How Do I Cool Down My Motorcycle: Best Practices for Engine Care

by Karen Neill

Motorcycle Maintenance

Keeping Your Motorcycle Cool: A Rider’s Guide

Motorcycles are air-cooled machines or use a liquid coolant system, and both can struggle in hot weather. Here are some tips on how do I cool down my motorcycle.

Before the Ride

  • Coolant Check: Make sure your coolant level is correct for your bike’s specifications. A low coolant level can lead to overheating. If your bike is liquid-cooled, consider using a high-performance coolant designed for hotter climates. Please see our focused blog on motorcycle coolant for more information.
  • Radiator Care: Inspect your radiator (if your bike has one) for any bent fins or debris. Bent fins can restrict airflow and reduce cooling efficiency. A clogged radiator won’t be able to transfer heat properly. You can carefully straighten bent fins and use compressed air to blow out debris.

On the Road

  • Ride Smart: Avoid stop-and-go traffic whenever possible. At slow speeds, the engine isn’t getting enough airflow to cool itself. If you’re stuck in traffic, try to rev the engine slightly to keep the coolant circulating.
  • Maintain Speed: Keeping a steady speed on the highway allows for optimal airflow through the radiator (if liquid-cooled) or over the engine fins (if air-cooled).
  • Find Shade: If you have to pull over, park in a shaded area whenever possible. This will help to reduce the radiant heat load on the engine.
  • Air-cooled engines: Air-cooled engines rely on the movement of your bike to keep cool. I ride a Harley Davidson Sportster which is an 883cc air-cooled engine and believe me, on a hot summer day in London traffic I struggle. The bike itself makes the heat you feel under all of your riding gear a lot worse because when your motorcycle is stationary the heat from the engine radiates up to you. However, once you start riding the air will start to cool the engine which is a huge relief for the rider!

At Home

  • How to Cool Your Motorcycle Fast at Home: Never try to cool your motorbike fast, it makes no difference if you are at home or the side of the road with an overheating motorbike. The engine needs to cool down naturally. Sensors & engine components need to be given a chance to cool and settle and this really should be forced. 

Additional Tips

  • Oil Choice: Use the recommended oil weight for your motorcycle’s engine and climate. The right oil viscosity will help to lubricate and cool the engine.
  • Aftermarket Cooling Upgrades: For extreme situations, consider aftermarket upgrades like a larger radiator or an oil cooler. However, these modifications should be done by a qualified mechanic.

Why My Motorcycle is Overheating? 

Important Note

  • Never Pour Cold Water on a Hot Engine!  The rapid temperature change can warp the engine block. So, if anyone ever asks ‘How do I cool my motorcycle fast’ the answer is ‘DON’T‘! Just follow the advice in this article to help keep you riding. 

By following these tips, you can help keep your motorcycle cool and running smoothly, even on the hottest days. Remember, if your bike starts to overheat, pull over to a safe location and turn off the engine. Let it cool down completely before restarting. If you’re concerned about overheating, consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual or a qualified mechanic.

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