It’s baffling what rain can do to our motorcycles. From most rains, there is no impact. But then comes one where the motorcycle won’t start at all.
So in this post, let’s dig into:
- Reasons for the motorcycle not starting after rain
- Solutions for the motorcycle not starting after rain
- Preventive Measures
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Reasons for the motorcycle not starting after rain
- Water has entered the ignition system’s electric circuit
- Water in the air filter and carburetor
- Rain droplets in the spark plug and its cable
- Electrical components like battery terminals are wet
Before diving into the solutions, let’s first look at the reasons why a motorcycle might not start after rain.
#1: Water has entered the ignition system’s electric circuit
The first and foremost reason for the motorcycle not starting after rain is wet electrical connections. Especially the ignition and starter systems.
The same problem can also arise after you have washed the motorcycle.
If the water has found its way into these electrical connections, be it the wire or the circuit, there will be problems in the starter and/or the ignition. This causes problems in starting the motorcycle.
So that’s why one of the first things you need to do is check for wet electrical connections. The solutions are detailed in the next section.
#2: Water in the air filter and carburetor
Another reason for starting problems is water in the carburetor and the air filter.
If the carburetor has water, the fuel mixture entering the engine will have water too. Gasoline mixed up with water. That will create combustion problems. And starting problems.
Water on the air filter is another headache. It will restrict air entry into the engine. Which results in a rich fuel mixture for the engine. And not to mention the engine will be starved of oxygen.
#3: Rain droplets in the spark plug and its cable
Another cause for starting problem is water droplets in the spark plug cable and the spark plug.
The water might get accumulated in the gap. Between the spark plug and its cable.
The spark plug cable (wire) supplies electricity to the spark plug. The spark plug then generates the spark. And the electric spark ignites the engine fuel for combustion.
If the water has entered the spark ignition is going to face problems. So this could be the cause as well for the motorcycle not starting.
#4: Electrical components like battery terminals are wet
Apart from starter connection problems, other electrical components especially battery connections are a concern as well.
Even wet battery terminals can cause starting problems in your motorcycle.
So, time to check all these wet connections and water-affected components to address the starting issue.
Solutions for the motorcycle not starting after rain
- Let the rain droplets dry off
- Check the spark plug cable
- Inspect the wet electrical connections
- Check if water has entered the carburetor
- Pull out the air filter and dry it out
- Speed up drying through a dryer or a blower
- Use maintenance spray as a last resort
Now that we know the causes, let’s look at solutions for motorcycle starting problems after rain.
#1: Let the rain droplets dry off
First things first. Most rains do not affect the motorcycle that badly.
So, if your motorcycle is not starting after rain, have patience and wait for the motorcycle to dry off.
By waiting, I mean not 10 minutes but rather 1 or 2 hours.
You can take a dry cloth and wipe the water droplets off the motorcycle to speed up the drying. But keep in mind. Water droplets in electrical connections can take longer to dry off.
So, wait for a few hours. Let the water dry off. Then try to start the motorcycle again.
Turn the choke ON. And try starting the motorcycle. This should do the trick most of the time.
If not, then you might have to take a deeper look.
#2: Check the spark plug cable
Even after drying the motorcycle and inspecting for wet electrical connections, the motorcycle is not starting, it’s time to check the spark plug cable.
The spark plug cable or the wire is what supplies electricity to the spark plug. The spark plug then ignites the engine fuel mixture.
You can see the spark plug cable going to the engine and connected to the spark plug.
Gently pull open the cable and check if water has entered. If yes, you need to dry it out.
Take a dry cloth and wipe the cable clean. Wipe the spark plug top part as well. And leave these parts to dry for half an hour.
Once dried, put the cable back on to the spark plug. Do not use too much force. The cable might break or the spark plug might move if there is too much force.
Now, try to start the motorcycle again. If it starts, the problem is solved. If not, tough luck, and time to go for the next check.
#3: Inspect the wet electrical connections
The first step is to check for wet electrical connections.
Try to isolate whether the wet electrical connection is the starter system problem or the battery connection problem.
You can do that by kickstarting the motorcycle. Keep the choke on as well.
If the motorcycle is starting by kickstarting but not with the electric starter, the starter system has water. But you might have already tried that.
If the motorcycle is not starting by kickstart either, then you need to check battery connections as well.
Remove the seat first. Look into all the cable and wire connections. If any wire is cut open or you think susceptible to damage, inspect them.
For the starter system, checking the electrical wires is much more difficult. Most of their electrical connections are behind the headlight. If you can by yourself, then check it. If not, you might have to go to a mechanic.
#4: Check if water has entered the carburetor
The next step is to check if the water has entered the carburetor.
