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How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside – 7 Steps

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If you store your bike outside, you may notice that it’s starting to rust. This is a common problem for many people who love their two-wheeler.

Don’t worry though! I’ve stored my bike outside for years, and you can follow my super-simple instructions to prevent rust and keep your bike looking and functioning at its best.

In this article, I’ll go over how to keep a bike from rusting outside in 7 steps only!

rusty bike chain

Step 1: Keep it Clean

One of the most essential steps in preventing rust on your bike is to keep it clean.

Dirt and grime can trap moisture against the metal, which can lead to rust.

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to clean your bike regularly using a gentle cleaning solution and a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to clean it after it’s exposed to rain or other moisture.

The Benefits of Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning doesn’t only help prevent rust, but it can also extend the life of your bike’s components and improve its performance.

You can help ensure that your bike’s moving parts operate smoothly and efficiently by removing any contaminants.

How Often to Clean Your Bike

How often you need to clean your bike depends on how often you ride it, where you store it, and the conditions you ride in.

As a rule of thumb, clean your bike after every ride, especially if you’ve been riding in wet or muddy conditions. If you ride less frequently, you can get away with cleaning your bike once a week.

Step 2: Dry it Off

After cleaning your bike, the next step in preventing rust is to dry it off thoroughly.

Moisture is one of the main causes of rust, so it’s important to ensure your bike is completely dry before storing it.

Here’s what you need to know about drying off your bike:

The Dangers of Moisture

Moisture is the enemy of metal surfaces. When water comes into contact with metal, it can cause a chemical reaction that leads to rust.

Moisture can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can be harmful to your bike’s components and your health.

By making sure your bike is completely dry before storing it, you can help prevent these issues from occurring.

The Best Way to Dry Your Bike

The best way to dry your bike is to use a clean, dry cloth or towel. Start by wiping down the frame, focusing on all the nooks and crannies.

Then, move on to the components, such as the chain, derailleur, and brakes. Be sure to dry off any areas where moisture can collect, such as the seat post and handlebars.

Why Using an Air Compressor Can Be Helpful

If you want to take your drying game to the next level, consider using an air compressor.

An air compressor can blow air into hard-to-reach areas, such as the cassette and chainrings, to remove moisture.

Step 3: Lubricate Moving Parts

Lubricate your bike’s moving parts as it’s not only essential for keeping them functioning smoothly, but it can also help prevent rust.

Apply a high-quality bike lubricant to the chain, derailleur, and other moving parts to help repel the moisture and protect against rust.

Here’s a fantastic video about how to lubricate all the moving parts of your bicycle:

Step 4: Cover It Up

If you’re storing your bike outside, keep it covered when not used. A bike cover can help protect against rain, snow, and other forms of moisture that can lead to rust.

Choose a cover that fits your bike properly and is made from breathable material to prevent condensation from building up underneath.

Step 5: Store It in a Dry Place

Store your bike in a dry place, such as a garage or shed. If you don’t have access to indoor storage, try to find a spot outside that can provide shelter for your bike from the elements.

This can include under an awning or in a covered bike rack.

Step 6: Use Rust Inhibitors

Rust inhibitors work by creating a barrier between the metal and moisture, which is the main cause of rust.

There’s a variety of rust inhibitors available on the market, including sprays, waxes, and coatings. Here’s what you need to know about using rust inhibitors to prevent rust on your bike.

How do Rust Inhibitors Work

Rust inhibitors work by either repelling water, or by forming a protective coating on the metal surface. Repellent rust inhibitors are typically spray or wax-based products that are applied to the surface of the metal.

When water comes into contact with the repellent coating, it beads up and rolls off the surface, preventing the metal from reacting with the moisture.

Coating rust inhibitors, on the other hand, are paint-like substances that are applied to the metal surface. They dry from a hard, protective layer over the metal, which prevents moisture from penetrating the surface.

Types of Rust Inhibitors

There are several types of rust inhibitors available, the most common types are the ones we previously mentioned. Let’s get to know them, shall we?

  • Spray Rust Inhibitors: These are easy-to-use products as they come in aerosol cans.

Spray directly on the metal surface like the bike frame, chain, and other metal components.

Some spray rust inhibitors also contain lubricants, which can help keep your bike running smoothly.

  • Wax Rust Inhibitors: Wax rust inhibitors are applied to the metal surface the same way you would wax a car.

They are typically made from a blend of natural and synthetic waxes and are designed to provide long-lasting protection against rust.

  • Coating Rust Inhibitors: Coating rust inhibitors are typically paint-like substances, applied to the metal surface.

Coating rust inhibitors can be good for large metal surfaces, such as bike frames. These inhibitors dry to form a hard, protective layer over the metal, which prevents moisture from penetrating the surface.

Comparison of Rust Inhibitor Products

Now that we’ve discussed together the common types of rust inhibitors, let’s take a quick look at this comparison:

Product NameTypePriceBest Usage
WD-40 Specialist Long-Term Corrosion InhibitorSprayBudget FriendlyAll metal components
Boeshield T-9 Rust & Corrosion ProtectionWaxExpensiveAll metal components
POR-15 Rust Preventive CoatingCoatingpriceySteel frames

Step 7: Check Your Bike Regularly

Finally, make sure to check your bike regularly for signs of rust. Catching rust early can help prevent it from spreading and causing more serious damage.

Look for any areas where the paint has been chipped or scratched, as these are prime spots for rust to form. Here are a few tips on how to check your bike for rust:

Inspect the Frame

Start by inspecting the frame of your bike for any signs of rust. Look for areas where the paint may be chipped or scratched, as these can be entry points for moisture.

Check the underside of the frame as well, as this is an area that can be easily overlooked but is still susceptible to rust.

Check the Components

Next, inspect your bike’s components, such as the chain, derailleur, and brakes, for any signs of rust.

Rust on these components can affect their performance and longevity, so it’s important to catch it early. Look for any areas where the metal may be discolored or pitted, as these are signs of rust.

Clean and Lubricate

If you do find any signs of rust, it’s important to clean and lubricate the affected areas as soon as possible.

Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove the rust, being careful not to damage the surrounding metal. Then, apply a rust inhibitor or lubricant to help prevent rust from forming again.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

To ensure that your bike stays in top condition, it’s a good idea to schedule regular maintenance with a professional bike mechanic.

They can inspect your bike for any signs of wear or damage, including rust, and perform any necessary repairs or replacements. This can help prolong the life of your bike and keep it rust-free for years to come.


We hope you enjoyed this article and found it to answer all your questions.

Now that you have the complete guide on how to keep your bike from rusting if you place it outside, you should be able to take good care of your beloved bike and not tire yourself doing it.

Remember, it’s not always necessary to take care of your bike on your own, taking it to a professional is always an option.

Getting your bike checked regularly can save you so much time if you don’t feel like doing the task or you’re just busy.