Dirt Bike Overheating: 7 Causes (Explained For Beginners)

You may feel that your bike is releasing more heat. There could be many reasons for raising the temperature of your dirt bike. My dirt bike recently got too hot, and I found out that there are several reasons why this happens.

I have made a comprehensive list of all the things that can cause a dirt bike to overheat. Overheating can be a problem for your dirt bike if you don’t take the time to understand these 7 causes of overheating.

If you aren’t taking care of your dirt bike, it doesn’t matter if it’s a 4 stroke or a 2 stroke; both can boil at any time. Your dirt bike may be overheating for a number of reasons.

Some of them include: insufficient coolant, a faulty radiator cap, a blown head gasket, a dysfunctional water pump, insufficient jetting, inadequate air flow, an empty coolant tank, etc.

What is Overheating on A Dirt Bike?

If your dirt bike’s engine gets too hot, it could get damaged and stop working as well as it should.

When this happens, the engine is said to be overheating. In order to keep an engine at the ideal operating temperature, it’s important to be aware of the signs of overheating.

You shouldn’t ride your dirt bike in temperatures higher than 80 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower than 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit), as this may cause the engine to overheat and possibly catch fire if you’re using a 4 stroke model.

This article will not only help you recognize the issue and its signs and symptoms, but it will also instruct you on how to avoid the problem in the first place.

How Do You Know If Your Dirt Bike is Overheating? 

It will take quite some time to reach the boiling point, so be patient. Your bike, like a child, will keep giving you signs that something needs to be fixed or changed before it becomes too costly. I’ll list a few warning indicators of overheating below.

When it overheats, smoke or steam may appear to be coming from the radiators. What this signifies is that the bike’s internal temperature has reached a critical point, at which point it will begin to steam.

The second sign is the perception of a sweet smell where none actually exists. When coolant begins to burn, a pleasant aroma is released from the motor.

There could be coolant leaking out of the overflow, so check out that odd job, too. As was indicated earlier, the fluid will boil if the bike becomes too hot. Because of this, liquid begins to flow outside as a result of the boiling.

It’s possible that, despite your best efforts, the engine is jammed and won’t start. The presence of this symptom may be indicative of the elevated temperature.

After then, while speeding, you’ll notice that the bike’s once-magical power has diminished. Maximum speed can be reached sooner, but under these conditions, performance suffers.

When the seals on your dirt bike start to leak oil, it could be dangerous and could even start a fire. There is a separate post on this subject available on this website if you are interested in eliminating oil leakage from your dirt bike. To read and understand why a dirt bike leaks oil, click here.

The cylinders also get hotter than usual, which is the final symptom. If you want to make sure it’s safe, you shouldn’t touch it without gloves.

If you find anything unusual as written above, it’s time to fix it.

Why Is My Dirt Bike Overheating? 

Extreme heat on a dirt bike can be caused by a number of factors, including riding on tough terrain or mechanical issues with the bike itself. If you often ride your dirt bike over rough terrain, the engine will overheat because it doesn’t get enough air to cool down.

But what about the flaws with the bikes? Let’s take a look at that to see if we can’t get things fixed quickly.

1. Low Or Empty Coolant 

First, check the quantity of liquid inside. Then remove the radiator cap and check again. Such inspections can prevent further major damage.

If you find something strange, like the bike’s radiator is getting empty after every ride and you need to refill it regularly, it means there is a crack.

Find the hole in the blown gasket, either in the base, head, or water pump. Also check the hole in the radiator or in the hose. This step will protect both your bike and your large sum.

2. Improper Coolant Ratio

A bike has a coolant capacity of 3–4 liters maximum. There are various coolants available on the market that are premixed or antifreeze.

Some of them will need to be diluted using distilled water at a 50:50 ratio. If this ratio goes wrong, there will be no meaning to using coolant on your bike.

3. Bad Radiator Cap 

Radiators are used to prevent leakage or overflow, but a faulty radiator cap can cause leaks, and hence your bike starts to overheat.

Such bad radiators also permit air and liquid to overflow when the pressure inside becomes high.

4. Water Pump Is Not Working 

A dead water pump is unable to circulate coolant through the dirt bike and hence shows overheating.

If your bike is producing annoying sounds, it means the water pump is not working well.

