Are you getting fed up with that ugly blue tinge that is ruining the glistening luster of your motorcycle exhaust? You are not alone. Bike forums are packed with posts from motorcycle enthusiasts complaining about ‘why do exhaust pipes turn blue’ and wanting to know how to remove bluing from stainless steel. It’s a common problem and is highly irritating.
It is mainly caused by heat penetrating from the inner wall and through the body of the exhaust pipe. When it reaches the chrome surface, the heat causes it to turn blue. Luckily, there’s a simple way to get rid of it and the results are impressive. Here’s how you do it.
Essential Steps For Fixing Bluing On Motorcycle Exhausts
Here’s how to remove blue from chrome pipes.
- Remove debris and dirt
In addition to the blue discoloration, you are very likely to have plenty of dirt and debris on your motorcycle exhaust pipes. This needs to be completely removed before you can go any further.
However, don’t be tempted to use any harsh chemicals to clean your bike, however filthy it is. They could damage the chrome and make the situation worse. The same is true for high pressure water sprays so give them a miss.
Always wait until your bike has completely cooled down before you start. Rinse it with cool water to remove most of the dirt. You can use motorcycle shampoo and a soft cloth to get rid of the remaining dirt and grease but don’t drag the cloth along the surface because that will cause scratches. It is important to take time to remove every last bit of dirt at this stage. Rinse it off with cool water.
- Dry and dust the exhaust
Before you go any further, the exhaust must be completely dry and free from dust. To do this you need to invest in a microfiber cloth. You get what you pay for here. The more expensive cloths have more fibers and do a better job so it is worth spending a bit more on them to get a high quality product. Use only one section of your microfiber cloth at a time. To do this, you need to fold it in half and then in half again. This gives you eight surfaces for cleaning which is plenty for removing every last speck of dust from your motorcycle exhaust.
- Polish the pipes
For this stage, you need another microfiber cloth. Put some of the polish onto a microfiber cloth and dab it gently onto the exhaust pipe. Then rub it into the chrome in small circular motions. Don’t try to rush this. You need to work on one small area at a time. Focus on one square inch and complete it before you move onto the next one. Use a clean section of the microfiber for each new section.
Keep going until you have covered all of the exhaust pipe.
- Buff the exhaust pipes
Finally, you need to use a clean microfiber cloth to buff the pipes. This removes the last traces of polish and perfects the finish. Some people like to wash the exhaust again with motorcycle shampoo before the final buffing.
Things To Bear In Mind About Bluing
There are a few things to bear in mind about this process.
- Keep it cool.
This process will work best in cool conditions so the pipes do not get too hot. Don’t attempt this job in direct sunlight. Move your bike into the shade or preferably into a garage.
- Only use liquid polish
Powder polish will not work for this job. It is abrasive and will cause permanent scratches on the chrome of your motorcycle exhaust. With repeated use, it could completely strip off the chrome.
- Don’t overdo it
Chrome polish works by removing a thin layer of chrome from the top surface. Therefore, every time you carry out this procedure, it makes your chrome layer thinner. For that reason, this is a job that should only be carried out now and again.
- Don’t expect miracles
Sometimes it is not possible to achieve the perfect results. You may find that the chrome plating has completely burnt off and the blue color that you can see is the nickel that is left over from the chrome plating process.
- Re-chroming is an option
If you are not happy with the appearance of the exhausts, it is possible to have the chrome applied again.
- Cover it over
Some owners prefer to cover up the problem. Plastic or chrome coverings are possible options. They are available in many shapes and sizes and can look great. However, they will not prevent bluing and when you take them off, the problem will still be there.
Preventing Bluing On Motorcycle Exhausts
It makes sense to try to prevent motorcycle exhaust discoloration in the first place so that the blue discoloration does not come back. It is caused by the heat in the motorcycle’s exhaust and may be an indication your motorcycle exhaust system is running too hot. This is not an usual problem but it is something that needs to be investigated and rectified.
It is definitely worth getting your bike checked over by a qualified mechanic at regular intervals to stop this problem from developing. If you carry out your bike maintenance yourself, you should look for signs that your bike’s engine is not running at optimal conditions.
The excessive heat that causes bluing is often caused by an engine running lean. This makes it run at a higher temperature than normal and the exhaust gets excessively hot. Look for potential leaks at the junction where the system meets the engine. A tune-up can also help. Motorcycle engines can run hot when they are receiving excessive air so this needs to be investigated.
With some simple adjustments, you should be able to get the temperature of your system back within acceptable limits and your chrome exhaust looking its best once more.