Wouldn’t Any 50/50 Coolant Mixture Work ?

Can you use automotive coolant or any engine coolant on any machine if it’s a distilled 50/50 mixture of coolant and water? Maybe, but you probably shouldn’t.

Partzilla’s powersports expert John Talley hosts live Q&A sessions on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern. In this session, John was asked if any 50/50 coolant will do on any machine, and what could go wrong. 

Motorcycle coolant

Can I Use Any 50/50 Coolant Mixture in My Machine?

Wouldn't any coolant work if the mix with distilled water is made, in my case 50-50? I used Shell coolant for my machine. What could go wrong?

John Talley: I caution people on that, mainly because most automotive coolants are designed with a little bit of different metallurgy involved on the engines. Now, I know aluminum is supposed to be aluminum is supposed to be aluminum, but I’m telling you, the makeup of your motorcycle or motorsports engines is a little bit different than the automotive side. So I’ve always steered away from mixing the two worlds. Is it super important with the coolant? Well, maybe, maybe not, but in my opinion it is. The biggest no-no is to never use conventional car oil inside a motorcycle or side-by-side engine, especially the ones with a wet clutch. A wet clutch is of course a clutch that’s spinning in the same oil that’s lubricating the rest of the engine. Automotive oil isn’t really designed to accommodate that. But it’s always been my opinion, especially on the coolant side, but on the oil side as well, to use what the manufacturers built their engines for. They seem to cool better in my opinion … I believe in using the factory stuff. 

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Watch the video below to learn how to do a coolant flush on a motorcycle.

Watch the video below to learn about the differences between a wet clutch and a dry clutch.

Watch the video below to learn how to do a coolant flush on an ATV.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.



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