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There is nothing better than riding around on a clean motorcycle. It feels like it’s running better, it handles better, and it just generally feels nice to be on a motorcycle that’s being taken care of. A bike that is clean and well maintained can make it look terrible.
What can we do to prevent rust formation? Routine cleaning and wiping down your motorcycle exhaust is the best thing to do in order to prevent it from rusting. It’s also helpful to occasionally use a degreaser, paint or powder coat the exhaust, or replace it with pipes that are corrosion-resistant.
Your motorcycle’s exhaust system is an essential component. It’s what makes your bike sing, and a well-maintained shiny exhaust can be a real show stopper. Today’s topic will focus on how to prevent your exhaust from rusting and what causes it to form. We also discuss why rusty exhaust can be dangerous. Finally, we will show you how to restore your exhaust to its former glory.
How to Prevent Rusting Exhaust
If you’re looking at preventing your motorcycle exhaust from rusting, then that means that you either have a bike with a new exhaust, or an exhaust that you recently polished. When looking at your exhaust, it is best to maintain it. It’s easier to keep it clean than it is to neglect it and have to restore it or even worse, replace it, later on.
Let’s start with simplest and most common way to keep your exhaust pipe rust free: keeping it clean. Your exhaust is very close to the ground so any ride could lead to contaminants being absorbed and causing damage.
Regular washing of your motorcycle should be a habit. If not, it is worth making an effort to do so every other week. All it takes to clean the pipe is a quick rinse. It is enough to rinse your hair regularly to prevent major problems from developing.
Regular washes should be done with a degreaser, or a heavier cleaner in addition to the rinses.. You might not need to rinse your motorcycle every week, but you could use a rag to clean the exhaust.
To prevent degreaser from getting on your hands, use gloves. It is important to pay attention to any areas that were missed during the rinse. Check for any clamps or welds near the exhaust. It’s easy for dirt or asphalt to sit in the creases or corners of the welds, and this can cause rust over time.
A coating or painting of the exhaust can be done to stop rust from building up on a motorcycle. This is a more complicated process than regular washes. To properly paint an exhaust pipe, it must be completely removed from the motorcycle.
While this is easier for some bikes than others, it can be quite time-consuming to remove an exhaust completely from a motorcycle. Later on I’ll talk more fully about painting a motorcycle exhaust, but just know that it’s a very effective way to prevent rust from forming, especially if you don’t have a chance to wash it regularly or it’s more exposed to the elements.
Finally, one option to prevent rust from forming is buying an after-market exhaust that’s made of higher end materials. Today, many motorcycles use rust-prone metals as their exhaust pipes. But aftermarket manufacturers will use metals which are coated or higher in grade to help prevent the formation.
Keep in mind that this is probably the most expensive option, and there is no guarantee that the new pipes won’t rust, but sometimes, depending on the brand, a new and more expensive exhaust can do a lot to prevent rust from forming.We should all be working toward the rust prevention stage. Just like anything else, it’s cheaper and easier to regularly wash and maintain an exhaust then it is to have to replace it or repair it altogether.
Why can exhaust rust so quickly
The exhaust, just like cars, is the most important thing on a motorcycle. This can lead to multiple problems if we don’t keep an eye on our exhaust’s condition. All exhausts are made from metal, and many of them are made of some form of alloy steel.
Although there are some bikes and cars that use exhausts made of titanium or high-grade metals, they are extremely rare and costly. Like most metals steel is susceptible to rust. Metals oxidize when exposed to water.. This is because the iron in the steel is reacting with the oxygen atoms at the atomic level. Iron oxide is formed when iron and oxygen combine. This is also known by rust.
I know what you’re thinking, my exhaust pipe gets wet all the time, if it’s water that makes it rust, why doesn’t the whole thing just turn orange and fall apart? Rust doesn’t form instantaneously, it takes a little bit of time for the reaction to happen. And more frequently, the time it takes for the bike to dry isn’t long enough to create rust.
When water remains in the exhaust for too long, it can be a problem. Water can get trapped between the exhaust and mud, asphalt or other substances. This can cause water to remain trapped in the exhaust for long enough to cause rust.
If you get mud or debris on your bike, you don’t need to panic and wash it off immediately, but it is something that you should address pretty quickly before it becomes a problem.
How can exhaust be replaced?
The performance of your motorcycle is affected greatly by its exhaust pipe. Cracked exhaust pipes can produce a loud sound and can also make the motorcycle feel underpowered, especially if it is newer.
We are now seeing more technology integrated into computer systems on newer bikes to make them run more efficiently. For a long time we had bikes that used carbureted fuel delivery, and I’m sure anyone who knows about carburetors also knows of their short falls. Fuel injection was a standard feature in bikes not too long ago.
Modern motorcycles have more sophisticated sensors that monitor fuel consumption and fuel delivery. There are oxygen sensors on bikes to monitor the condition and adjust the fuel trims.
This is a way of saying that exhausts are designed to close from the headers up to the muffler. Any interruption in this path could cause engine damage. You should replace your exhaust as soon you notice cracks, splits, or holes in it. You can always repair the system, but it is generally cheaper to replace the entire system if your aren’t an experienced welder.
How to Freshen Up Your Aging Exhaust Systems
Let’s say that you aren’t at the point of prevention but more at the point of repair. Maybe that’s because you haven’t maintained the exhaust, or maybe recently purchased a bike that is in need of an exhaust repair. What’s the first step in repairing the system?
First, inspect the unit thoroughly. Is it worthwhile to repair? Are there cracks or dents in the surface? Is it just surface rust? It is crucial to answer these questions to determine if we need to replace or fix an exhaust.
It is possible to repair it if you inspect it. This is not something that can be done quickly. While it might take some elbow grease and pads to repair any surface rust, most of the time it is possible. It is possible to use drill attachments and power tools to reach the deeper or harder to reach places.
You should be aware of the heat exhaust pipes are exposed to if you plan on painting. You will not be able to use normal paint or mild temperature paint on your exhaust. It is best to use very high-temperature paint to prevent it from cracking or burning up. It’s always best to consult a professional when painting something as difficult as an exhaust. Ask around at your local powder coating shop to find out if they are familiar with exhausts.
The exhaust is an important component of your motorcycle and should be checked and maintained just like other parts.