There are two possible ways the water can make into a carburetor. The first and most likely reason is a wet air filter. The second reason is water entering the fuel tank.
If it is the former, you need to remove the air filter and dry it out. The same is detailed in the next step as well.
If it is the latter, most likely the fuel tank cap is open or the cap keyhole is the culprit. In either case, this is not a big issue. Close the cap next time.
Now back to the water in the carburetor problem.
We need to check if the carburetor has water. First, stop the fuel flow into the carburetor from the tank. You need to change the fuel valve (reserve fuel switch) to the OFF position.
Then unscrew the carburetor’s overflow tube. The gasoline will start leaking. Most likely water will too. If the water has entered the carburetor of course.
If there is water along with gasoline, empty the water. Until there is only pure gasoline leaking from the overflow tube, you need to let the gasoline leak.
Once done, try starting the motorcycle again.
#5: Pull out the air filter and dry it out
Another problem causing the motorcycle starting problems is a wet air filter.
Usually, the air filters are covered. Either located below the seat or on the sides covered.
But still, if the water finds its way to the filter, then there can be a few issues.
Water on the air filter will prevent the easy entry of air. Without sufficient air, the engine will starve of oxygen as well as get a too rich fuel mixture. As a result, the engine will have trouble starting.
Also, wet air filters can trap air dirt and dust to form a layer of dirt on the filter material. As the dirt accumulates, the air filter will start clogging.
So, remove the air filter out. Clean it if it is dirty. And dry it out.
If it has been a long time since you replaced the air filter, consider replacing it.
Once the air filter is dried out, fit it back. Try starting the motorcycle again. With all the above steps along with this, the motorcycle should start.
#6: Speed up drying through a dryer or a blower
If you think the drying is taking too long, try speeding up the process.
You can use a blower or a dryer (even a hair dryer works!). Using these to dry your motorcycle faster.
A good thing about dryers is you can now dry off the nooks and crannies of your motorcycle.
A wet connection but stuck at the underside of the seat, no worries. The dryer helps. Small components and electrical connections can be dried off far faster now.
#7: Use maintenance spray as a last resort
For wet electrical connections, you can use a maintenance spray if necessary.
Maintenance sprays help in both cleaning as well drying off. They are handy in removing water droplets in sensitive parts and components.
So, if the water has entered the electrical components of the ignition system, or the battery terminals and their connections, we can use maintenance sprays.
But, if the wet connection is near the spark plug, avoid spraying directly to the spark plug.
- Use a motorcycle cover
- Lubricate the chain
- Clean the motorcycle regularly
You can use some preventive measures for rain problems. It is not compulsory. But it helps. Especially from bike starting problems due to rain.
So, here are the preventive measures you can take:
- Use a motorcycle cover: If you are parking your motorcycle out there exposed to the atmosphere, using a motorcycle cover helps. It will not only protect your bike from rain but also from sunlight.
- Lubricate the chain: The chain is the most vulnerable part if you ride your motorcycle in rain. It’s not just the rain, muddy particles will also get entangled in the chain and sprockets causing the chain to rust fast. So, keep the chain lubricated especially in rainy seasons.
- Clean the motorcycle regularly: When it rains while you are riding your motorcycle, mud, and dirt also come along with water sticking to your motorcycle. So clean your motorcycle if the bike is exposed to rain frequently.
Here are the things you need to do when your motorcycle is not starting after rain:
- Solution 1: First, let the raindrops dry off. You can wipe off the droplets with a dry cloth. Then try starting the motorcycle with the choke ON.
- Solution 2: Next, check out for water in the spark plug cable. Pull out the cable going to the engine and connecting to the spark plug. Wipe the water off and let it dry. Then fit the spark plug cable back and start the motorcycle.
- Solution 3: Inspect the electrical connections. The wire and circuit might have gotten wet. You might have to remove the seat to check for battery connections. Dry off the wet connections and try starting the bike again.
- Solution 4: Another possibility is water has entered the carburetor preventing the motorcycle from starting. Unscrew the carburetor overflowing pipe and let the gasoline flow out until there is no water. Then try starting your motorcycle now.
- Solution 5: Water in the air filter can starve air and oxygen to the engine. Leading to starting problems. Take out the air filter and dry it out. Fit the dry and clean (replace if necessary) filter back and start again.
- Solution 6: Most likely, wet connections are taking too long to dry. Use a blower or a drier, even a hair drier to speed up the drying process. Once dried, start the motorcycle.
- Solution 7: If the water has entered the electric circuit or wires, simply drying might not do the trick. Try using a maintenance spray. It will both clean and dry the connections. As a last resort of course. Then start the motorcycle.