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Can You Leave Your Dirt Bike in the Rain?

It isn’t surprising to hear some dirt bike enthusiasts, owners, and riders ask: “Can you leave your dirt bike in the rain?” After all, not everyone who owns or wants to own a dirt bike lives in a home or an apartment with a covered garage. Needless to say, they worry that the money they invested in their dirt bikes would be put to waste once they get exposed to rainwater.

So, can you leave your dirt bike in the rain? Dirt bikes are made to be ridden on unpredictable and rough terrains and climates or weather conditions. They have shielded air intakes, concealed electrical plugs, and other special designs. So, yes, you can leave your dirt bike in the rain.

However, there are several considerations you should keep in mind before you decide to leave your dirt bike soaking in the rain. Fret not because today, we’ll learn how long your dirt bike should be outside under the rain and when you can and can’t leave it outdoors unprotected. I will also provide some tips on protecting your dirt bike from the rain.

Wet Dirt Bike Parked on a Rainy Trail

Can a Dirt Bike Get Rained On?

As noted, the answer to this question is quite complicated because it can’t be a straight or definite “Yes.” There is a “but,” “only if,” and similar words attached to it.

That said, here are several answers to the question, “Can you leave your dirt bike in the rain?“:

Yes, but don’t leave it under the rain for too long.

Leaving your dirt bike out in the pouring rain is acceptable for a few hours or one to two days. Specifically, one to two days when it isn’t raining the whole day, but only around three to four hours when it’s raining nonstop from morning until evening.

No, when it’s raining (even snowing) heavily.

Of course, you must also consider how strong or heavy the rain is before leaving your bike for even a few hours under the rain. Drizzles and light rains are okay.

But when it starts to rain heavily, it’s time to find a way to protect your dirt bike from the rain. After all, you will not only need to keep it safe from the heavy rain but also from the wind and other elements that the wind might blow away.

Parking it in a covered or roofed area is highly recommended. Consider asking your neighbor if you can park it in their garage while it’s raining heavily or during stormy days.

That said, your best bet is a paid-parking covered area near your home. Before you even buy or as soon as you have a dirt bike, it’s a good idea to start scouting for such establishments around your neighborhood.

Yes, but make sure you let it dry immediately.

Like with maintaining your dirt bike, you must make sure you dry your dirt bike as soon as possible. Grab a clean, microfiber, absorbent towel and wipe your bike’s exterior. Not only will this remove any water present. Doing so also helps prevent your bike’s windshield, mirrors, and frames from having those nasty, distracting water spots.

When the weather permits, it’s also best to ride and drive your dirt bike even if you’re not going anywhere. The wind blowing through the bike will help dry out moisture and water in its nooks and crannies. The engine’s heat will also help dry the bike’s damp parts.

Otherwise, you can grab your portable, cordless leaf blower (view on Amazon) and aim it at your dirt bike’s parts that you can’t easily dry with a piece of cloth. This outdoor appliance can help suck out some of the moisture away from your dirt bike.

Will Rain Ruin My Bike?

Dirt Bike Motorcycle Parked Outside

Undoubtedly, rain can ruin your dirt bike, especially if you allow it to soak in rainwater for long periods. The damage the rainwater will cause will depend on your dirt bike’s quality and age.

Low-quality dirt bikes can get damaged more quickly than higher-quality ones. Likewise, newer models, specifically five- to ten-year-olds, have better sealing than dirt bikes that are 20 years old and above.

So, what are the specific damages you’ll expect when you leave your dirt bike far too long under the rain or without drying its parts as and when needed? Here they are:

  • Rust Formation
  • Part Breakdown
  • Water in the Engine

Rust Formation

Basic science tells us that when any metal gets exposed to water, rust is created. While most dirt bikes have waterproof finishing and seals, they’re not 100% protected from chips, bumps, scratches, scuffs, wear, tears, and more. These issues weaken the affected parts, giving water a way to seep through the internal components of your dirt bike.

Part Breakdown

As mentioned, rust will weaken the structure of the affected metal component of your dirt bike. Thus, in due time, the rusty metal parts will break down when not managed or corrected.

Apart from that, a high amount of rainwater or prolonged exposure of the bike to rainwater will allow water to seep through the dirt bike’s switchgear. In this situation, you will have trouble starting your bike, which can be temporary and resolved by drying out the part.

But, depending on how long it was exposed to rainwater and how much water it got soaked into, the switchgear can be permanently non-functional. Thus, you will need to replace the switchgear or any part, causing it not to function.

Water in the Engine

Once the rainwater starts to enter the nooks and crannies, it isn’t impossible for it to reach your dirt bike’s engine. This is one of the biggest and most expensive problems you might face when your bike or any part gets submerged or exposed to water for long periods.

