Motorcyclist parked near sunrise
April 8, 2024

Sunshine and clear skies make for a perfect day on the open road, but prolonged exposure to the sun can harm your motorcycle.

Just as UV rays can damage our skin, they can wear down your bike's finish, fade paint shades lighter, and cause other materials to deteriorate over time.


The short answer to this question is "yes!", bike owners should worry about sun damage. Excess sunlight is a real and persistent threat to motorcycles and should not be overlooked.

Why, you ask?

  • Material degradation - The sun's UV rays can damage various materials used in motorcycle construction, such as plastic, rubber, and leather. Components like seats, grips, and tires can become dry, cracked, and brittle, compromising the bike's look and functionality.

  • Increased wear and tear - Prolonged sun exposure accelerates the aging process of your motorcycle, contributing to faster wear and tear. This can lead to more frequent repairs and replacements of affected parts, increasing the overall maintenance cost.

  • Reduced resale value - The cumulative effect of sun damage impacts your motorcycle's appearance and performance and can significantly reduce its resale value. A well-maintained, sun-protected bike will always command a higher price in the market.


Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays doesn't just impact the motorcycle's aesthetics; it can significantly affect its performance and longevity.

The following areas of a motorcycle are most at risk from relentless exposure to sunlight.

1. The Paint

The paint job on a motorcycle is about more than looks; it's the first line of defense against various elements, including the sun.

UV rays can cause the paint to fade, chip, and crack over a period of time, leading to a lackluster appearance that diminishes the bike's value and appeal.

The degradation process accelerates if the motorcycle is consistently parked outdoors without protective covering, exposing the vibrant colors to the sun's bleaching effects.

2. The Fuel

You may be surprised to learn that sun exposure can indirectly affect a motorcycle's fuel system as well!

High temperatures resulting from direct sunlight increase the pressure inside the fuel tank, potentially leading to vapor lock or affecting the fuel's volatility.

This can make the engine harder to start and reduce its efficiency, as the fuel may not combust as effectively as it should.

3. The Oil

Motorcycle oil can also suffer from excessive sun exposure. High ambient temperatures can cause the oil to thin out more quickly, reducing its effectiveness in lubricating and cooling the engine.

This can lead to increased engine wear and tear, as the components are not as protected against friction and heat as they should be.

4. The Accessories

Accessories and components made from materials like plastic, rubber, and leather are particularly vulnerable to UV damage.

Bright sunlight can cause these materials to dry out, crack, and fade, compromising their functionality and appearance.

This includes seats, grips, dashboard components, and saddlebags, all of which play crucial roles in your comfort and the motorcycle's usability.

5. The Tires

UV rays and heat contribute to the deterioration of rubber, leading to dry rot. This manifests as cracks and brittleness in the tire sidewalls, which can significantly compromise the safety and performance of the motorcycle.

Tires weakened by sun exposure are more prone to failure and may need to be replaced more frequently than those kept in shaded or covered conditions.


So, as you can see, as pleasant as the sun is, it can also cause a lot of damage!

The sun's rays can be unforgiving, leading to faded paint, cracked seats, and other issues that detract from your motorcycle's beauty and value. Protective measures maintain your bike's aesthetic appeal and contribute to its overall health and longevity.

Let's dive into the practical steps you can take to protect your motorcycle from the damaging effects of the sun.

Park In The Shade

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to protect your motorcycle from sun damage is to park it in the shade whenever possible. This can significantly reduce the temperature of your bike's surfaces and minimize exposure to direct sunlight.

If a shaded area isn't available, try to find a parking alternative in a location that will become shaded at some point during the day.

Wash And Clean The Vehicle

Regular washing and cleaning will remove dirt, grime, and other contaminants that can exacerbate the effects of sun exposure.

Clean surfaces are less likely to suffer from the sun's damaging effects, as dirt can act as a magnifying glass, intensifying UV rays and accelerating paint degradation.

Ensure you're using gentle, motorcycle-safe cleaning products to avoid any additional damage during the cleaning process.

Wax Your Vehicle

Applying a high-quality wax to your motorcycle not only gives it a glossy finish but also provides a protective barrier against UV rays.

Waxing your bike regularly can help preserve and minimize the paint's color degradation and prevent fading and cracking.

Look for waxes that specifically offer UV protection for an added layer of defense against the sun.

Use A Bike Cover

When parking your motorcycle for extended periods, especially outdoors, using a well-fitted cover can provide substantial protection against the sun and help prevent theft.

A quality cover shields your bike from UV rays, as well as weather conditions like heavy rain, dust, and other environmental elements.

Opt for a breathable, UV-resistant cover to ensure your motorcycle is well-protected without trapping moisture.

Condition Leather Seats

Regular conditioning is crucial if your motorcycle has leather seats to prevent drying, fading, and cracking from constant exposure.

Leather conditioners replenish the natural oils lost due to UV exposure, keeping the material supple and damage resistant.

Apply a high-quality leather conditioner following the manufacturer's instructions to maintain the integrity and appearance of your seats.


Storing a motorcycle outside in hot weather presents unique challenges.

The combination of high temperatures and direct effects of sunlight can take a toll on your bike's condition. However, with the right approach, you can minimize the adverse effects and keep your motorcycle in good shape, even in the heat.

  • Whenever possible, park your motorcycle in a shaded spot or create shade using a portable structure. This will help protect it from direct sunlight and reduce surface temperature.

  • Investing in a high-quality, UV-protective motorcycle cover is essential for outdoor storage. Choose a cover specifically designed for outdoor use and ensure it fits snugly to provide maximum protection.

  • If possible, place your motorcycle on a stand to relieve pressure on the tires and prevent flat spots from forming during long-term storage. If a stand isn't available, rotate the tires periodically.

  • Check the levels of essential fluids such as engine oil, coolant, and brake fluid regularly, and consider a fuel stabilizer.

  • Hot weather can accelerate battery degradation, so it's essential to monitor the battery's condition regularly. Keep the battery terminals clean and tight and consider using a battery tender or maintainer to keep it charged during periods of inactivity.

  • Periodically inspect your motorcycle for signs of damage, wear, or deterioration, especially after prolonged exposure to hot weather. Address any issues promptly to prevent them from worsening over time.

  • Always maintain your motorcycle insurance comprehensive coverage protection. You never know when a weather event or unforeseen incident will cause damage to your ride.


  1. Address paint damage - If the sun has faded or damaged your motorcycle's paint, consider using a polish designed to restore faded colors. For more severe damage, a professional paint job might be necessary to bring back the original look.

  2. Repair leather and rubber components - Condition any leather parts with a quality leather conditioner to restore moisture and flexibility. For rubber components like grips and tires showing signs of dry rot or cracking, replacement is often the safest option to ensure functionality and safety.

  3. Check fluids and mechanical parts - Sun damage can affect more than just your motorcycle's appearance. Inspect all fluid levels and mechanical components for signs of wear or damage due to heat and address any issues immediately to prevent further damage.


So, there you have it: everything you need to know about sun damage and how to prevent it from ruining your pride and joy!

Don't forget, the effort and care you put into looking after your motorcycle will pay off in the long run. You'll have a motorcycle that performs well and looks amazing for many years.