Motorcycles are designed to be decently weather resistant. This is especially true with modern bikes that have electronic components on board that are very sensitive to the weather. However, despite the many provisions designed to defend against the elements, components are always prone to wear.
So your motorcycle was left in the rain and now it won’t start? Why? The likely reason your motorcycle won’t start after being left in the rain is because of water entering the carburettors, causing a dilute gas that cannot be ignited. Water can also cause short circuits when it enters essential electrical components such as the ignition system.
Rain and other forms of precipitation can cause some unexpected problems in addition to a wet seat. Prolonged exposure to the elements can create even more problems. This article will go over what to do in these circumstances to clean up and repair the damage. Also, it will cover how to avoid weather damage if a garage is not available.
Why a motorcycle may not start after sitting in the rain
If you left your motorcycle outside, it rained and now it won’t start, you may not know what could be wrong. The problem is probably related to carbohydrates or electricity, since water affects these components more.
The first thing to consider when trying to start your motorcycle after a rain storm is if water got into your carburetors. This is more likely to happen if you have capsule filters rather than an air box.
If the water enters the carbohydrates, it disrupts the air-fuel mixture and mixes with the gas. The diluted gas cannot ignite and start the motorcycle. The best way to combat this is to clean the bowl at the bottom of the carbs and clean the air filter. That should get most of the problem water out of the system.
If you know that the water has not entered the carbohydrates or your motorcycle still does not start, Another possible culprit for why your bike won’t start after a storm is water in the ignition system. Two places that will cause problems are the coils and / or the switch. If water has entered the pickup coils or the magnet, corrosion will short-circuit the coil windings. This will cause a no-spark condition and make the motorcycle very difficult to operate. If a coil is shorted for any reason, it must be replaced.
The ignition switch has small electrical contacts that signal the off, run, and start positions, as well as the accessory position, if equipped. If the ignition switch is acting up, it will probably be impossible to start the bike as the ignition circuit will be interrupted.
While these problems may not be common, it is important to understand the potential problem. Keep your motorcycle dry as much as possible and detect problems before they leave you stranded. Have some WD-40 on hand to spray problem areas.
Is it bad to let a motorcycle get wet?
Aside from being uncomfortable to sit on, letting the bike get wet or raining will not have a dramatic effect on its condition. However, prolonged exposure to rain and weather will generally allow some damage to occur.
A common problem with excess moisture is oxidation, also known as rust. Most of the metals used in motorcycles are reactive to oxygen, but the metal is generally coated or treated to resist this reaction. Some examples are chrome, paint, lubrication, etc. Treating metal works well to protect it, but it is prone to scratching or chipping. When this happens, the metal underneath is exposed to oxygen.
If left untreated, rust will start from the chip or scratch and spread underneath the paint or chrome. This is sometimes called rust or blistering cancer. Depending on the extent of the rust stain, serious repair work may be necessary to correct it.
Some components that are prone to damage are the tires, frame, exhaust tips, shock absorbers and springs, fenders, handlebars, etc. Generally speaking, components that are close to the ground are at higher risk of damage. However, these will normally be built stronger to last longer.
Another component subject to oxidation is the chain. Since the chain sees …