If you keep avoiding the leakage from the water pumps, it will cause corrosion and, as a result, will seize the engine in a long way. But fixing a faulty water pump isn’t hard. Fix it as soon as you notice it.

5. Blown Head Gasket 

If you are running your bike with a blown head gasket, it is more likely that the exhaust will release white smoke.

This is a sign that the coolant is burning inside. Even if you replace the blown head gasket, it can have a negative impact on the engine.

Repair the damage before it becomes worse. A head gasket can be fixed in the early stages, but a damaged base gasket will hit you hard financially.

A damaged base gasket could leak to the transmission and a low amount of coolant in the radiator will seize the piston and cylinder.

In the end, these two parts will be the reason behind the overheating.

6. Bike Is Running With Low Jetting 

When you ride your bike with low or lean jetting, it will start burning more air than fuel, and we know that air gets hotter faster than fuel. More hot air means the engine will produce more heat, which increases the temperature.

If you keep riding with low jetting, it can burn out the piston and damage the engine. It’s better to keep tuning your carburetor to improve performance, ride quality, and overall reliability.

7. Insufficient Air Flow 

Only water and coolant are not responsible for running the cooling system effectively; air is also responsible equally. The amount of airflow over the radiators will keep them cool.

Riding at a slow speed can also cause overheating as there is no sufficient air flow and, due to the slow speed, the amount of fuel flowing into the engine is not enough. Low fuel means the engine burns hotter than normal.

How To Prevent Your Bike From Overheating? 

You have seen the causes of overheating; now the next step is to fix the problems to prevent further disaster. You may need to replace some of the bike’s parts or need extra protection.

There are very simple tips to use as a routine. I have selected some of those common tips that will help you.

  1. Keep changing your coolant and better use high quality coolant. It will maintain the temperature of your bike and don’t forget to check your dirt bike’s condition. 
  2. Use a strong radiator cap that can withstand higher pressure and also has a temperature gauge to help with this. 
  3. Use a radiator guard or race brace to protect it from further damages if you crash somewhere. 
  4. Inspect your water pump, it shouldn’t be faulty. 
  5. Always use higher octane and lower boiling fuel gas that can keep your bike from overheating. Whenever you change your fuel, also change the carburetor jetting. 
  6. Also do regular servicing and inspect cooling systems, such ignorance can cause serious problems. 
  7. Never let your bike idle under hot summer days, this will also affect the bike’s cooling system badly. 
  8. Maintain the mixing ratio of coolant and water so that it could work effectively. 

Following the above mentioned tips can save you a lot, no damages, no extra cost and no risk of explosion. 

Ride Your Bike Properly To Avoid Overheating 

If a bike doesn’t cause overheating, sometimes you are responsible. A rider should know the riding techniques that can help to prevent overheating. Check out the below given tips that are implemented to keep your bike cool. 

Don’t let your bike idle for a long period, as the air and fuel entering the engine will not get adequate time to burn as desired. When a bike sits idle, all the liquid tends to settle at the bottom, leaving the upper portion of the gear dry.

Once you pass through the technical tasks, open up the throttle to permit more fuel to flow into the engine. It will help to cool the engine and improve airflow over the radiator.

Use the clutch as much as possible while riding. Frequent use of the clutch increases the burden on the engine and, as a result, will reduce air flow. Don’t double clutch until it’s needed.

Don’t hold the throttle open for too long when there is no wheel spinning. Throttle also plays a major role in crossing the temperature boundaries. 

When you can feel the overheating of your bike, be careful while opening the radiator cap. The boiling water may spill out and burn your hands.

If you aren’t riding in an open area and the dirt bike starts overheating, turn off the engine immediately and let it cool down. Or you can use water to spray on the radiator so that cooling will be easy.

The most important thing is to follow the instructions given by professionals when you buy your bike or rebuild the engine. The quality of the engine and other parts also plays a role in overheating.

If you follow these useful tips, I’m sure only 0.1% will remain to cross the temperature range as I told you at the beginning of the article.


Never disregard fishiness. One step determines your bike’s condition. Either ride it long or lose it forever. Dirt bikes are pricey, therefore you won’t choose option 2.

Check dirt bike parts to avoid damage. We’ve listed all the dirt bike overheating causes and fixes. Share your thoughts if you enjoy our content.

Maintenance can keep everything in good condition. I hope you now understand why your dirt bikes were so hot and how to cool them down. We have more dirt bike posts.