What happens if you get water in your dirt bike engine?

When the rainwater enters the engine, you’ll soon notice some electrical problems—for instance, horn and light indicator issues. Why, you may ask? Well, rusty connections won’t conduct electricity, leading to the disruption or breaking of the electric circuit.

Starting your dirt bike will also become troublesome once the rainwater reaches its carburetor float bowl. Your bike will also begin to stall when you give your dirt bike a gas.

Of course, water can also enter the fuel and oil tanks. Fuel mixed with water will prevent your dirt bike from starting.

Meanwhile, the rainwater will make the motor oil less viscous and compromises the oil’s protective qualities. Since the oil lubricates most, if not all, the internal components of your bike, it can lead to some of its parts rusting. Since the oil also works as a transmission lubricant and clutch bath, it can cause damage to the transmission and clutch plate once the diluted oil reaches the said parts.

If that’s not enough, the dirt bike’s brake and clutch will become non-functional once the rainwater-contaminated oil reaches the hydraulic lines. That’s because the water changes the hydraulic fluid’s properties, as it’s hydrophilic.

Should I Cover My Bike in the Rain?

Rider Checking His Dirt Bike

While you can leave your dirt bike in the rain for a few hours or days, it is best to protect it from rainwater completely. If you don’t have a covered area to park, I recommend covering it, whether it’s a rainy, snowy, or sunny day.

foldable, heavy-duty, waterproof, UV-resistant motorcycle shed (view on Amazon) is an ideal investment. But if your landlord or landlady won’t allow it or you don’t have enough space, a high-quality motorcycle cover (view on Amazon) is your next best option.

How about a tarp? Well, you can also use it to create a DIY shed for your dirt bike. Just make sure it will hold against strong winds, rain, and even snow.

You can also use it as an alternative cover, but you must watch out for condensation that can damage your bike. This trapped moisture can lead to mildew and rust formation, which is what you’re trying to avoid in the first place. It means a tarp can only work for drizzles or light rains for a short time.

It goes without saying that if you want to protect your dirt bike, which you’ve spent your money on, it’s also highly recommended that you invest in the proper protective gear or items for it.

Are There Other Ways To Protect My Dirt Bike From the Rain?

Apart from investing in a good motorcycle shelter or cover, there are other steps you can take to protect your dirt bike from rainwater damage. The following recommendations are also beneficial when driving your dirt bike during rainy days or in puddles:

  • Lubricate Small Parts
  • Rub the Rust Away and Lubricate
  • Lubricate Chipped Areas

Lubricate Small Parts

Whether or not it’s been raining, you must lubricate your dirt bike’s chain and sprockets weekly. You must also do so each time it gets exposed to rainwater (or any type of water). While it’s recommended to use a chain lubricant, WD-40 will work perfectly fine.

Applying lubricant to the exposed bolts and nuts and dielectric grease to exposed electrical connectors is also ideal. I also advise spraying the switchgear’s interior with WD-40 to help dispel the moisture present.

Rub the Rust Away and Lubricate

Proper maintenance of your dirt bike includes inspecting every nook and cranny regularly. While doing so, check for any rust, which is very common in the exhaust pipes, rims, and fork legs.

If you see any signs of rusting, no matter how small it is, rub it away gently. Apply a small amount of WD-40 to a clean Scotch-Brite pad and rub it gently to the rust present. Once done, apply a very thin film of WD-40 to help prevent rust reappearance.

Lubricate Chipped Areas

Like with rusty parts, any chipped area of your dirt bike can allow water to seep through. You’ll commonly find chips in the bike’s chrome-plated parts, battery or battery terminals, and other metal parts.

Hence, applying lubricant to any of the chipped parts is ideal. I highly recommend CRC Industries 3-36, but you can also use petroleum jelly and WD-40.

So, Can You Leave Your Dirt Bike in the Rain?

Overall, your dirt bike can withstand short exposure to rainwater for a certain period, depending on how strong the rain is. However, when left soaking in rainwater, expect damage to your dirt bike; most are even irreparable! That is even if you have the most expensive, highest quality dirt bike brand and model.

Needless to say, an owner’s neglect will cause more damage to a dirt bike than exposure to drizzles and heavy rain. As such, make sure you clean and dry your dirt bike ASAP. While part of regular dirt bike maintenance, you must also lubricate most of its parts before it rains. Hence, it’s good practice to stay updated about the weather.

But to ultimately protect your dirt bike from the rain and other elements, invest in a good-quality motorcycle shed or cover if you don’t have a covered garage or parking area.