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Rusty chrome motorcycle with sea in the background

Image source: Adobe Stock

A rusty chrome motorcycle is never a good look, and if left unchecked, rust can quickly become a more serious issue that isn’t easy to reverse without professional help.

Whether you recently acquired a second-hand chrome motorcycle that you plan on restoring to its former glory, you left your chrome motorcycle in a damp garage for a little too long or you’re getting your bike ready to sell, read our step-by-step guide to help remove rust from your bike.

Does chrome rust?

The good news is that the chrome itself doesn’t rust. The motorcycle usually uses chrome plates and when these get scratched or damaged, this leaves the metal underneath exposed. When you see rust on a chrome motorcycle, it’s actually on the metal beneath the chrome.

So how do you remove this? Thankfully there are several different methods you can try. It’s important to note that vintage bike owners might want to consider seeking professional help. Sometimes, classic bikes need special care and you could end up doing more harm than good if you’re not careful.

Soap and water method

Man is cleaning and polishing chrome motorcycle in a garage

Image source: Adobe Stock

Before you buy any special kit, it’s a good idea to wash down your motorcycle. This will help remove grime from your bike so you can see exactly what you’re dealing with.

Give your motorcycle a good clean with some warm soapy water and a sponge, then rinse off the soap with clean water and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Take this opportunity to inspect your chrome motorcycle to see how bad the rust is.

Is the chrome flaking?

Is the chrome pulling away in flakes? If so, you might need to get the chrome plating replaced. There are a number of companies that specialise in restoring or replacing chrome on motorcycles. For example, ChromeFix work nationwide and specialise in restoring chrome parts – all you need to do is send them the part.

What is the best rust remover for chrome?

There are several different ways to remove rust from your chrome motorcycle. This includes WD40, chrome polish and even supplies you can usually find around the house, such as the aluminium foil and coke trick or the vinegar method.

How do I get rust off my motorcycle?

Try the methods below to remove the rust.

The foil and coke method

If your chrome isn’t flaking but you can still see rust on the surface, try the coke and foil method. First, tear off a bit of aluminium foil and pour coke – preferably diet coke – onto it. Next, rub the rusty part of your motorcycle gently with the foil and coke. This should help remove the rust without scratching the bike.

Do this in small sections and rinse and repeat until you’ve removed all the rust.

How do you remove heavy rust from chrome?

The foil and coke trick is usually very effective even if your bike is heavily rusted. However, if the chrome is already flaking, it’s probably best to call in the professionals.

The vinegar method

Vinegar, sponge and spray bottle all displayed on a table

Image source: Adobe Stock

If the above didn’t work, you could try the vinegar method. Soak a pad of steel wool with distilled white vinegar and rub the rusty parts gently. You’ll want to work in small sections for this, and make sure you don’t let the vinegar dry completely as this could cause more issues. Make sure to remove all the vinegar and wipe each section dry completely before moving on.

Use chrome polish

Chrome polish can help remove rust while also coating your bike in a protective layer and giving you that iconic chrome shine. If you’ve already got some chrome polish lying around, you could try applying the polish with a soft rag or sponge and rubbing the area until the rust is gone.

Use rust penetrant

A rust penetrant works in a similar way to chrome polish, give or take a little bit more elbow grease. You’ll need a pad of steel wool for this and should let the rust penetrant sit on the rusty parts of your bike for a few minutes before rubbing the surface. Make sure you read and follow the instructions on your rust penetrant though as not all penetrants work the same.

Does WD40 remove rust from chrome?

WD40 is a type of rust penetrant that can help remove rust from your chrome bike while also protecting it from rust and corrosion in the future.

Protect your chrome motorcycle from future rust issues

WD40 can on a white background

Image source: Adobe Stock

Once the rust has been removed, using a rust penetrant like WD40 or rust-proofing spray to protect your bike from developing rust or corrosion in the future.

Make sure you store your motorcycle in a dry place to prevent issues, especially if you tend to leave your bike unused during the winter. Read our ultimate guide to storing and protecting your motorcycle collection for more information – even if you don’t own a collection of bikes, the tips can help you store a single bike safely.

And now that your motorcycle is good as new, take a look at our blog on the top 12 beauty spots in the UK to visit on your motorbike for inspiration for your next trip!

Protect your bike on the road

Rust isn’t the only thing you need to protect your bike from. Make sure you take out motorcycle insurance before you travel to ensure you’re covered on the road. We offer a range of extras you can add to your policy, including cover for travel abroad, off-roading and track days. Call us on 0330 123 1028 for a free, no-obligation quote.