Is a Radiator Fan Kit a Must for Your Dirt Bike?

Dirt bike steaming coolant despite radiator fan kit in a race

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Have you ever noticed a white puff of steam coming out of the radiator cap and hot and smelly air around the engine? It means that your dirt bike engine is overheating and causing the coolant to boil over.

A radiator fan kit effectively keeps the motor from overheating and boiling over the coolant. It automatically turns on an electric fan behind the radiator. The fan is triggered when the dirt bike coolant reaches high temperatures. It quickly lowers the engine coolant temperature in low airflow conditions.

But do you need to install a radiator fan kit on your dirt bike? It depends. Let’s take a closer look at when it makes sense to install a radiator fan kit on your dirt bike.

How Does a Radiator Fan Work to Cool Down the Dirt Bike

Modern dirt bike engines circulate water to cool down the engine temperature. For instance, the coolant is constantly circulating inside the engine block, around the piston and top end. The water pump circulates the hot coolant into the two radiators in front of the dirt bike. The radiator then is able to cool down the liquid circulating inside the thin fins, as the cooler air is passing through the radiator.

The airflow through the radiators is key for the system to perform well. When riding technical, very low-speed sections and obstacles, the airflow is minimal to none. That’s when the radiator fan kit comes into play.

The slow speed, almost stop-and-go conditions tend to heat up your dirt bike motor more. This happens because typically you need more revs and more clutch slip to overcome obstacles or get unstuck. At the same time airflow is at a minimum.

The radiator fan kit helps by turning on an electric fan on the inside of the right radiator to force more air through the radiator. This effectively cools down the liquid coolant circulating inside the radiator.

A radiator fan kit includes an electric fan and installation brackets to mount the fan into the radiator. The electric fan is configured to automatically turn on at a certain temperature to keep the engine coolant temperature at an acceptable level.

How To Tell if Your Dirt Bike Is Overheating

Riding at slow speeds and on rough technical terrain can often lead to overheating the dirt bike. When the engine is constantly being pushed into higher revs and more clutch slip when overcoming obstacles or getting unstuck, the engine has to work harder without getting much airflow.

These are the typical symptoms of an overheating engine:

  • steam coming out of the radiators
  • extremely hot air around the engine
  • a smell of a burning coolant
  • loss of engine power
  • a knocking engine
  • a seized engine which will not start or run
  • coolant coming out of the overflow
  • oil leaking from the seals
  • hotter-than-normal cylinder

What Happens if Your Dirt Bike Overheats?

If the coolant level reaches high temperatures, it can cause several issues. For instance, the high temperatures cause oil and lubricants to work less efficient. This excessive heat will expand metal parts and cause more overall friction. In addition, this quickly leads to the engine coolant to start boiling.

For example, heavy steam and hissing sounds are an indication of the engine coolant boiling. After that, the vaporized coolant and heat opens the pressure sensitive radiator cap. The hot vapor overflows through the exhaust hose in the radiator cap to the ground.

Above all, at these temperature levels, you risk causing permanent damage to your motor, including seizing the motor. In other words, this means the piston is expanding into the cylinder causing it to seize up by friction.

How To Decide if You Need a Radiator Fan Kit

Have you boiled the coolant recently? This is an indication that the engine is running too hot.

We recommend flushing the cooling system after boiling over the coolant and to check for leaks or other issues. It’s a simple process, just follow our instructions on how to flush radiator coolant and air out the cooling system for optimal performance.

Installing a radiator fan makes sense if your trail riding includes hard, difficult, or slow speed technical riding. Typical examples include low-speed obstacles, mud pits, getting stuck, and several attempts to continue. In these scenarios, the dirt bike radiators are not getting enough airflow to keep the coolant cool enough.

The radiator fan kits are an excellent way to keep your dirt bike running cooler and over time prevent excessive heat related issues.

Radiator Fan Kits
Trail Tech Fan Kit
Trail Tech Universal Fan Kit
KTM PowerParts Digital Radiator Fan Kit


Radiator fan kits work really well and they effectively prevent the dirt bike engine from overheating. Therefore, if you ride slow and technical trail riding or hard enduro type trails, you should install a radiator fan to your dirt bike.

A radiator fan kits are easy to install, require no maintenance or tinkering and perform extremely well. You can also ask your dealer to install the radiator fan kit to your new dirt bike.

Keep it cool and plow through!

Last updated: July 9th, 2022.