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How To Prevent Motorcycle Exhaust Bluing

Chaparral Motorsports
February 21, 2020

A common problem that motorcycle riders face is exhaust bluing. This is when the motorcycle exhaust pipe turns a shade of blue. Many motorcycle riders are a bit perplexed by this phenomenon, as it seems to happen for no reason at all. Of course, there is a reason, and it is important for you to understand what that reason is so you can take the proper steps to correct it and prevent it in the future.

What Causes Motorcycle Exhaust Bluing?

If you have chrome pipes you'll often notice that they will turn blue or discolor. There is a simple reason your motorcycle exhaust pipes might have turned blue. Essentially, the metal becomes discolored as a result of the heat of the exhaust going through the pipes. Usually, the exhaust pipes are designed to resist the heat, so if you spot exhaust bluing on your bike, it is definitely worth investigating. Keep in mind that not all exhaust pipes are immune to bluing, so it may just be a symptom of the particular pipe your motorcycle has. Additionally, it is very common for the exhaust pipe to turn blue when the bike is still being broken in. If it happens shortly after purchasing the bike, chances are good that everything is fine. If your exhaust pipe turns blue much later, you should investigate. Finally, not all exhaust pipes turn blue. Heat turns chrome blue, but if your exhaust pipe is made of stainless steel, the excessive heat will turn it golden color.

What Dangers Does Exhaust Bluing Pose?

You will be happy to hear that exhaust bluing does not pose any danger to you or your bike. The exhaust pipe still works just fine with the blue coloring. However, exhaust bluing may be a sign that something else is wrong with your bike, and this other issue may actually cause a problem. If it happens, it usually means the exhaust is hotter than it is supposed to be. The three most common reasons exhaust might run hot are:

  • The bike is running lean.
  • The bike's timing is off.
  • There is a leak in the exhaust system.

If your bike is running hot enough to turn the exhaust pipes blue, then your bike is at risk of overheating, which can cause some serious problems. If you notice exhaust bluing on your bike, you should either check for these three problems, or take it to a mechanic shop so they can identify why the exhaust is hotter than it is supposed to be.

How To Get Rid of Exhaust Bluing

Luckily, it is relatively easy to get rid of the blue coloration. There are many different cleaning products and polishes that are designed specifically for getting rid of the exhaust bluing.

One example is Blue-Job Metal Polish. With this polish you use the included applicator cloth and a little water to make a paste out of the polish then rub it across the pipe. It's important to make the exhaust is cool to the touch before attempt to clean it. It really is as simple as that to clean, although there is something important you need to consider. These kinds of cleaners can be rough on the finish of the exhaust pipes. Remember that exhaust bluing does not directly cause any problems, so if the blue color does not bother you, you can simply leave it.

How To Permanently Keep Exhaust From Bluing

If your exhaust pipes turned blue, it happened for a reason. Wiping away the blue color does not solve the underlying cause of exhaust bluing, so it will likely come right back. To truly get rid of exhaust bluing, you need to attend to the root of the problem. This will save you the hassle and finish damage that would come as a result of just using the bluing remover over and over. Not to mention this will also keep whatever is causing the bluing from causing other issues.

If you discover that there is nothing wrong with your exhaust system, but the pipes are still turning blue, it may be that your exhaust pipes are not suited for how hot your exhaust runs. In this case, there are some products you can use to still prevent exhaust bluing. A common solution is to line the interior of the exhaust pipes with ceramic. There are kits available to help you with this, but it is still a difficult job to do yourself and easier to have a professional shop that specializes in ceramic coating perform the task.

Alternatively, if you currently don't have heat shields over your head pipes you can look to see if there are heat shields available for your exhaust that will cover exterior of the pipe and blue areas. Another option is to use exhaust wrap. Exhaust and Header Wrap is available in a variety of materials such as fiberglass composite, woven ceramic, titanium, or copper-coated. It comes in strips about 2 inches wide and several feet long. Most of the time you'll find exhaust wrap in white but there are other colors such as black, silver, and gold. Helix Racing Exhaust Insulating Wrap is available in white or tan and comes in 50-foot rolls  

Take care if you choose to cover up your exhaust pipes, as this removes a potential warning sign that something might be wrong with your exhaust system. If you go this route, it is a good idea to get your exhaust system checked out occasionally, or to check it out yourself a few times each year.

Chaparral Motorsports offers a wide range of different motorcycle accessories, products, and parts so you can customize your motorcycle to your liking. No matter what issue you are trying to solve, whether it is improving the bike's performance or simply looking cooler while you ride, Chaparral Motorsports can help.

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