What happened to the practice of using only water in your cooling system during the warmer months of the year?
Yes. If you are low on coolant, top up with purified water until the weather gets colder and then top up with antifreeze to protect your block and prevent the water from freezing.
Can you put water in the motorcycle coolant?
When riding, pull over and let your motorcycle cool down if you notice the temperature gauge rising. When it’s safe to do so, check the coolant level.
Invariably you will need to top up the coolant, so use water if you do not have coolant available. If you are fortunate to be close to a garage, you can buy premixed coolant or mix 50/50 with water.
Water and water alone was used years ago to cool your engine during the summer months and then add antifreeze as the winter months approached. This worked fine.
However, modern engines require something different and coolant for more efficient heat dissipation. Coolant increases the water’s boiling point, enabling the coolant to carry more heat to the radiator for cooling before returning to the engine.
Is it OK to use water as a coolant?
Yes, if you have no other options. Suppose you find yourself with an overheating engine due to not having enough coolant. You can top up with water. Topping up with water will do less damage than riding with an overheating engine.
Water contains all kinds of minerals that can leave deposits in the cooling circulation system. But this would take time to happen.
If you have used water and diluted the coolant, you can either drain the cooling system and look for the problem or top up with coolant and not worry about the water.
Decades ago, before coolant became widely used, it was normal for mechanics to only use water as a coolant in motorcycles, cars, trucks, anything with an engine that needed cooling.
Water worked perfectly as a coolant, but as engines became more advanced and alloys became prevalent for cylinder blocks, coolants became necessary to carry away the additional heat generated.
Coolants are now an integral component of your motorcycle’s engine dealing with high-performance, high revving engines that produce incredible amounts of heat that need to be dispersed efficiently.
Can I flush my motorcycle radiator with tap water?
There are two trains of thought on flushing the coolant system. Some say the only way is to use distilled water to help protect your engine.
While others say tap water from a hose is perfectly ok as you will be replacing the whole system with a new coolant.
If you do decide to go down the hose and tap water route, it makes sense to have some filter/strainer to ensure no debris can enter the engine from the water supply preventing any damage.