How To Waterproof Your Electric Scooter
If you own your electric scooter long enough, there will come a time when you need to ride it in the rain or snow. For me at least, those days are sometimes very frequent.
Electric scooters are hugely popular in the UK, USA, Europe, Canada, and many other locations where both rain and snow are frequent, sometimes throughout the entire year. As more people use scooters as a real means of transportation, especially in these locations, they need to be well prepared to handle all types of weather.
Most of the modern electric scooters today are water-resistant, at least to a degree. If you’ve bought an electric scooter in the last two years, chances are it will be able to handle some rain just fine.
However, even modern scooters are far from perfect. IP ratings for moisture protection of 5 or above are still rare, even among the most popular of scooters.
Not to mention older models. Manufacturers were still struggling to serve the electric scooter as a viable means of transport to the public, and water resistance was not a huge priority.
No matter the electric scooter, the year you’ve bought it, or even the price paid, it will still not be fully waterproof (there are only a handful of those even today).
These are all the ways you can make your electric scooter more waterproof:
- find out your electric scooter’s IP rating, if the battery’s IP rating is a separate value, find that out as well
- make sure your scooter is dry when you fold it
- get a waterproof cover for your scooter
- dress for rainy or bad weather (not a scooter tip, but still very useful)
- tape the gaps and holes in the deck
- carry duct-tape with you, cover the charging port if riding through rain
- put o-rings around non-sealed screws and holes with wires or cables
- seal non-functional holes with silicone
- use transparent sticky plastic covers, or adhesive tape, to protect the screen, the controls, and other electronics
- extend the mudguards
- use silicone-based conformal coating to waterproof the connectors and solders (you can do the same to electronics too, but that’s a more advanced method)
- grease the motor wheel axles
These tips, which we will describe in more detail below, will largely depend on the model of the scooter. Some tips will not apply to your scooter in particular, but many are universal and can be applied to pretty much any scooter out there.
Read on for the best tips, hacks, and customizations to make your electric scooter better equipped to handle rain, snow, adverse weather, and water in general.
What to know
Familiarize yourself with some important details that will make the job of waterproofing it easier.
The most important thing to know about your electric scooter is its IP rating. This information often comes in the manual or Google it around. If there is no information available about the IP rating of your scooter, it might mean that it’s not very water-resistant.
The IP rating has two digits, for example, “IP54”. What we’re interested in is the second digit, or “4” in this case. Simply put, the higher the second digit, the more water-resistant the scooter is. 4 is a pretty good water resistance level, providing protection against water splashes, and it is the most frequent grade that IP rated scooters have. Anything above 6 is almost truly waterproof, but those scooters are rare and expensive.
This isn’t always the case, but the money spent on the scooter can sometimes be an indicator of the general level of its quality. This will often include how well the scooter is waterproofed.
Manufacturers that produce cheaper versions of popular scooters are not so detail-oriented, and their products are often less protected against water. Simply knowing this can save you a few surprises if you’ve bought the scooter for very cheap. Don’t get me wrong – I myself often go for the cheapest version of something that still looks at least somewhat high-quality, but sometimes I do end up with a piece of junk.
Be aware that electric scooters, like everything else, get worn out over time and it may become easier for them to break. Even if you never ride your scooter through rain, it can still get rusty from the humidity in the air.
Why should you waterproof your scooter?
There are two main reasons, and they both are especially good reasons if you live in a wet climate.
The first one is to protect the inner workings and the electronics of the scooter from water damage and short circuits. These are the parts that are most at risk from accidental contact with water.
The second one is corrosion. If water gets stuck somewhere where it shouldn’t be inside your scooter, it will start corroding and rusting it.
To avoid all of that, we usually need to further waterproof our scooters.
There is one thing worth remembering when thinking about waterproofing your scooter.
Think about the scooters you rent through the sharing apps like Lime and Bird. Obviously they must end up in the rain quite a lot, and yet we see these companies spreading like wildfire. I haven’t found an official number about how much of their scooters break down because of water, but since they don’t seem to be too concerned, I would say not that many.
There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you protect your scooter without doing any changes to it. Many of these are either common sense or general good form when it comes to ownership.
