When it comes to motorcycle winterization, a temperature-controlled environment is safer than leaving your bike outside, exposed to precipitation and UV rays. Yet not everyone has the same options for winter storage.

Whether in a garage or securely covered in the driveway, you assume your motorcycle will be safe throughout the cold season but the risk of condensation increases under a cover.

Condensation can accumulate underneath, resulting in rust, corrosion and mold after months in one place. Learn how you can keep your motorcycle protected this winter.

How Condensation Occurs Under a Cover

cover on parked motorcycleThe air contains a percentage of water vapor, known as relative humidity. When the temperature drops, water vapor gathers on cool surfaces.

A motorcycle cover can trap moist air underneath that starts to condense when the air temperature rises, but the bike’s metal parts are still cool. As a result, it might appear as if the cover is leaking.

The condensation cycle may be intensified by the ground below, particularly with dirt or cement that absorbs moisture. Especially in New England, snowfall can also increase the amount of moisture that may gather below a motorcycle cover.

What Can Happen As a Result of Condensation

If this process goes unchecked, you may be dealing with more issues than the condensation itself. Other potential damage includes:

  • Rust: May affect the metal or damage the gas tank. A rusted tank can decrease fuel economy, affect how fluids flow through the bike or cause pressure buildup.
  • Corrosion: Can be accelerated by rock salt or substances like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide – two byproducts of the engine’s combustion process.
  • Mold: Can start to form on non-metal components.
  • Fuel Breakdown: Water vapor gets inside the gas tank and mixes with ethanol.

What You Can Do to Reduce Condensation

To decrease the chances of condensation occurring:

  • Look for a motorcycle cover made of breathable, water-resistant fabric or a waterproof material equipped with vents on top. This lets warm air escape, which lessens the formation of condensation.
  • Leave some space at the bottom of the cover near the wheels to let air escape. Fully covering your motorcycle can lock moisture inside.
  • Periodically remove the cover while the bike is in storage to dry off the material.
  • If possible, keep the storage unit above freezing temperatures.
  • Consider adding a portable fan to your garage to help circulate air.
  • Place your bike on a piece of wood, cardboard, carpet or large plastic sheet, rather than dirt or concrete to reduce condensation from the ground.
  • When applying a cover, make sure your bike is fully dry, cool and free of debris.
  • Remove air moisture with a dehumidifier to prevent rust, corrosion and mold.

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