Tips to care for flooded motorcycles

The recent typhoon has left parts of the country submerged once again. Besides our homes, chances are, another victim of the high flood waters is our treasured motorcycles.

If your motorcycle has been submerged in flood water, don’t worry as it may not be the end of its life just yet. If you intend to save it, there are a few things you should do before bringing it to the nearest shop or service center or casa to assess the damage.

Do not start

Before anything else, do not start the motorcycle. Flood water may have entered various parts of your motorcycles and cause even more damage if the engine is started and running. Flood water, after all, is mixed with mud, dust, and other contaminants that may harm your vehicle. The motorcycle may look dry, but it’s possible mud may have entered these sensitive areas and could cause more harm. It could enter everything from electrical systems, the exhaust, intake, wheel bearings, brakes, and, of course, the engine itself. Be on the safe side and don’t start just to check if your bike is ok. Do not turn the ignition switch ON without starting. This may actually cause more harm.

If you need to move the bike, shift the gear into neutral (if manual), and push it to where it is needed.

Disconnect the battery

What to do: If your motorbike has been submerged in flood water image

Disconnect the battery to prevent any grounds or electrical issues. Even if the motorcycle is off, in newer motorcycles, the battery continues to supply electricity to auxiliary systems and sensors. Disconnect the battery at the terminals to prevent any ground. You can even go the extra mile and remove the battery from the motorcycle. Clean the terminals if there are traces of mud / dirt. Do not reconnect the battery terminals. Let the shop or service center first assess if it is safe to do so.

Remove the spark plugs

If you suspect that flood water has entered the engine, remove the spark plugs. Leaving them in may subject them to further corrosion. In addition, these spark plugs may be more difficult to remove later on, if mud has entered and solidified.

Some bikes include a park plug wrench as part of the tool kit inside utility box, underseat compartment, or tool kit. Use this tool to remove spark plug.

Drain water

What to do: If your motorbike has been submerged in flood water image

Drain any water left inside the motorcycle. If you have the tools, open up parts like the airbox, battery box and storage areas. If you have a scooter, remove the rubber matting and take a peek at the areas under the foot rest for water that may still be there. If you see brown residue on the sides or even a line, it might be a sign that flood water has entered this part.

Wash and dry these panel covers under the sun until completely dry. Ventilate and dry the interior of the motorcycle by leaving these compartments open.

If you can, park the bike on an incline to allow the water to drain from compartments and parts like the muffler.

Prepare paperwork

If you plan to have your motorcycle checked at a service center or casa, have the paperwork ready. Go over your bike’s documents and have them ready for your appointment with the dealer. It’s also a good time to review your insurance policy for coverage. If you have an Acts of God / Nature clause as part of your insurance policy, it may cover the repair costs (or replacement) of your motorcycle.

Transport it

Have your bike towed or transported to the nearest shop, service center, or casa for diagnosis, repair, and cleaning. Consult your owner’s manual or call your dealer if you are unsure.

Flood damage is a more serious issue and can be very challenging if attempted on your own. We recommend consulting a professional to diagnose the bike.

On the plus side, motorcycles that still use a carburetor can still be easily saved, particularly since there’s no ECU and fewer electronic parts to replace or cause problems. Newer, fuel-injected motorcycles might need more serious attention best left to professionals.