Can you Ride a Dirt Bike with no Coolant?

Once you own a dirt bike, you have to keep it in perfect condition so you can ride it for years to come. Freezing or overheating can both ruin your dirt bike, so you need to look for the best solution to prevent these damages from happening. Therefore, you need to look for the right kind of coolant to use.

Coolants are important for keeping your bike’s engine cool, but can you use your dirt bike without a coolant? Here’s what you need to know about coolants on your dirt bike.

What is engine coolant?

An engine coolant is the lifeblood of your dirt bike’s cooling system. Your bike’s engine produces a lot of heat- enough to damage the engine if not controlled. The cooling system is designed to keep the engine cool enough to avoid any damage.

When your engine hits operating temperature, the water pump will distribute the coolant throughout the engine. The engine coolant is a fluid that eliminates heat from the engine. Once the engine is cooled, the coolant will go back to the radiator to be cooled down, and the process starts again.

What does engine coolant do?

Wondering what your dirt bike’s coolant does? Coolant reduces heat and offers an antifreeze coating to your engine so that the dirt bike can hit the road in the best condition.

Internal combustion in the engine burns fuel to create energy. Some energy is used to move your bike, while the remaining energy is released as heat. A fraction of the heat escapes through the exhaust, while the rest remains in the bike’s engine.

The amount of heat left can cause great damage to the engine if not cooled down. Most engine failures are associated with engine cooling systems. To keep your dirt bike running at an optimal temperature, you need to use an engine coolant.

What is an engine coolant made of?

Most coolants are glycol-based. Most coolants come with a combination of ethylene glycol with additives and water. Other glycol-based coolants consist of water and propylene. What sets them apart is less toxic propylene glycol.

Pure water has a high heat-carrying ability compared to ethylene glycol, so water is a good coolant to use if you’re only considering its ability to disperse heat. However, water comes with other challenges like rust on iron engine parts which can damage your engine.

Coolant eliminates engine rust and corrosion and is freeze resistant. It doesn’t expand and freeze in hyper-cool temperatures as water does. This shields your bike’s engine from cracks and high pressure.

So, can you run a dirt bike with no coolant?

Yes. You can run a dirt bike without a coolant, but only for a few seconds. Continuous use of an overheated engine could cause permanent damage to your engine. If your surrounding air is cool, you can run the bike for a minute or two. However, always use the right coolant to keep your dirt bike’s engine at optimal temperatures.


Can I use water as my dirt bike engine coolant?

Yes, but for a small amount of time. But if you use water for a long time, it can damage your engine since it has a low boiling point and can corrode the internal parts.

It’s advisable to use a coolant with a 50/50 proportion with distilled water. You should never use tap water because it contains minerals that cause rusting and can damage your engine quickly.

What happens when the engine coolant is low?

Riding your bike with low coolant can damage some parts of your bike, which can cost you a fortune to repair. Here’s what can happen when the engine coolant is low.

  • Your engine could overheat: Coolant helps to eliminate excess heat from your engine. With low coolant, your engine can overheat, leading to permanent damage.
  • Your bike could shut off: Your bike can shut the engine off before it suffers huge damage. Although this can help save your engine, it can be quite dangerous depending on your location when the engine shuts off.

Can you use car antifreeze on a dirt bike?

A coolant is meant to eliminate heat and add antifreeze protection to your engine. Coolants used in cars are usually Ethylene Glycol-based, which can be used in both cars and dirt bikes. So if the coolant contains ethylene glycol antifreeze, you’re on the safe side.

Final Thoughts

If you own a dirt bike, you need to maintain the engine and keep it cool for a flawless riding experience. Always use the right coolant and ensure your cooling system is clean and well-maintained.