How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside (3 Steps)

Rust is a problem that can befall any bicycle, but how you care for your bike and where you store it can help to minimize the potential damage.

A bicycle is a common good that will quickly become an eyesore if left outside. Even worse, rust can eat away at your bike’s metal frame and eventually cause it to break.

Do Bikes Rust If Left Outside?

How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside

No, Bikes don’t rust just because they’re left outside, but if they’re just left outside for years unprotected, then they will rust. The key to keeping bikes from rusting is to take good care of them and make sure you clean them off.

If bikes are left outside, try to avoid leaving them out during the winter since they will be exposed to moisture and the elements. The best thing to do is bring your bike inside, or at least cover it so that water and ice don’t form on it.

Investing in a bike is a wise decision and you must want this big investment to last and benefit you for longer. Being a metal structure the bike can easily get rusted if placed outside or even in the garage.

The moisture and dust can penetrate causing the metal parts to degrade and corrode over time resulting in the rusted and worn out bike.

Also, the moving part can get jammed due to the penetrated dust and rust and you will end up having a bike that is useless and good to go in the trash.

Well, you surely don’t want that. So to keep your bike’s condition in check and prevent it from rusting and quick aging you must keep a check on the lubrication, cleaning, and drying of your bike.

Even if you don’t plan to use it recently, like in winters you can’t ride and have to store it, you must cover it properly to save it from the moisture, salt reaction, or the dust to eat up the metal.

Rusting is caused by a natural chemical reaction and you can’t avoid it for long unless you insulate the bike completely. Be it running or not used bikes all get rust, dirt, and lose the lubrication in the parts. A regular tune-up and proper cleaning is the key to keeping the bike from rusting outside.

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We have brought you the quick tips and tricks to maintain the bike and keep this stubborn rust at bay.

How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside

How To Keep A Bike From Rusting Outside

A bike needs to be carefully cleaned if it is going to last a long time. Since a bike is usually left outside it must be properly stored. Rust is one of the main things that can damage a bike’s value and its usefulness.

So it needs to be kept safe from rusting. There are many ways to keep a bike from rusting outside.

Clean Your Bike

The first thing that must be done is thoroughly clean the bike. When cleaning a bike, the focus should be on removing any dirt and grit from the metal.

First, check all of the cables and make sure they are not rusted. For the cables, a good way to remove any rust is to spray WD-40 on them and wipe them down with a clean rag.

Then check the wheels for any rust. For a wheel to spin freely, it needs to be free of dirt and grime which can cause the wheel to rust. A good way to make sure the wheels are clean is to use WD-40 on them and wipe them down with a rag.

After the wheels are taken care of, check the metal for any signs of rust. A good way to do this is by using a rag and WD-40. Spray the rag and wipe down the metal while watching for any signs of rust forming.

While doing this, check other areas where water can cause rust such as areas near the bottom bracket and pedals. If there are any signs of rust, use a wire brush to remove it before it becomes a major problem.

Apply Lubricant WD-40 Or Oil The Bike

The next step in keeping a bike from rusting outside is to make sure the bearings are cleaned and well oiled. This will ensure the bearings are running smoothly and rid them of rust. To achieve this, turn the pedals backward slowly. Doing this will push oil into the bearings and cause them to spin with ease.

After the bike is clean and the bearings are oiled, it needs to be dried thoroughly. WD-40 can be used to do this, but it needs to be applied in spots that will not cause any overspray.

This is mainly around the components and moving parts such as those on the cranks. The best way to keep a bike from rusting outside is to ensure that it is thoroughly dried after washing it.

If the bike is going to be left outside, then it should be stored in a dry place that is covered with a tarp. A bike cover can also be bought to store the bike in when it is not being used.

Make sure that the bike is not left outside in the rain by covering it with something. If it is left outside at night, make sure to take all components off of the bike. With a few simple steps, a bike can be kept from rusting outside for many years to come.

