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▷▷ 2021 ▷ How to wash and repair the radiator of a motorcycle

4 julio, 2021

Prepare your motorcycle for the heat with a cooling system service. The summer heat is not only hard on you as a motorcyclist; it is also hard on your engine. Make it a little easier by doing a coolant wash and servicing the rest of the bike’s cooling system.

Most owner’s manuals recommend replacing the coolant every two years. Here at, we give you detailed instructions on how to update your motorcycle’s coolant. This procedure works for most bikes, but some have very specific steps to follow. Check your manual before you begin.

Make sure the bike cools down

Work on a cold bike to make sure you don’t burn yourself on pressurized coolant. © Julia LaPalme

First, your bike must be cool before breaking the radiator cap. You don’t want to burn yourself. Also, most OE coolant is toxic, so keep it away from your hands and paint, and don’t let your pets drink it. If it’s green, it’s probably made with ethylene glycol, which is poisonous. Most modern aftermarket coolants are made with non-toxic propylene glycol. Those will be blue or pink. Make sure you have a sealed container close by so you can transport it to a disposal center when the job is done.

Remove the bodywork and inspect the radiator and hoses: repair motorcycle radiator, straighten motorcycle radiator


Give your cooling system one more time before starting to drain. © Julia LaPalme

Before you can drain the cooling system, you will need to remove any bodywork that is necessary to reach the radiator cap, water pump, and reserve tank. This procedure varies by bike, so take your time and be careful not to damage any of the bodywork tabs. Now is also a good time to inspect your radiator hoses for cracks or damage. Inspect the hose clamps and take a close look at the radiator. Use a small flat-blade screwdriver to straighten the bent cooling fins.

Drain the coolant: repair motorcycle radiators

Drain, drain, drain. © Julia LaPalme

Once everything is exposed, locate the drain plug on the water pump. It will have a sealing washer behind it and is usually located at the lowest point of the pump cover. Place a drain pan under the bike and unscrew the drain bolt. The fluid will drip slowly until it breaks the radiator cap and then it will squirt out. If the reserve tank has a siphon hose or is easy to remove, drain the tank, rinse it with fresh water, and replace it.

Flush the radiator and hoses with a hose: how to wash radiator

If you notice that your coolant is very discolored, or if you haven’t changed it in the proper service interval, go ahead and hose down the radiator. With the water running through the radiator, check for cracks and hardening. Check the hose clamps for tightness and also re-look at the radiator fins.

Refill Radiator and Cooling System: Radiator Repair


It’s time to reload the system with the right material. Julia LaPalme

Now is the time to refill the cooling system. Put a new sealing washer on the drain bolt and then tighten it. Most motorcycle coolants come pre-mixed and ready-to-use, but others come as a concentrate that you must mix yourself.

It is usually a 50/50 mix. Be sure to use distilled water to avoid adding minerals or contaminants to the mix. Again, don’t mix your coolant with tap water, it can leave deposits inside the delicate radiator fins. Reinstall the drain bolt and pour new coolant into the top of the filler neck.

Burp radiator and test system

Burp the radiator and you’re ready to go for a ride. Julia LaPalme

Once you have filled the radiator to the top of the filler neck, start the bike (without the radiator cap) and run it for several minutes, pressing the gas pedal and gently rocking the bike to help release air.

This is called burping a radiator and it will ensure that there are no air bubbles trapped in the cooling system. Recheck the fluid level, top up again, fill the coolant reservoir to the top line, and you’re done. Reinstall the bodywork and be sure to dispose of the used coolant at the auto parts store or recycling center more …

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