Winter Weather Warning!
‘Will it ever stop raining?’ That’s the thought running through my head lately as we experience daily downpours of near-biblical proportions. That thought is followed closely by ‘I hope everyone is watching out for their scooters in the wet’......
That’s the reason for this message. We need to have a recap on the use of e-scooters in wet weather.
Most manufacturers offer some level of ‘IP’ rating on their scooters. IP ratings are an international standard across a range of goods. Your phone may well have one, for example. IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’. The first digit is protection against solids, e.g. dust. The second digit against water. So IP54 means level 5 protection against dust, level 4 against water.
Still with me?
Each level has defining characteristics. Level 4 for example means ‘Protected against water splashed from all directions. Limited ingress permitted’. Level 5 means ‘Protected against jets of water. Limited ingress permitted’.
So IP54, which is where many scooters sit, should be protected against all dust, and against water splashing, but not jets of water. And limited ingress is still permitted at this level (which is a part I am not keen on, as ‘limited ingress’ can still cause ‘unlimited damage’ to electrics!)
It’s not surprising then that no manufacturer to my knowledge will warranty their scooters against water damage. Yes, that’s correct, warranty is voided by water damage. To be fair to them, how do they know how wet it has been?
We have found through experience that not all IP ratings are created equal. Some scooters sharing the same rating have been found in practice to have markedly different levels of protection. Even across the same range there is sometimes variance. The truth is, the majority of major issues and failures we see during wetter periods are caused by water ingress.
Scooters are low to the ground, so pick up splashes, puddles, and jets of water from the wheels quite easily. They have tall stems for water to run down, and wiring, controls, and flat deck areas for water to collect on and creep inside….
So what can you do?
Obviously limiting the use in the rain is one thing. Sit out a downpour under shelter, ride on when it passes. But what other measures? Some we have seen are:
Put a small plastic bag over the throttle to shield the buttons and lever from wetness
Add fender-extenders (commercially available, we have some in-store, or even cut-up milk cartons or similar can be effective) to limit water jets and splashing still further
Seal up any obvious points where you can see water might get in with window sealant or similar
Add additional sealing to areas where factory seals may be absent, damaged, or lacking
Dry your scooter off with a towel as soon as you are able, if it does get wet, and perhaps leave it in a room with a dehumidifier on to get it fully dry
Use a cover if you have to leave it outside for a period. We have an option in-store for you
Wrap critical areas in glad-wrap
However dirty it gets, NEVER use a pressure washer on it!
Check for fixtures that have come loose
Some of these are more effective than others, some work some of the time. If you have any other measures you take yourself, we would love to hear of them. Drop us a line.
What is the industry doing about it?
‘Not enough’, is the short answer. We have good communications with our suppliers, and we have been feeding back constantly on the need for the industry to collectively raise its game on waterproofing. We are seeing some improvements, but there is a way to go yet. We would love to see scooters you could chuck in a swimming pool, pull out and ride away happily on. Maybe one day…
What can you do if it happens to you?
If you do find your scooter has stopped working after being wet, don’t panic. We have seen several scooters ‘recover’ once dried out, and come back to life. But you may have shorted out some circuitry, most often the ‘controller’, or circuit board, the silver box of tricks that runs the scooters systems. These can be replaced, and usually that puts you back in action. This can occur some time after the wetting incident, as water once inside the battery compartment cannot easily get out and can continue to wreak havoc in there.
Contact us for advice if this happens to you, and we can advise on a case-by-case basis.
It has not been my intention to scare you, but to give some context and information on the hurdles we all face when using our scooters in varying weather conditions. Forewarned is forearmed!