Don’t fold the scooter when wet
Many scooters, when folded, set the handlebar at a negative angle, which makes the stem of the handlebar be higher than the handlebar itself.
If the scooter is wet, this causes drops of water to slide down the stem and end up on the LED screen or the throttle.
As electronics, they are some of the most vulnerable parts of the scooter. Preventing water to reach them in the first place is much more efficient than fixing them later.
Don’t ride in rain, snow, hailstorm, ice, mud or puddles of water
Sorry, I know this is obvious, but I had to mention it. Otherwise, this list wouldn’t be complete.
As much as you waterproof your scooter, it will still be an electronic device, one that the manufacturers specifically advise against using in wet environments.
Extend the lifespan of your scooter by simply abiding by that advice.
If you expect bad weather, leaving your scooter home is a good move.
This may be even more true in the winter. Authorities often spray salt on the streets to melt the snow, and keep in mind that salty water is more dangerous for electronics than clean water.
If you have no choice and must ride in wet weather or even on wet roads, reduce your speed at about 2/3 of what you would normally drive with.
Get a waterproof cover
You can get a fully waterproof cover for your scooter that will not set you back that much.
This is more for protecting your scooter while parked. You will not be able to ride in this thing without difficulties.
Dress for rainy or bad weather
Another probably obvious tip, but it may remind someone.
This will do nothing for your scooter, but it will make your rides in the rain a lot safer.
If you’re not comfortable while riding in the rain, whether it is because you’re cold, you’re wet, or you can’t see, the chances of an accident will increase.
Get thick, warm clothes, waterproof if possible. Besides the helmet, get some goggles that will prevent the wind and rain from getting into your face.
What follows are methods that include modifying your scooter in some ways.
Some are completely external, harmless, and reversible, almost cosmetic even. These are the first things you can try and not even risk losing your warranty.
The other methods may include opening up your scooter, or diving deep into its most sacred electronic parts. Naturally, these methods are riskier and I recommend them only as a last resort and if you have at least some knowledge of electronics.
Be aware that some of these methods may lapse your warranty with the manufacturer.
Make sure your scooter is powered off before you do any of the following methods.
Tape the gaps in the deck
Applying duct tape is one of the best, fastest, and cheapest way to waterproof your scooter.
You will not mess with its internals, so you don’t risk losing your warranty.
If for whatever reason you decide to remove the duct tape, you can do so very easily and without any consequences to the scooter.
In many cases, about 80% of the waterproofing of the scooter can be done exclusively by duct tape. Such a simple solution, and you can achieve so much.
It may not be good design, nor safe even for that matter, but with many scooters, you can actually see some electrical wires through the edges of the deck. Some of the most famous culprits include models of the Speedway 4 and the Dualtron Thunder.
The solution is to apply adhesive tape liberally to the cracks. Pick tape that matches the color of your scooter, or paint over it later. Or don’t, if you like different colors on your scooter, that’s fine too. As long as you like the look, nothing else matters really.
This will provide protection of the wires from water.
You may have to redo this every few months. It is literally a duct-tape solution, far from a permanent one. But you get it done by yourself, in no time, and for free. So going through it once every few months is more than worth it.
Be aware: don’t apply duct tape everywhere you see a hole! Some holes are for exhaust,
Carry some duct tape with you and tape over the charging port
While we’re at it, if you’re expecting heavy rain, get some duct tape on you. If it starts to pour, apply some tape on the charging port, which is one of the most vulnerable points when it comes to rain.
This is especially useful for scooters that have the charging port lower and closer to the ground. Riding through rain really increases the chances of water getting in there, even if the scooter has a protective cap. Better safe than sorry.
Put o-rings around non-sealed screws and holes with wires or cables
A great, relatively safe way to make your scooter more resitant to water.
Users have noticed that water tends to get in through some holes that have wires or cables going through.
You will need to pop-open the deck for this, and do some disassembly. Before reassembling, simply put a fitting o-ring and screw back the screw around the wire.
Put the fitting o-ring around the cable
Waterproofing with silicone
One of the first waterproofing methods you can safely try is silicone fillings.
