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Washing your motorcycle isn’t as easy as you might think, and doing it incorrectly will often end up with you trying to figure out why it won’t start. Motorcycles can be delicate, and because all the electronics and ignition components are exposed, it’s important to take extra care when washing your motorcycle.
Why won’t a motorcycle start after washing it? It is possible for a motorcycle to not start after being washed. A hose or other pressurized washing process can force water into these important components. The bike will have to dry properly before it can be started again.
Each motorcycle is unique, so each one may have different washing needs. Make sure that when you wash your motorcycle, you take the right preventative measures so that you aren’t risking water reaching sensitive components. Which is the best way of washing your motorcycle? Which areas should you be extra cautious about? What do you do when the motorcycle won’t start after washing it? These questions and more will be answered at the end.
Reasons It Won’t Start After Washing
As I mentioned earlier, water getting into places that it shouldn’t is the number one reason your motorcycle may not start. Whether you use pressure washing or water spraying, water can seep down into the bike’s parts and reach switches or other connections. This could cause it to stop starting. Let me tell you how this happens.
Let’s start at the ignition switch. Turn the key and flip on the engine start switch. Depending on your motorcycle’s generation, you will hear the fuel pump whistling.
The next step is to pull in the clutch, push the start button and wait for your starter to engage. It will turn the bike over. While the starter turns the fuel injectors will be putting in gas, and spark plugs will be firing. Once the bike turns over, you make sure it’s in neutral, release the clutch, and then either wait for it to warm up or hit the road.
There are many moving parts that cause a motorcycle’s to turn, and each is critical to get it started. The spark plugs, engine intake and fuel injector are all there. But, you also have the fuel pumps, fuel injectors, and starter motor connectors.
The motorcycle will not start if it is in contact with water. When you are struggling to start your bike, it’s important to troubleshoot so that you can narrow down the reason for failure.
Are you able to hear the fuel pump click? Is the starter clicking? Are you able to hear the starter click? Does the kick stand down? These questions will help you identify the problem with starting.
While it can be frustrating to have problems washing your motorcycle, they are usually not very dangerous and are easily avoided.
How to Get Your Motorcycle Starting After Washing It
Alright, let’s say that after you’ve given it a good wash, you’re trying to get on your motorcycle and head out, but your motorcycle isn’t starting. What can you do?
It is important to ensure that your motorcycle is clean and dry. This might seem like a “no duh” factor, but there are many crevasses to a motorcycle that are probably wet that you don’t know about.
Take off the seat and dry off everything that’s underneath it. You can inspect the fuse box or battery to ensure that everything is dry. You can also try to shake the bike a little bit from side to side to see if any water is sitting on a connection somewhere that you can’t see.
If your motorcycle won’t start and you have some time, just give it a little while to dry off. It could be that water got on the spark plugs or into the air filters. If it’s outside, let the sun heat it up and dry it off before you continue to try to turn it over.
Although this can be frustrating, it is necessary to remain patient. It’s hard to know exactly where the water is, but Let it dry completely before you ride it again. This is why I recommend washing your motorcycle on a day that you don’t need to use it.
If you’re still experiencing problems starting even after your motorcycle has dried out, then you need to further inspect the starting system. Are there enough batteries? Does the starter motor turn but the engine doesn’t start? Is the fuel tank full? Is the clutch safety switch not working properly?
It is important to inspect every part of the bike, from the intake to your clutch. Check the wires, and perhaps the fuse.. It could have caused a short circuit if water came in contact with a power source. This would have resulted in a fuse blowing.
You can find out more about the operation of fuses on motorcycles by clicking here.
How to Wash Your Motorcycle Properly
It is easy to wash a motorcycle. Just make sure you take all the necessary precautions before you begin. When getting your bike ready, it’s important to protect the parts of it that relate directly to the ignition and electronics.
Start with the intake if it is possible. Simpler options include a Shopping bag and rubber bandTo prevent water getting in. Do the same with the battery and fuses.
Take a look around your motorcycle to find any electrical connections that are not covered up. A good tip that I’ve learned is placing a rag at the back of the gas tank between the tank and the seat. This way water won’t run down and get over some of the harder to reach spots.
You can rinse the bike off once you feel you have covered everything.. I do what’s called the two bucket method When I wash a motorcycle. I begin with a light rinse. I don’t use a pressure washer or bucket to rinse my bike. A garden hose fitted with a light shower attachment is a good option. This will allow you to simply rinse away any grime.
Then I take a bucket, put some automotive soap in it, and mix it with water so that it’s frothy. Then I use microfiber cloths to wipe the bike. Make sure to wring out the towel first, so you don’t have too much water getting all over the bike.
After every dunk, I clean the rag off in the other bucket that I have, thus it’s called the two bucket method. I like to dunk the towel twice before I take it out and put it aside for later cleaning. I then use a new towel. This helps prevent dirt and sand from getting on the bike. After my bike feels clean, I rinse it with water and use a hose to rinse again. I then use towels to lightly wipe off any excess water.
It’s important to be light and gentle to your motorcycle when cleaning it. This will prevent water from splashing on it and will prolong the life of your paint. Once everything has dried, remove all plastic.
Can washing a motorcycle ever ruin it?
As long as you take care, washing a motorcycle won’t cause it to break down.. Inadvertently leaking water through the intake can cause serious damage.
Take your time, be cautious. It can be tempting to rush and just spray the bike off head to toe, but remember that the reward of washing your motorcycle quickly isn’t worth the risk that it presents.