Want to keep your motorcycle looking and working great? Frequently cleaning your motorcycle will not only enhance its appearance but will also improve the general performance and extend the useful life of many critical components. Follow these simple tips for cleaning your motorcycle.
Before cleaning your motorcycle be sure to block off the end of the exhaust pipe(s) to prevent water from entering. A plastic bag and strong rubber band may be used if you don’t have an exhaust plug. Universal Exhaust plugs are available from most motorcycle dealers.
Remove the air filter or protect it from water with a plastic bag – if the air filter is due for a cleaning now is a good time to clean and re-oil it. See your service manual for your specific oil filter servicing procedure.
Make sure the spark plug(s), gas cap, oil filler cap, engine oil level gauge cap and battery caps are properly installed so that no water can enter the engine.
If the engine cases are excessively greasy, apply engine degreaser with a brush – an old tooth brush works great. Do not apply degreaser to the chain, sprockets, or wheel axles as it can destroy the seals and strip out the lubricant.
Rinse all dirt and de-greaser off with a garden hose, using only enough water pressure to do the job. Be careful if you are using a pressure washer as water that is forced into the wheel bearings, front forks, brake or engine transmission seals will contaminate these assemblies and may rust them out. I had a good friend that would clean his bike at the car wash and would go through wheel bearings on a regular basis. His bike was clean but he spent allot of money on bearings until he wised up.
When the bulk of the dirt and grim has been hosed off, wash all surfaces with warm water and mild, detergent-type soap. Again, an old tooth brush is great for reaching those hard-to-get-to places.
Rinse the motorcycle off immediately with clean water and dry all surfaces with a chamois skin, clean towel, or soft absorbent cloth.
Immediately after washing, remove excess moisture from chain and lubricate it with chain lube to prevent rust.
Chrome-plated parts such as handlebars, rims, spokes, forks, and accessories may be further cleaned with automotive chrome polish.
Clean the seat with a vinyl upholstery cleaner to keep the cover pliable and glossy.
Automotive-type wax may be applied to all painted and chrome-plated surfaces. Avoid combination cleaner-waxes. Many contain abrasives which may scratch paint or protective finishes on fuel and side covers.
After finishing, (be sure to re-install your air filter or remove any plastic bags covering it) start the engine immediately and allow it to idle for several minutes. This will allow excess water to vibrate free and the engine heat will dry any water hidden out of site. It’s a good idea to make sure the engine will run before leaving it to sit anyway.
Spend the money and get yourself a good motorcycle cover.