You’d think that when your motorcycle is parked in your garage, it’s safe from the ravages of decay. It turns out, the opposite might be true—depending on the garage environment. Rust, corrosion, mold, and fuel decay can all attack your motorcycle while it’s parked in your garage.
Rust is known as the “tin worm” to classic motorcycle collectors. If left unchecked over time, it’ll destroy steel and iron. The electro-chemical process that turns ferrous metals to rust requires the presence of oxygen and water—both present in the air around your bike.
Many motorcycles have parts made from aluminum or various metal alloys, which might be susceptible to corrosion. Moisture is the biggest factor in causing corrosion. High humidity and the presence of salts or byproducts of gasoline combustion like sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides accelerate the damage. So, if you store your motorcycle in a garage where you also park a car driven in the winter, you’re providing corrosion accelerators.
Mold causes the biodegradation of natural materials like leather saddles, saddlebags, and riding gear. It’s spread by spores that are all around us and remain dormant until they find a moist place to grow in temperatures as low as 40 degrees.
Water vapor from the air inside your garage also gets into your fuel tank. With E-10 fuel, that water vapor will be absorbed by the ethanol in the gas. The water and ethanol will quickly decay your fuel to the point of being hazardous to your engine and fuel system.
The amount of water vapor in the air is referred to as relative humidity and is expressed as a percentage. The temperature where that water condenses out of the air is the dew point. So how do they affect your bike in a garage?
At best, most garages where we store our motorcycles are only partially heated during the winter season. As temperatures fall, water vapor condenses onto cool surfaces. Just like you find morning dew on your motorcycle when parked outside, water condenses on your motorcycle in a damp garage.
But there is a way to protect your bike from the water vapor in your garage— with a dehumidifier. It can help slow or prevent rust, corrosion, mold, and fuel decay.
They work much like an air conditioner by circulating air across cooling coils, creating condensation that removes moisture from the air. And while an air conditioner vents the heat that’s removed outside, a dehumidifier reheats the air and sends it back into the room.
One thing to keep in mind—dehumidifiers can become less effective in cold conditions, so make sure you pick one that’ll work at the coldest average temperature in your garage.
Till next time, ride safe!
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