Motorcycle washing is not as easy as it sounds. Well, not unless you want to wash it just for the good looks. Giving your motorcycle a thorough cleaning not only protects your bike’s paint and prevent corrosion but also gives you an opportunity to check for any structural or connection faults. While many bike owners prefer commercial washing facilities washing your motorcycle yourself is highly recommended. This is mainly because commercial washing facilities in some cases may damage bike parts especially with the high-pressure hoses and harsh detergents used in the cleaning.
On top of it, relying on commercial washing facilities can be a bit expensive compared to doing the cleaning ritual yourself.
How to wash a motorcycle by yourself
Know when to wash your motorcycle
While there is a ton of advice out there on washing a motorcycle, one of the most fundamental things to consider before embarking on motorcycle washing is when to wash it.
If the motorcycle’s engine is still hot from use, it is recommended that you give it time to cool down. Otherwise, the sudden temperature change from spraying cold water on hot engine or pipes can greatly damage the metal parts or cause engine blocks to crack, which may, in turn, be costly to repair.
Additionally, you should avoid washing your motorcycle in direct sunlight as this may cause detergents to dry on the motorcycle surfaces before you can rinse them off. Water streaks, which are normally hard to clean, can also form on the surface especially if the bike is prayed with cold water when still hot.
Motorcycle washing like any other task requires adequate preparation to ensure that you have everything needed to get the job done in one step.
First, you need to have a sufficient water supply. It goes without saying, a lot of water is needed in giving your bike a sparkling clean. From the initial water spray down so as to loosen the grime and exoskeleton, to mixing the wash solution and rinsing off the detergents, it is clear enough water is needed to get the job done and done right.
Secondly, you will need soap or liquid detergent, wheel cleaners and wax for good cleaning results. However, you should take great caution when choosing the ideal detergent for cleaning your motorcycle.
Some washing detergent may be too acidic and thus may adversely damage the paint. It is, therefore, a good idea to use motorcycle washing detergents from a reputable company. The wax works just like sunscreen and protects the bike’s paint from harmful UV rays.
Lastly, you will need a sponge to clean the surfaces, a brush to scrub the tires and spokes and a clean towel to dry off the surface after rinsing. You might also consider having microfibers or cotton sponges which are ideal for trapping leftover dust and finishing touches.
The motorcycle washing process
Anybody can wash a motorcycle but it requires unwavering attention to details to get it done correctly. Before you start spraying down water on your bike, check whether all the electrical connections, spark plug wires, bearings, and other such components are secured. Using a rag or a rubber glove plug the exhaust hole of your motorcycle, to keep the water off your exhaust system.
If your bike is really dirty, you might consider first splashing it with plain water and let the bike soak for a few minutes. At this point, you might be tempted to use high-pressure water to get the worst of the grime off. However, be careful when using it as this may force water into electrics, chain, and crevices where it can pool and cause corrosion.
When cleaning it is always a good idea to start with the painted surfaces first, scrubbing small surfaces of the bike at a time to prevent scraping of the paint especially when the cleaning sponge is encrusted with dust. Later, you can then start cleaning the tires and spoke with a stiff brush.
Getting the hard parts cleaned
When you think of “motorcycle wash” what comes to the mind of most people is cleaning the motorcycle painted surface and the wheels. But what about the cleaning the sensitive parts of the bike like the chrome and matte finishes, chain and sensitive engine components?
Each of these parts requires a special kind of cleaning so as to avoid damaging them. For the engine components, you will need old paintbrush that is soft enough not to scratch the components. The chrome and matte finishes are best cleaned with a microfiber material or an abrasive rag.
As much as it might be tempting to wash your motorcycle’s chain with pressured water, especially with all the grime and dirt stuck on it, it may damage the chain’s performance. This is simply because the water penetrates through the rings and links pushing in dirt and grime.
Using special chain cleaning products and stiff brushes is one of the simplest ways of cleaning your bike’s chain. Although this method may not clean the chain entirely, it will, however, make it possible to spot the areas that need extra attention from you.
Rinsing and Drying
Rinsing and drying should happen almost immediately after motorcycle washing. This will help prevent the detergents drying on your motorcycle leaving swirls and streak that are hard to remove.
So make sure you splash water on the motorcycle from all the angles while paying attention to electric and the engine area. When it comes to drying your washed motorcycle, there are a couple of options to choose from. You might use a leaf blower or simply use a clean towel to dry your motorcycle. Most bike owners prefer using a leaf blower since it saves you the energy and reduces swirls.
Once you have dried, be sure to start the bike and let it run to help evaporate any residual moisture. Alternatively, you can take a ride which is a more fun way of finishing off the drying process.
It is important to note that the chain requires to be lubricated mainly due to the water that may have been undoubtedly splashed to it during the cleaning process. It is for the same reasons you ought to re-lube the lubed parts of your motorcycle, which also helps to maintain a healthy performance.
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