Mailing List
Get the latest news by email.

Your email:

New Members

In order to serve you better, select your area code in the drop down list below.

Aller à la version française

Motorcycle maintenance: Coolant


by Henri Lebarbé ,

Coolant is used to prevent an internal combustion engine from overheating. It serves to maintain a steady temperature inside the engine through the thermostat. Engine performance is highly dependent on the effectiveness of the cooling system.

A couple of factors can make the coolant and engine overheat (such as fuel delivery problems, ignition failures or engine oil leaks) and cause some serious damage. Cylinder head deformation, head gasket breaks and piston jamming are some examples.

The fuel delivery system must be in good condition -- leakproof, airtight and clean (no dirty residues). Otherwise, the air-fuel mixture deteriorates (too much air, not enough fuel). This situation can lead to a temperature increase inside the combustion chamber and of the cooling fluid.

The ignition system can also induce engine overheating: beware of non-complying spark plug models or those that do not match the right operating temperature range (please refer to the websites of spark plug manufacturers like NGK, Champion and others). Improper pre-ignition settings are another potential cause for overheating. To make sure your motorcycle has the right settings, go to your local mechanics specialist.

Furthermore, engine oil levels should always be monitored to prevent the engine from overheating. Use your own eyes or the oil gauge: a low oil level will result in insufficient lubrication, increased friction and heat as well as premature wear. A non-recommended oil grade might also lead to overheating.

Likewise, low-quality oil designed for automobiles won't meet the requirements of a motorcycle engine. This type of oil does not contain the necessary additives to withstand the kind of engine speed a motorcycle usually achieves (10,000+ RPM). Make sure that your oil grade is recommended for Canada and, more specifically, for your province or territory. In the spring, at the end of summer or in early fall, you can use a lower-viscosity oil (10W40, for instance). However, from June to August, when temperatures reach up to 35 degrees, it's wiser to use a higher-viscosity oil like 20W40 or even 20W50. The important thing is that you always follow the instructions and recommendations in your owner's manual.

1 - 2 >>