Why Motorcycle Won’t Start After Washing? – (3 Easy Fixes!)

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As a motorcycle enthusiast and off-road rider, I regularly wash my motorcycle to maintain its shine and keep the metal parts rust-free.

But, I’ve often experienced that my motorcycle refuses to start after a thorough wash. If you’re reading this, chances are your bike is also not starting after washing it.

But worry not! I’m here to guide you through the simple fixes that can get your motorcycle started again.

Motorcycle Washing With Soapwater

Why A Motorcycle Won’t Start After Washing?

So, why my motorcycle won’t start after washing it? The most common reason a won’t start after washing is that water has entered the spark plug and ignition system area. The water is a good conductor of electricity, and it causes short circuits around the ignition coil and spark plug, resulting in a failed engine start.

A simple solution is to give sufficient time to dry off your motorcycle. However, if you’re in a hurry and have no time, you can dry the water droplets with compressed air.

First, dry off the water from the spark plug and ignition coil area, then head over to other electrical components.

Related Guide: How To Fix a Motorcycle That Died While Riding and Won’t Start

3 Reasons Motorcycles Won’t After Washing It

It’s not uncommon. Water has a sneaky way of getting into places it shouldn’t, especially when giving your bike a good pressure wash.

Here’s why you might be staring at a silent motorcycle:

  • Electrical Components Got Wet: Motorcycles are robust, but their electrical systems? Not so much. Water can cause short circuits or corrode connections.
  • Water in the Fuel System: If water finds its way into your fuel system, it can prevent the engine from starting.
  • Water in the Air Box or Exhaust: Water in the air intake or exhaust can block the necessary airflow or create back pressure.

How To Get Your Motorcycle Started Again After Washing?

Alright, I’m assuming that you have given your motorcycle a good wash, and you’re trying to start the engine to go on a ride, but it doesn’t start.

What to do now…?

The first thing I would recommend is to park your motorcycle on a side stand and wait for the water to dry off.

Give your motorcycle an hour or two. It’s better to give it a whole day to dry off all moisture naturally.

But if you wash your motorcycle at a washing station, you must have to return home. In that case, you can’t wait a whole day to dry off your bike naturally.

So, here is what to do if your motorcycle refuses to start after washing…

1. Dry Spark Plug Cavity With Compress Air

If your motorcycle is not starting after washing, the most common reason is the presence of water in the spark plug cavity.

I have often faced this problem on my motorcycle after washing it. The problem resolves after drying off the cavity.

The water inside the spark plug cavity affects the functions and won’t generate a solid spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

So, evacuate the water from the spark plug cavity. You can use compressed air to dry off the water droplets from the engine and spark plug area.

If you don’t have the availability of compressed air, soak the water with a dry cloth or sponge and wait a few minutes to dry off the remaining water droplets.

2. Dry Air Filter

A motorcycle engine runs on the combustion of air-fuel mixture into the engine cylinder.

If the air filter soaks water during the wash, it won’t supply the correct portion of air supply into the combustion chamber, and your motorcycle faces difficulty in starting.

Let your air filter dry in sunlight for an hour, and see if your motorcycles starts. It’s better to replace the air filter if the pores look clogged.

I recommend reading my other guide on how often to change motorcycle air filters. You’ll get a detailed idea about the symptoms of a bad air filter.

3. Inspect the Wet Electric Connections

If you’ve tried the above two methods and your motorcycle still refuses to start, it needs advanced troubleshooting.

The water might have entered into the electric system, causing short circuits or corroded connections.

Open the motorcycle seat and inspect the battery terminals.

The battery terminals should be neat and clean. Ensure that there is no sign of carbon deposits around positive and negative terminals.

Next, follow the wire connection path coming from the battery and check for any wet or loose connections, bare wires, and wires with cracks in the insulation.

If you notice any signs of moisture in the ignition system, I advise you to disconnect the positive battery terminal and dry off the water with a hair drier or blower.

Once all the connections and circuits are dried, connect the battery terminal and check if your motorcycle starts.

These are three quick troubleshooting you must follow if your motorcycle won’t start after washing. Apart from these, you should also ensure water hasn’t entered the fuel tank.

Open the tank and see the presence of any water droplets in the gasoline. If water droplets are visible, you must empty the old fuel from the tank and refill it with fresh fuel.

Preventive Measures Before Washing The Motorcycle

Man Washing Motorcycle At Car Wash Shop

Washing a motorcycle is simple and easy as long as you take some precautions. Here are some preventive measures before washing a bike:

  • Cover the spark plug and air filter area with aluminum foil and rubber band.
  • Protect the parts related to ignition and electronics.
  • If you’re using a pressure washer hose, keep the pressure low, watering the top part of your motorcycle.
  • Avoid using high pressure around the engine and spark plug area.
  • Cover the exhaust pipe with a grocery bag and rubber band to prevent filling water while washing.

How Long to Wait Before Trying to Start a Motorcycle After Washing?

Wait until all the components have dried thoroughly. This could be a few hours on a sunny day or overnight in a garage.

Can Moisture Damage My Motorcycle Permanently?

Prolonged exposure can lead to corrosion and electrical issues, but immediate and proper care can prevent lasting damage.


A motorcycle that won’t start after washing is frustrating, but it’s often a minor hiccup rather than a catastrophe. Carefully drying electrical components and spark plugs fixes the problem. If it doesn’t resolve, take your bike to a mechanic garage for advanced troubleshooting.

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