A dirt bike earns its name for a reason: it gets dirty. To maximize your bike’s longevity and appearance, make sure to wash it as needed. Here are a few tips for how to wash a dirt bike.
Avoid caustic or abrasive detergents
Caustic cleaners can leave a residue on anodized aluminum, and you don’t want to mar the finish of your beautiful bike. Abrasive cleaners may help remove tough-to-clean scuff marks or other gunk, but they can gouge plastic parts.
PRO TIP: A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works great for removing tough-to-clean scuff marks from your bike. They work wonders for cleaning the black marks your boots leave on your bike.
Use a mild detergent
A dish detergent, such as Dawn dish soap or a similar brand, works great for cleaning mud, dirt and other debris from your bike. Best of all, it won’t scuff the plastic or leave a film on metal parts. And, it’s affordable and readily available at most retailers. Just mix a little with warm water and wash your dirt bike using a soft-bristled brush.
Remove mud chunks by hand
Before you wash your dirt bike, remove any large chunks of dried mud by hand. Dig them out with your fingers or, to protect your future hand-modeling career, use a rubber mallet or similar soft object to dislodge mud. Don’t gouge and jab with a screwdriver, metal scraper or similar object.
To help keep mud from accumulating on your bike and make washing easier, apply an undercoating like AMSOIL Mudslinger.® It forms a protective, non-stick layer of armor against the accumulation of mud and dirt, making cleanup easier.
Take care if pressure washing
Some riders use a pressure washer, others shy away from them.
While they can speed the cleaning process and blast through caked mud, they can provide a little too much muscle if you’re not careful. Avoid directly spraying the head stem, wheel bearings and chain (if you use an O-ring chain). The pressurized water can ruin the seals and allow water to infiltrate parts, causing corrosion. Passing a stream of water past these parts is fine, but avoid prolonged and direct exposure.
PRO TIP: Secure your bike firmly on its stand if pressure washing so the pressure doesn’t knock it over.
Use a 40-degree nozzle
If you elect to use a pressure washer, install a 40-degree nozzle (many are distinguished by being white in color). They broadcast a larger swath of water that’s safer for your bike and that helps cover a larger area more quickly.
Under no circumstances should you use a 0-degree nozzle and blast a jet of water directly on the bike. If you do, be prepared to replace decals, graphics and even the occasional plastic part or two after they end up across the yard.
Use an airbox wash cover and muffler plug
An airbox wash cover requires you to remove the air filter and install the cover to prevent water from infiltrating your engine.
In the same vein, use a muffler plug to guard against water from ruining the muffler packing. It’s also a good precaution to put the piston at top-dead center as extra insurance against water entering the engine. You can also use plastic bags to cover the air filter and muffler, but it’s not as effective.
When washing a dirt bike, pay special attention to…
Radiator – Your bike will run cooler if the radiator fins are clean and free of debris. Make sure to take a little extra time and wash them thoroughly. Again, however, take care if pressure washing to not bend the fins.
Chain area – Clean dirt from the chain guide to prevent it from scouring the metal chain.
Shift lever – Ensure all the dirt and mud are cleaned from the springs.
Now you know how to wash a dirt bike. Take these steps to keep your bike in prime condition so it lasts for years. And make sure to check out AMSOIL products for your dirt bike.