Many scooters have small, non-functional holes throughout their deck, stem or around the handlebars.
The tricky part is determining whether the hole is truly non-functional or is there for a reason. However, these are very rare on scooters. Maybe there is some sort of an exhaust hole on your scooter, but otherwise many holes can be filled.
You can do a little test if you’re not sure about a particular hole. Put the deck of the scooter on a higher object, so that the wheels are off the ground. Press the throttle, and see if there’s air coming either in or out of that hole. If it isn’t, you can probably safely fill it with silicone.
Some of the places that are typically filled with silicone to achieve great effects are tiny little spaces and holes around the screws in the backlight, or some holes on the bottom or on the sides of the deck, and in fact, every place where there’s a wire coming out of.
Other than external holes in the scooter frame, scooter enthusiasts often go a step further and waterproof some internals of the scooter with silicone too.
If you’ve never done silicone filling in your life, worry not – it’s very simple. Just cut the nozzle of the gun and start filling up the holes.
Protect the power button, the screen, and the throttle
Another vulnerable piece of electronics on the scooter is the power button and the LED screen.
There are two basic ways to protect the screen:
- stick a transparent plastic cover over it (like the ones you see on a brand new cellphone)
- put adhesive tape over the power button (it’s not like you’ll forget where it is)
Protecting the throttle will be somewhat different for every scooter.
Some are already pretty water-resistant and may not need much more protection.
For others, users have either got completely new, waterproof throttles and replaced the old ones, or put some extra layer around the throttle, like wrapping a balloon around it.
Extend the mudguard
Some electric scooters have shorter mudguards than they need to. In wet weather, users have often complained that it sprays mud and dirt all over their legs.
The electric scooter community combats this issue with ingenuity, and again, some duct tape.
One owner has added a few extra centimeters of rear mudguard by constructing it out of duct tape.
Waterproof the connectors
People frequently consider the connectors and solders as weak points when it comes to water resistance.
One great way to make them more waterproof is to use a silicone-based conformal coating to protect them.
If you don’t know what that means – don’t worry, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. You just need to:
- Buy the silicone solution for conformal coating
- Apply it to the parts you need
- Let it dry for at least 12 hours
While not exactly done on an electric kick scooter, here’s a video that shows the process of conformal coating a drone. It is the most helpful video currently available on this topic.
The guy in the video really digs into the electronics. Since we’re talking only about the connectors here, you won’t need to go into that much depth.
Just pop open your deck, apply some conformal coating on the connectors, and let it dry. That’s it.
The best thing about this method is that you will not lose the warranty by doing it.
Waterproof electronics (risky)
If you take waterproofing by conformal coating a step further, you can actually go for the electronics in your scooter.
For the sake of completeness, I will mention this as a possible method, but I don’t really recommend it.
First of all, it does require a bit more know-how and some DIY and electronics skills. If you’re not familiar with any of the internal workings of your scooter, it’s best to skip this method. It is an expensive piece of equipment you probably don’t want to tinker around too much unless you know what you’re doing, and explaining everything there is to know is outside the scope of this post.
Second, you will almost definitely lose your warranty.
Third, there is rarely a real need for this. Manufacturers know that the electronics are at high risks of water damage, and usually try and do a good job of waterproofing them.
All the warnings aside, some users have crossed the line and done conformal coating on the controllers and batteries. They claim they have increased the waterproof level of their scooters. The problem here is that we have no way to measure their real-world improvements scientifically we just have to take their word for it.
Grease the motor wheel axles
Just simply apply some thick grease to the motor wheel axle.
Your scooter can have motors in the front wheel, the back wheel, or both. You will need to find out and apply the grease there.
There are many ways to make your electric scooter more waterproof.
Often times, you won’t need to do anything at all. This is especially true if you live somewhere relatively dry.
For the rest of us, some extra waterproofing is necessary. I suggest going for the non-intrusive methods first, and only digging inside the scooters if you live in the UK or something similar.
There are not a lot of great resources on electric scooter waterproofing yet. You can check out this guide for waterproofing electric bikes for some extra methods.