed.
9. Let’s Wax
You can use car wax to give your bike a nice sheen. However, you should ensure that the wax is very soft. It should also leave an ultraviolet (UV) layer to protect your motorcycle’s paint.
Before using any car wax on the body of your motorcycle, you should try it in a hidden area and then see how it looks and how it affects the surface of the motorcycle.
The best way to gauge how effective the wax was in the hidden area is to look at it in direct sunlight.
When applying wax, never put it directly on the motorcycle. Apply it to a clean, soft rag and then rub it onto the body of the bike.
As soon as the wax dries you can buff it off with a clean lint-free cloth, so no residue is left behind.
10. Finishing Off The Job
Once everything is completed, it’s time to ride! Strap on your motorcycle helmet and ride slowly down the block, pumping the brakes as you go along to get rid of any excess water that may have accumulated.
Next, it’s time to crank up the speed. Take the bike on a nearby highway and ride it faster than you did before. This will blow out any additional water that may have gotten into hidden areas.
If you don’t feel like riding your bike, you can use a leaf blower to blow out the water. But who wouldn’t want to take their newly washed motorcycle out for a spin?
Just be aware that you are going to have a little cleaning up to do, whether you ride or use a leaf blower. This is because water may leave streaks on the windscreen and the body of the motorcycle. It is best to use a soft lint-free cloth to clean up so that there is no cloth fuzz left behind.
Washing a motorcycle should be done with care to prevent any damage. It is vital that you invest in all the necessary materials so that you do not damage your motorcycle while trying to care for it. This keeps your bike nice and beautiful for you, and when it comes time to sell your motorcycle it will help you get top dollar as you’ve kept your bike in excellent condition.