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Maintaining motorcycles can be quite a chore because it takes effort on our part. How about the preventative maintenance they might not be aware of that could affect them?
A motorcycle can suffer some damage if it isn’t remembered or neglected. Many people don’t realize the effect certain weather can have on a motorcycle, even if it’s a nice and sunny day. The sun can have a significant impact on motorcycles, contrary to popular belief.
Is it a bad idea to leave your motorcycle out in the sun? It’s okay to leave a motorcycle outside in the sun occasionally. A motorcycle left in the sun for too long can damage the paint and rubber, as well as the motorbike’s fuel.
The sun rises, and we motorcycle owners are motivated to get out on our bikes and take a ride. It is essential to understand the effects of the sun on motorcycles so that you can prevent damage and how to maintain it.
Here’s What Happens When You Leave A Motorcycle In The Sun
A motorcyclist wouldn’t expect sun damage to their motorcycle. Motorcycles aren’t humans, so how can the heat and rays from the sun impact a machine such as this?
Most of us don’t realize that the sun can damage a motorcycle even when it’s not a hot day. It does require consistent sun exposure to cause this kind of damage.
First, if you’re motorcycle is normally stored inside a garage, shed, or somewhere similar and you’ve taken it out for a few hours or parked it in a parking lot for a while right under the sun, you’re probably okay. Occasional exposure to the sun isn’t going to harm your motorcycle.
Your motorcycle does become impacted by the sun when it’s constantly in the sun, meaning you have it stored and/or parked outside as it’s permanent parking spot.
The first concern about constant sun exposure is the damage to your motorcycle’s paint, particularly the gas tank. The clear coating on the tank is first destroyed by the UV rays.
This is something you probably won’t notice at first until it completely gets eaten away and starts to chip. The clear coat will begin chipping and the paint beneath will be exposed. “dying” The paint, or fading it.
Above is a 1980 Yamaha XS850 that I bought in 2013. It had been left outside for quite some time, and you can clearly see the effects the sun had on it. It needed to be completely sanded down and painted.
Next, you need to check for any rubber or plastic on your motorcycle. These include tires, handle grips and foot peg covers. Rubber acts differently when it’s left in heat. When an element is heated up, it usually expands.
Rubber, on the other side, contracts with heat. Though this usually doesn’t cause a problem, if you have too much air in your tires the contraction of the rubber in your tires could potentially cause your tire to blow while you’re out riding.
You should be concerned about any rubber or plastic that you have on your motorcycle. This is due to the UV rays of the sun. The UV rays of the sun have a tendency quickly to degrade rubber and plastic. So when you leave your motorcycle out in the sun constantly, you’ll probably have to end up getting new tires, handle grips, and foot pegs sooner than you thought.
Gasoline is volatile and can evaporate very quickly. Gas that is exposed to heat quickly evaporates, and it becomes a gas. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it’s also bad for your wallet.
Gas sitting there evaporating means that it’s gas you’re buying but not actually using in your motorcycle. So if you notice you’re getting worse gas mileage during the summer and you keep your motorcycle out in the sun a lot, you’ll know where some of that gas is going.
The sun can also affect genuine leather seats on motorcycles. Leather can be damaged by heat and UV rays. This can make it more susceptible to tearing and cracking. Fake leather may show the same symptoms, but it can be much quicker because it has a plastic base.
A video series that I created shows how to completely restore a motorcycle, from start to finish. This video series covers body work like repainting the tank, the frame, and cleaning up the wheels. Click here for more information if you’re interested in giving your motorcycle a nice makeover!
How to Protect Your Motorcycle from the Sun
I understand that some of you have no choice but to leave your motorcycle stored outside whether it’s the winter or the summer usually because there’s no garage or shed available. I’ve been there many times myself.
You can protect your motorcycle against these damages if you must keep it outside or if it is your primary source of transport.
Finding a parking space that is mostly shaded is the first and most obvious solution. It’s pretty phenomenal how much a little bit of shade can help your motorcycle out. If you’re parking in a parking lot, you may have to go out of your way a little and walk an extra distance to do this, but it’ll save you money in the long run.
You can also get a motorcycle gas tanks shield. This covers your gas tank from the UV rays and has heat reflectors which slow down the process of gas tank evaporation.
You will need to treat your leather seat with a leather conditioner, and you should clean it at least once per week if it is exposed to the sun. The conditioner treatment and cleaning will make it withstand the sun’s rays during the day.
A cover is the best way for your motorcycle to be protected from the sun. It can be quite annoying if you’re constantly on the road with your motorcycle. It can also be carried on your rides.
However, motorcycle covers are essential to protect motorcycles from the sun. You can take care your motorcycle. Click here to read an article that I wrote about my recommendations for motorcycle insurance.
How to store a motorcycle outside in hot weather
Though storing a motorcycle outside during the summer doesn’t seem the most ideal, it is completely possible and thousands of people do it every year.
Park it first under shade, if possible. If shade isn’t available, park it in a place that’s less susceptible to heat, i.e. Avoid parking it against the building or apartment.
Regularly clean and wax your motorcycle. It can get caked by heat, which can cause dirt, grease, and grime to stick to the cover. This can make it very difficult later. This will prevent the cover’s from being rubbed on or scratched.
Regularly condition the seat whether it’s real leather or not. Routinely inspect the tires and make sure it has the right tire pressure and that there aren’t any cracks forming.
Last but not the least, ensure that there is a cover for it when it is not in use. You should make sure your motorcycle has a cover that protects it from rain and other elements.
What to do if the sun has damaged your motorcycle?
The sun’s damage is mostly cosmetic. Usually motorcycle engines don’t have a problem being in the heat because they heat up anyway when they’re running. The same goes for gaskets.
If you’ve noticed your gas is evaporating like crazy in the summer heat, You might consider changing your gas cap. The seal on the cap should be effective to reduce evaporation.
You should immediately replace your tires if you see cracks. Cracks will possibly cause it to blow while you’re out riding which can be potentially hazardous.
Unfortunately, there’s no other way to fix a faded gas tank other than simply repainting it. But painting a motorcycle tank yourself actually isn’t that hard nor is it expensive. I’ve painted hundreds of gas tanks without any training, and they turned out beautiful. Click here to read an article about the best paint for motorcycle gas tanks. The article also contains instructions on how it should be painted.
Can you paint a frame on a motorcycle without taking out the engine? It’s possible to paint a motorcycle frame even if the engine is removed. You will need to thoroughly clean the frame, carefully tape off anything that you don’t want paint on, sand any parts as needed, then paint. This article will provide more details.
What damage can snow or rain do to a motorcycle’s frame? Although it’s okay for a motorcycle to get wet, too much water can cause metal parts to rust. The engine can also be affected by condensation, which can lead to mechanical problems.