The monsoons have set in and long ride plans will temporarily need to be shelved due to the onslaught of the rains. Your bike is likely to be spending more time standing in covered parking while you switch to more sheltered means of transportation during the season. With damp air comes the risk of every biker’s worst nightmare coming true- rusting of the shiny parts on your bike. You wouldn’t want to see your precious baby suffering due to lack of preventive steps taken by you, would you? Well, here are some practical tips to keep your bike looking shiny and new regardless of the damp weather.
Tip #1: Prevent rust beforehand
As a smart rider, you should take proper care and spend time on some preventive maintenance before the monsoons set in. Ensure that your chain is well lubricated and in a clean condition. Battery terminals should be coated ith grease or petroleum jelly to ensure that moisture does not get a chance to set in. Also, the rubber oil seals on your front suspension should be in perfect condition. Ideally they should also be coated with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent rush formation there. In case of chrome parts, it’s always a good idea to coat them with anti-rust solution well beforehand.
Tip #2: Watch where you park
Avoid parking your bike in exposed areas. Preferably park it in covered dry areas which offer protection from the elements. In case parking in exposed, open areas is inevitable, ensure that your bike is covered up with a protective rain cover or plastic to prevent raindrops from getting to the shiny bits.
Tip #3: In rust we trust
According to Murphy’s Law if something is bound to go wrong, it will. Going by that dictum, it is possible that in spite of many efforts taken to avoid rust formation, sooner or later it is bound to crop up somewhere or the other. It is only fair that one knows how to deal with rust and remove it before it spreads further and eventually corrodes the whole metal. Always keep steel wool, old toothbrushes, sand paper or kitchen scrub pads close at hand along with metal polish and anti-rust polish.
The trick is to start gently with a rough abrasive like steel wool. Ensure that it is done after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned and dried. Make sure that the steel wool is lubricated with metal polish or rust remover before you start working the product in. Start with circular motions switching to lateral motions depending on the area to be covered and amount of rust. Once most of the flaky bits of rust are out, switch to a finer abrasive. Sandpaper is best but kitchen scrub pads will also do. Smaller areas and hard to reach areas can be cleaned with a toothbrush too. Make sure that these are also well lubricated with product. Once you have removed the rust, there are bound to be scratches. Wash and clean the treated surface properly first and fill these scratches in with some good quality chrome polish and buff the surface well.
Tip #4: Go Desi
In case you cannot get your hands on metal polish or rust remover, despair not. We are Indian bikers right? We are experts at innovation. There are many alternative remedies available right in your home that you can use easily. The most common one being lemon juice. Yes, lemon juice- you heard right!! If you remember high school chemistry you might remember that lemon juice is nothing but citric acid. It works wonders on rust, eats right through it in fact. Replace the metal polish with lemon juice in the earlier mentioned process and follow the exact process as mentioned above. There are various alternatives too; you could use plain old baking soda with water to form a past and use that as another option. Another trick is to use white vinegar and aluminum foil since that works too. Make sure though that you are careful not to spill any of these onto the non-rusted bits since most of these ingredients are corrosive by nature. You don’t want to end up with the added headache of corrosion on non rusted parts.
Tip #5: Wash and wax your baby!!
Don’t forget to wash your bike and keep it well waxed in any event. Whether you have just removed rust or whether you don’t have any rush problems yet, wax is your savior. Not only does it protect the surface and prevent rust buildup, it also helps to keep the recently treated surface glossy and shiny as ever.