heavy duty motorcycle cover with VCI for garage storage

Why You Need a Heavy Duty Motorcycle Cover – Even With Garage Storage

Motorcycles are built to be durable – but they’re made of metal, which means they’re inherently at risk of damage from rust and other types of corrosion. Recognizing this, responsible bike owners will make room in their garage to store their ride, shielding it from corrosive elements like rain, snow, sun, wind, salt, sand, dirt, debris, insects, etc.

But garage storage alone is no guarantee you’ll avoid motorcycle rust/corrosion. That’s because even an enclosed garage isn’t free of corrosive elements either – moisture being the main one. Most garages have ventilation that allows air to circulate – which also means moist, oxygen-rich air from outside gets introduced, ramping up the risk of rust and corrosion. And because garages aren’t hermetically sealed environments, the surface of an uncovered bike is going to be exposed to dust, dirt, and other airborne contaminants that can accelerate corrosion. There’s also the risk of rapid corrosion when commonly-stored items like include deicing salt, fertilizer, and chlorine are in proximity to metals at certain temperatures/humidity levels. Absent the protection of a heavy duty motorcycle cover with vapor corrosion inhibitor (VCI) protection, there’s still a chance you’re risking corrosion creep, leading to significant damage, impaired performance, and costly repairs.

Motorcycle Parts That Can Rapidly Corrode – Even in a Garage

Corrosion is a force of nature – literally. It’s a natural process that involves the deterioration of metal surfaces in reaction to certain environmental factors. The corrosive impact of certain elements and rate of deterioration is dependent on the type of metal.

For example, iron and iron alloys become corroded when exposed to oxygen and moisture – a chemical process we know as rust. Other metals won’t “rust,” but they can still deteriorate when exposed to those same two elements. If your bike isn’t being stored with a heavy duty motorcycle cover, you’ll start to notice the tell-tale reddish brown discoloration on affected surface areas, such as the frame, bolts, and exhaust pipes.

Then there’s galvanic corrosion, which occurs when two dissimilar types of metals come into contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte, such as moisture or humidity. On a motorcycle, this could be aluminum and steel welded in close proximity, leading to pitting and deterioration of one or both components.

Crevice corrosion is another problem for garage-stored motorcycles without a proper cover. This is a type of corrosion that burrows into those gaps or tight spaces where tiny contaminants and moisture accumulate/get trapped. We see this a lot on motorcycles in the bolt holes, junctions, and hidden nooks. Unfortunately, crevice corrosion often goes unnoticed until it causes significant damage.

Another risk when you store your bike in a garage but not with a heavy duty motorcycle cover with VCI is biological corrosion. This is when microorganisms like fungi or bacteria make their way onto the surface of the metal, and their life cycles (often facilitated by the presence of moisture/humidity) promote corrosion. Having a VCI bike cover not only keeps those organisms from landing on the metal surfaces in the first place, the VCI molecules form a layer of protection on the metal that displaces the moisture – making the environment inhospitable for those microorganisms to flourish.

Evidence of corrosion on bikes not stored with a VCI heavy duty motorcycle cover can often be spotted on the:

  • Frame
  • Exhaust system
  • Chain and sprockets
  • Brake components
  • Suspension components
  • Fasteners and bolts
  • Wheels and rims
  • Electrical connections
  • Fuel tank
  • Control cables
  • Handlebars & controls
  • Engine components
  • Chrome & plated parts

How a Heavy Duty Motorcycle With VCI Protection Can HelpMotorcycle Cover

Indoor motorcycle storage is obviously more ideal than outdoor storage, but it can lead to a false sense of security with respect to corrosion. And a flimsy motorcycle cover can actually make matters worse, because not only is it an ineffective barrier to moisture and oxygen, it can actually facilitate corrosion by trapping moisture inside, allowing for a dangerous buildup of condensation.

Using a heavy duty motorcycle cover with VCI protection is a practical solution to address corrosion vulnerabilities. Vapor corrosion inhibitors release chemical compounds that create a protective barrier on metal surfaces, effectively blocking moisture and oxygen from kicking off the corrosion process.

Investing in a higher quality motorcycle cover with VCI may cost a bit more upfront, but it’s going to save money in the long-run by preserving both its condition and value. This added layer of protection can extend the lifespan of a motorcycle, reduce maintenance costs, and help maintain appearance and resale value.

Contact Zerust for information on rust and corrosion protection for motorcycles by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

How Bad is Rust for Your Motorcycle? Jan. 29, 2020, Connecticut Ride Guide

More Blog Entries:

Prevent Motorcycle Chain Rusting After Rain With Proper Cleaning, Drying, and VCI Motorcycle Cover, May 15, 2023, Motorcycle Rust Prevention Blog