Can you put water instead of coolant on the motorcycle?

Although we often divide motorcycles by segments, engine types, uses… in reality one of the things that really differentiates them is the type of cooling they use. Either they are cooled by air or they have a coolant, pump, circuit and radiator… It doesn't matter whether they are two or four strokes, gasoline or electric, scooters or commuters, they all have one type of cooling or another.

If your motorcycle is one of those that has air cooling, you can rest assured. They tend to be simpler engines, with fewer mechanical components, lower performance, and they are also usually harder than a stone. But if your motorcycle has a liquid cooling system, you may have wondered if you can put water instead of coolant.

Well, the answer is yes and at the same time no. We explain ourselves. Technically, the water will do the job of absorbing heat from the engine, transferring it to the radiator and cooling before returning to the engine to repeat the cycle. Therefore, water could be a valid element to carry out the cooling function, although the cooling liquid may at a given time be more effective or fulfill other functions.

However, using water is not recommended, except in an emergency in which the life of the engine is at stake, and it is better to fill it from the tap than to literally melt the engine.

Why is it not advisable to use water instead of coolant?

Well, the main reason why you should not use tap or mineral water is because it is not pure water, it has dissolved minerals and that in the long term can cause clogging problems in the cooling circuit with fatal consequences.

In addition, water has less cooling capacity, since water boils before coolant liquids. So in reality it is not going to give you an advantage and it can cause the problems that we mentioned.

But there is more and that is that the coolant liquid can withstand, thanks to its composition, low temperatures and in case of frost it will not freeze, something that water can do with fatal consequences.

And use distilled water?

By regulation, motorcycles racing on asphalt are required to use distilled water instead of coolant. The reason is because water, if poured on the asphalt, dries and does not leave residue while coolant liquids do.

The reason for using distilled water is that it does not have impurities or dissolved minerals, which is why the system works perfectly. Furthermore, in competitions, oversized radiators are usually used, which is why the issue of temperature is usually not so critical.

Therefore, you can put distilled water in your motorcycle as a coolant and in case of emergency it would be the solution. But in reality, for everyday use you don't need it nor is it practical, because it can also freeze more easily. In any case, yes, using distilled water is not going to cause you any problems.

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