Many of us depend on our electric scooters daily. But can we ride them on rainy days, or should we keep them dry in the garage?
It is no secret that water and electronics aren't best friends. Water can cause short circuits in electric scooters and permanently damage electronic components.
So, is it even safe to ride in the rain? Let's understand weatherproofing before discussing how to adapt to the changing weather as a rider.
The IP (Ingress Protection) code is an international standard used to describe an electronic device's level of protection against liquids and solids.
IP ratings are used in the electric scooter industry to
IP ratings are represented by "IP" followed by two digits (e.g. IP54).
The first number describes the level of protection against solids and ranges from 0-6.
The second number describes the level of protection against water and ranges from 0-9.
The digits can also be represented by an X. This means no data is available to specify a protection rating. This does not necessarily mean there is no protection.
The first digit protection level is as follows:
|1||Objects > 50 mm (2 in)|
|2||Objects > 12.5 mm (0.49 in)|
|3||Objects > 2.5 mm (0.098 in)|
|4||Objects > 1 mm (0.039 in)|
The second digit is considered the most important in terms of electric scooters, as it specifically refers to protection against water.
|1||Vertically falling water drops|
|2||Vertically falling water drops at a 15° angle|
|3||Spraying water at a 60° angle|
|4||Splashes from any direction|
|5||Pressured sprays from any angle|
|6||High-pressure sprays from any angle|
|7||Temporary immersion (up to 1 m depth for 30 mins)|
|8||Continuous immersion (up to 3 m)|
|9||Very high pressure and temperatures|
While the above standards are helpful, it isn't evident how they translate to a real-life scenario on an electric scooter.
To make life easier, here are our recommended limits for riding your electric scooter in the rain, depending on its IP rating. We have omitted some IP codes as they generally aren't seen in electric scooters.
|IP Code||Recommended Limit|
|IPX4||Wet surfaces, light rain, avoid puddles|
|IPX5||Light-medium rain, avoid puddles|
|IPX6||Heavy rain, can handle puddles|
|IPX7||Heavy rain and big puddles|
|IP34||On-roading, light rain, avoid puddles|
|IP44||Minimal off-roading, light rain, avoid puddles|
|IP54||Dry trails, light rain, avoid puddles|
|IP55||Smooth wet trails, light-medium rain, can handle puddles|
|IP65||Off-roading, light-medium rain, avoid puddles|
|IP66||Off-roading, heavy rain, can handle puddles|
|None||Be wary of all wet conditions|
Your riding habits and geographic location largely determine the level of ingress protection you need.
We consider IPX4 or IP54 to be the bare minimum for any type of rain riding, while IPX5 or IP55 is recommended.
If you live in an area prone to rain (>70 days a year), IPX5 or IP55 are the minimal requirements, while IPX6 or IP66 will keep your mind at ease.
If you plan to go on thrilling off-road adventures in the mud, you should look for IP66 or IP67 scooters (very few of those).
When riding an electric scooter in wet conditions, there are many other things to worry about than water splashes and IP ratings.
Here are some essential safety tips for riding in wet conditions.
Research has shown that braking distances increase on wet surfaces. This is primarily caused by reduced friction, which is essential for stopping power.
Anticipate the road ahead and start braking earlier than you would in dry conditions. Apply the brakes gently and maintain a steady pressure to avoid skidding or losing control.
Rain reduces visibility in traffic - both for you and other road users. If your electric scooter is already lacking in lights and reflectors, we recommend that you purchase some extra ones.
You should always have visible lights at the front and back, including reflectors on the scooter's front, back, and sides.
For extra safety, consider getting a reflective vest or similar clothing that increases your visibility further.
Ensuring that your tires are in optimal condition is crucial when riding an electric scooter, especially on wet surfaces where traction is compromised.
First, check the tread depth on your tires. The thread channels water away from the tire. Worn treads drastically reduce the tire's ability to disperse water, increasing the likelihood of hydroplaning. If the thread is worn, it is time for a tire change.
Next, ensure you have the correct tire pressure. Pneumatic tires should be inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure to ensure maximum grip and performance.
Overinflated tires tend to have a smaller contact patch with the road, reducing grip, while underinflated tires can affect handling, increase braking distance, and negatively impact the scooter's range.
Solid tires have less traction than air tires so we greatly advise getting a scooter with pneumatic tires or swapping solid ones out if you ride a lot in the rain.
Cornering is one of the most dangerous parts of riding in wet conditions. This is arguably where the chance of slipping out is the greatest.
Always slow down before cornering, and try to smoothen out your corner rather than making a really sharp turn. Stay as wide as the traffic allows you to, but don't compromise your or others' safety.
Painted lines can be extremely slippery when wet. The same goes for manhole covers and metal surfaces such as train tracks.
Leaves on the road have the potential to really throw you out of balance, particularly when they're accumulated. They may even be icy in colder months while the road seems dry, so ride carefully.
You are advised never to engage your brakes when your tires are in contact with the above surfaces. Instead, look ahead, anticipate them, and slow down before riding over them.
Completely waterproof electric scooters don't exist. They are only water resistant to a certain extent.
In fact, water damage is extremely common in electric scooters.
We surveyed hundreds of riders with broken electric scooters. In a whopping 31% of cases, water damage was the issue.
To avoid a sad (and wet) fate for your electric scooter, incorporate the following tips into your riding habits:
Even though your electric scooter carries a high IP rating, limiting water exposure is a great idea. As mentioned, the 100% waterproof electric scooter doesn't exist.
Riding in the rain means dealing with puddles. While it might be fun to splash through them, it's better to avoid them when you can.
Just like a good raincoat will wear out with lots of use, your scooter’s ability to resist water can weaken over time.
Think of it this way: dodging puddles when it's safe to do so isn’t just about staying dry; it’s about taking care of your scooter.
Always ensure that avoiding water doesn’t put you or others at risk, and prioritize safety first on wet rides.
After a rainy ride, always wipe your electric scooter with a clean, dry cloth.
Water left on your scooter can sneak into tiny cracks and cause trouble. Plus, dust and dirt mixed with water can corrode your scooter and cause premature wear.
To keep your scooter running smoothly for longer, make drying it off a post-ride habit. And remember, always use a clean cloth to avoid adding extra dirt.
A swift wipe-down after wet rides is a simple step towards maintaining your scooter’s longevity and performance.
While this step is more technical, it is worth the effort if you regularly expose your scooter to the rain and have a bit of DIY prowess. It is reasonably cheap to do and doesn't take more than a few hours.
There are many ways to weatherproof an electric scooter, and the steps to take depend on your model.
However, the general goal is to insulate exposed openings and waterproof wire connectors.
Typically, good results can be achieved with a simple, transparent silicone sealant. Just ensure it is 100% natural silicone like the Gorilla Sealant below, as acid-based sealants can corrode and damage electronic connectors.
Riding in the winter? Read our electric scooter winter guide for actionable tips to stay safe through snow and ice.