How to Lubricate Your Motorcycle Ignition and Locks is perhaps the quickest and easiest Riders Blog How-To maintenance tip of them all and one that should without question be part of your regular motorcycle maintenance routine. It might also be the tip you get the most mileage out of — literally — because should your motorcycle’s ignition seize up so you can’t start your bike, or a lock seize up so you can’t unlock your bike, or worse of all, your key breaks while being forced to turn in a stiff ignition, well, you ain’t goin’ anywhere!!
Why you need to lubricate your ignition and locks
All day every day the ignition and locks on a motorcycle or scooter are exposed to the elements. As such they are vulnerable to dirt, dust, moisture, and all the other things that can cause the mechanism to corrode, interfere with smooth operation, and otherwise jam up the works.
Happily, lubricating a motorcycle’s ignition and locks to keep them operating smoothly and easily is a dead simple thing to do, and only takes a moment.
What you need to lubricate your ignition and locks
You only need one thing to lubricate an ignition or lock mechanism: graphite powder. Do not use oil or any other type of liquid lubricant as these tend to attract dirt and dust and can quickly gum up the works.
This could get a bit messy…
Working with graphite powder has the potential get a bit messy so wearing nitrile gloves and having some hand cleaner nearby is a good idea. You may also want some quick detailer spray and a microfiber towel standing by to wipe down your motorcycle afterwards.
How To Lubricate Your Motorcycle Ignition and Locks
Lubricating your motorcycle’s ignition and locks is about as simple to do as something gets.
- Always start with a dry ignition and locks.
- Take your key, lay it flat and sprinkle a little graphite powder on to it. You don’t need much.
- Place the key with as much of the graphite powder as you can keep on it into the ignition or lock.
- Work the key in and out and turn it from side to side to distribute the powder. You should feel the lock mechanism begin to ease up and move more smoothly. Repeat the process to add more powder as you feel is needed.
When you are happy with how easily the key is turning, you’re done!
It’s possible to spray graphite powder directly into the ignition or lock. This can even be easier to do sometimes depending on the position or angle of the lock, BUT… use caution. It’s easy to get too much graphite powder in there. This won’t cause any harm to the mechanism but the excess powder may stop the key from inserting all the way into the lock thus making it unable to turn. (Don’t ask how I know…).
You can fix this problem easily with a quick blast of air from a compressed air can to blow out the excess powder. Or simply pucker-up and blow into the lock yourself. Just be sure you protect your eyes from flying powder if you do.
That’s all there is to it!
Easy huh? It’s a good idea to lubricate your ignition and locks once a year (or sooner if you feel it’s needed) to keep them operating smoothly. It’s also not a bad idea to re-lubricate after riding in heavy rain, dunking your bike during a water crossing, or following any other event that might introduce water or contaminants into the lock mechanism. Now that you know how, it will be easy.
Ride safe. Have fun.
PS This method works great on locks around the house and other places too.