At the end of the day, there’s something to pay for the fun that comes with riding a motorcycle. Worst part, you can’t avoid it, particularly when your bike is your best companion. Motorcycle washing, as simple as it sounds, might make or ruin your day.
Take a look at the configuration of a motorcycle, compare to a car, and the reason becomes all too clear. For most part, lots of components are exposed. One simple mistake, and you might damage your bike.
But with a well laid-down procedure, the task becomes a breeze. Lucky for you, I have it all prepared; a step-by-step guide on how to properly wash a motorcycle.
Don’t give your bike a splash before making a checklist for the preparation part. Below are four must-do’s at the preparation stage.
Find a shady spot: Exposure to the sun has it’s advantages and disadvantages. You’ll get a quick dry, but with a penalty of water spots and streaking. You want to do your cleaning once and call it a day, so find a shady area.
Let the bike cool down: A combination of hot engine and water is a recipe for disaster. The sudden drop in temperature can cause cracks on the engine block. So let it cool down, regardless of the weather condition.
Plug the exhaust: This is an important step, particularly for dirt bike riders. But it doesn’t hurt to apply the same on other bikes, and for good reason. Most exhausts are angled in a way that allows water to pool in them. Avoid the problem by blocking the exhaust with either a rubber plug or stuffing with a rag.
Get your supplies ready: Less touching but more cleaning; that’s the proper way to wash a motorcycle. And for that, you need the right products and materials. These include:
- Sponges – Tough on grime but gentle on finishes and paints
- Brush (preferably an old tooth-brush) – Mostly for the spokes, but use in limited capacity
- Towel or natural chamois – To wipe off excess droplets
- Air blower – Hands-off alternative to towels and chamois
- Cloth and flannel – Initial dry after post washing
- Grease-removal solvent
- Liquid soap
- Bug & tar remover
- Motorcycle Wax
The cleaning process is broken down into three major sections: Pre-cleaning, washing main body, and detailing.
Step 1: Clean the chain
Removing grease helps keep grime from splashing over the body while trying to clean it. Use grease-removal solvent, such as WD-40. Lubricate the chain once you’re done.
Step 2: Clean engine parts.
This step is for non-chrome engine parts. Clean with water and solvent, and use a brush to gently scrub off dirt and debris.
Note: Take care to avoid the bearings and brake lines. Exposure to water can cause problems, among them corrosion.
Step 1: Initial rinse
Using cool water, hose it down to loosen dirt. Rinse as much as you can to ease the process.
Note: Avoid high-pressure sprays to avoid damaging the paint, finishes, and other materials.
Step 2: Remove excess grime
Soak a sponge in water and rub gently over the body. Wipe with elbow grease for better results.
Note: Avoid using detergents, especially when dealing with salt problems.
Step 3: Clean plastic parts
Use soapy water or any approved automobile detergent. Dip in the sponge and wipe the plastic parts.
Step 4: Final Rinse
Wipe off excess water droplets. Use natural chamois, microfiber, or a blower.
Step 5: Buff your seat (optional)
It’s optional, but I recommend it. After all, you want your seat to last longer. Wipe with vinyl or leather protectant depending on the type of seat material.
Step 1: Stubborn bug grime removal
Use bug & tar remover. Once loose, wipe off with a soft sponge.
Step 2: Clean the wheels
Use soapy water and a cloth for aluminium wheels. For chrome wheels, use a chrome cleaner.
Note: Avoid abrasive cleaners. Use brushes only when you’ve run out of options. Even then, scrub gently to avoid damage on the finishes.
Step 3: Waxing
Waxing provides extra protection after a thorough clean. Apply and rub as per the directions. Remember, instructions tend to differ from one product to another.
Step 4: Spray bearings
Use a dedicated spray to protect the bearings. The spray forms a coating that keeps away moisture and dirt.
There you have it, the crucial steps for proper motorcycle cleaning. Follow every detail to the latter to keep your ride looking great. After all, you want a ride that will make heads turn.
I hope this guide saves you the time and hassle involved in the process. But before you go, how about sharing some experience or tips and tricks on washing a motorcycle? Leave it in the comments, and it’s sure to help a fellow rider out there.