There are many things that must be done to keep a bike from rusting outside. Make sure that the cables are free of rust. Clean the wheels and metal parts with WD-40. Store the bike inside with a tarp over it and turn the pedals backward to oil them. The goal of these tips is to ensure that all parts of the bike are clean and rust-free. Do this to keep your bike from rusting outside.

Paint The Bike

If you find any patch or part on the bike where the paint has come off, there are good chances the rusting can penetrate from there and you must paint that part or cover it until you can do so.

You can use spray paint or even nail paint will work fine to cover the area. Paint act as a protective layering from the rust getting on the metal so just sand down any rust traces in the bike and paint it to avoid any further rusting of metal parts.

Will A Bike Cover Prevent Rust?

Will A Bike Cover Prevent Rust

Yes, a bike cover will prevent rust. If you plan to keep your bike outside and in the open environment then make sure to use a waterproof bike cover and cover the bike completely.

This will save it from all the environmental factors like moisture, salt deposits, sunlight, and dirt from getting on it and start the rusting process.

Also, extreme temperatures like scorching heat or cold can jam the parts, wear them out, and make the metal parts start decaying. The sun can make the plastic parts brittle and fade of the bike body while the fog and cold can rust and makes the parts stop moving.

It is advisable to use a cover for the overnight keeping of bike outside but for longer always keep the bike in garage or shade where it is isolated from the harsh weather and reduces the chances of corrosion.

Home Remedies For Removing The Rust From The Bike

You may not have the store cleaners or lubricators all the time at home or the bike shop is far away so you can’t go for a frequent tune-up.

Don’t panic, as we have brought you simple hacks or home remedies by which you can keep your bike from rusting and in perfect condition for long. Just use these simple household items to remove the rust and dust from your bike and apply a protective layer on it.

Also read: How To Fix The Bike Chain That Keeps Coming Off

Sand the parts

Use steel wool, sandpaper, or hard bristle brush to remove any rust on your bike. Rust can penetrate to other metal parts rapidly and you must scrub down even the smallest traces on your bike. Sand all the metal parts to prevent any rust from getting on to it.

Dip parts in cola

You can unscrew all the removable parts of the bike and dip them in cola. Cola acts as an acidic agent and removes all the grease, dust, and rust from the parts. Although it may remove the lubrication also so you may need to lubricate the parts before assembling them again.

Use aluminum foil

For parts that are not removable, you can pour cola over them and or use aluminum foil to remove the rust from the metal parts. Just take a small piece of aluminum foil, crumple it and scrub the bike with it. Instead of cola, you can also use citric acid, vinegar, or salt solution for cleaning too.

Baking soda method

Baking soda method

You can also make water and baking soda solution with a 50/50 ratio like a thick paste. Apply it on the wheel rim, body, and all the affected areas of your bike and leave for some time. After 15-20 minutes you can use a toothbrush or scrub pad to scrape the rust from the affected parts and then rinse it off.

Apply A Paint Coat

After you have removed the rust from the affected areas it is always advisable to apply a protective coat of paint over it. You can use the normal spray paint you use for furniture or walls or just use your nail paint to cover the affected areas to avoid the rust getting again on the metal parts. Apply a thin layer of Vaseline or oil on the bike parts too for protection.

The right care of your bike

Effective Bike Care

Bike shops are pretty busy and you either have to wait for hours or have to leave your bike for days for a tune-up. You can go to a bike shop bi-yearly or quarterly.

There are some effective ways in which you can keep your bike in good condition and on point so that it runs smoothly and there are no major damages to it. Here are small steps to keep effective care of your bike and avoid hassles

Coats And Tire Pressure

Before any ride, you must check the air pressure in your tires. This will ensure the comfort of your ride plus avoid any flats or punctured tires during the ride.

Also, look for the paint coats on your bike that might be worn out and cover and coat them properly before you leave to avoid any problems on the route.

Chain Care

The chain runs your bike and for smooth and proper operation, you need it to be in fit condition. Clean your chain properly to wipe down any penetrated dust or dirt particles, dry any moisture to avoid rust, and lubricate it often to protect it and keep it running without any problems.

