How To Service Your Cooling System On Your Motorcycle

Enjoy the riding season knowing your motorcycle engine is properly prepared to stand the heat.

How To Service Your Cooling System
How to service your motorcycle's cooling system©Julia LaPalme

Summer heat isn’t just hard on you as a rider; it’s also hard on your engine. Make it a little easier by performing a cooling-system service. Most owner’s manuals recommend replacing the coolant every two years. This procedure works for most bikes, but some have very specific steps to take. Consult your manual before you begin.

If your bike was recently ridden, give it some time to cool before you pop the radiator cap. Most coolant is toxic, so keep it off painted surfaces, keep it in a closed container, and dispose of it pr
Step 1
If your bike was recently ridden, give it some time to cool before you pop the radiator cap. Most coolant is toxic, so keep it off painted surfaces, keep it in a closed container, and dispose of it properly.
©Julia LaPalme
Now is a good time to inspect the radiator hoses for cracks or damage. Also inspect the hose clamps and take a close look at the radiator itself. Use a small flat-blade screwdriver to straighten bent
Step 2
Now is a good time to inspect the radiator hoses for cracks or damage. Also inspect the hose clamps and take a close look at the radiator itself. Use a small flat-blade screwdriver to straighten bent cooling fins.
©Julia LaPalme
Position a drain pan under the bike and unscrew the drain bolt on the water pump, identifiable by the copper washer behind the bolt head. Open the radiator cap and allow the coolant to drain. Drain th
Step 3
Position a drain pan under the bike and unscrew the drain bolt on the water pump, identifiable by the copper washer behind the bolt head. Open the radiator cap and allow the coolant to drain. Drain the reserve tank as well.
©Julia LaPalme
Flushing out the radiator isn’t usually necessary (and creates a lot of contaminated water to dispose of), but if you have scale buildup you might want to treat your radiator with a cleaning solution
Step 4
Flushing out the radiator isn't usually necessary (and creates a lot of contaminated water to dispose of), but if you have scale buildup you might want to treat your radiator with a cleaning solution to remove residue and scale.
©Julia LaPalme
Reinstall the drain bolt and pour in fresh coolant to the top of the filler neck. Then start the bike (with the radiator cap off) and run it for several minutes, blipping the throttle and rocking the
Step 5
Reinstall the drain bolt and pour in fresh coolant to the top of the filler neck. Then start the bike (with the radiator cap off) and run it for several minutes, blipping the throttle and rocking the bike gently to help free any air bubbles.
©Julia LaPalme
Top off, reinstall the radiator cap, reattach the reservoir hose, fill the reservoir tank to the upper line, and you’re good to go! Enjoy the riding season knowing your engine is properly prepared to
Step 6 Top off, reinstall the radiator cap, reattach the reservoir hose, fill the reservoir tank to the upper line, and you're good to go! Enjoy the riding season knowing your engine is properly prepared to stand the heat.©Julia LaPalme