The Brake

The Brake

For the safety and sift operation of the bike your brakes must be functioning properly. Check the brake pads, cable before you leave for a ride. It is always good to apply brakes in standing bikes and check whether the brake pads are working properly or need some adjustment or replacement.

The Lighting System And Reflectors

Lighting systems and reflectors are also a necessary part of the bike if you need to ride in the evening or even in the day. Check the lights and lightning cable is working fine. Also, adjust the white reflector in front and red at back, and two yellow reflecting pads on the pedals as recommended by standards.

Proper Cleaning And Care Of Bicycle Chain

For proper maintenance and keeping rust-free, cleaning the chain regularly and properly is unavoidable. Here is how you can do it to keep it in good condition for a long.

Clean Bicycle Chain Regularly

Dirt and lubricant solidify in the chain affecting its operation and can cause it to rust. Cleaning the chain properly and removing all those solidified dust and oil from the chain is important.

Use a cloth or toothbrush to remove all this residue from your chain. Sometimes this is enough or you can get a cleaning liquid from the market that will remove all the grease and particle from the chain and also lubricate it.

Remove Stubborn Dirt

If the residues are touched and can’t be removed with the cloth you can clean these stubborn lumps with detergent or cleaning liquids from the market. Just disassemble the chain and dip it in the liquid.

With the help of a brush or cloth remove the softened lubricant lumps and all the residues.
Wipe the chain links properly and assemble the chain back to its position.

After cleaning the bike chain loses all its lubrication and if you use the chain like this it can get worn out and damaged. You must lubricate the chain properly before placing it back

You can use lubricating oil and wax to lubricate the chain

On each chain, roll apply oil inside and wax on the outside

Move the chain to apply similarly on each chain-ring

After application wipe out any excess oil or wax

Always use the oil mentioned for the bike chain and not any oil this may affect the functioning and running of the chain.

Clean the bike – no philosophy question

Remove rust on the bike

Remove rust on the bike


Removing rust is essential not only for the body of the bike to look good but also for its structural strength and durability. If you don’t clean the rust in time it can produce holes in the metal body. This will cause it to break and that may cause severe security threats during the ride. It can cause the bike to unbalance, get stuck midway or cause the brakes or cables to not work at high speed.

Rust can rot the bike severely and it needs proper attention and protection to keep the bike from corroding from outside and the metal to remain strong and durable to hold the rider on long routes

That’s how it’s done

You can easily remove the rust from bike parts with sandpaper and wire head to scrap it.

Apply a layer of oil on the rusted areas to soften the rust

With the wire head and sandpaper remove the softened rust

After that apply a primer to close all the spores

Now paint the surface

Last, apply the rust preventive polish film and lubricant for the protection.

This will clean all the penetrated or minimal rust from the surface and also protects the surface to get rusted again. Primer will fill up the gaps and smoothen the bike surface. Make sure you wear safety google while drilling rust with a wire head as the particles can get in your eyes.

Bike Cleaning Tips That Work

Bike Cleaning Tips That Work

Here are some simple tips that are immensely effective in cleaning the bike and keeping it rust-free

Wash down the bike with water to remove the dust from the body

Apply detergent foam or any cleaning liquid to let the dirt layer soften and then wipe it off

Now with the dirt layer removed the rusting parts will be visible to clean

Scrub off the rust and then apply a protective polish and lubricant onto it

Don’t use high pressured water or harsh wool so the paint may come off

Always completely wipe with a dry cloth and air dry the bike after cleaning.

Wrap Up

Rust is like cancer and can spread to all parts of your bike from single spots in days and you won’t be able to figure out what happened with your bike.

For optimal condition and smooth running of your bike, you must keep a close eye on the bike metal parts and cover and remove any rust spores if seen.

Also, keep the bike clean and dry to avoid giving the rust an easy pitch to play on. Regularly clean your bike parts and apply protective polish and lubricate the mechanical parts to keep the bike from rusting outside.

With small regular steps, you can save yourself from big trouble and expenditure and make your bike last for years and run like new.