Best Way To Cool A Harley Engine – Why Cooling Down Is Must!

Harley-Davidson motorcycles are renowned for their powerful and robust engines, but with great Power Vision comes great heat.

As any experienced rider knows, keeping your Harley’s engine cool is essential for optimal performance and longevity. Whether you’re cruising down the open road or stuck in heavy traffic, excessive heat can cause significant damage to your engine and ultimately affect your everyday riding experience. With that in mind, finding the best way to cool a Harley engine is crucial for any avid rider.

Here, we will delve into the various methods and techniques for keeping your engine at the optimal drop in temperature to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride. From basic maintenance practices to advanced cooling systems, we will explore the best ways to keep your Harley’s engine running cool and strong.

Cool A Harley Engine

What Is The Ideal Temperature For Harley Motorcycles?

What Is The Ideal Temperature For Harley Motorcycles

As we talk about the Harley engine overheating and ways to cool it down, it’s better to know its operational temperature. Harley riders and experts suggest that these motorcycles operate at 180F to 200F (82-93°C) temperature. In summer it may increase slightly.

So, whenever you sense that the Milwaukee engine has exceeded its temperature range, you should rest it to lower the heat. If you continue pushing the engine too hard, it will reduce its performance. Also, running Harley inextreme conditions heat will cost a loss in fuel economy.

Why Cool Down Is A Must For Harley Engine?

Why Cool Down Is A Must For Harley Engine

Harley touring and Softail motorbikes are the premium choices for stylish people. We know you all love riding your Harley motorbike, particularly when the weather is hot. Nonetheless, during the summer days, the engine temps of the Harley can become hotter than you imagine.

Both Twin Cam and Milwaukee eight engines operate best in 160°F to 230°F temperatures. In the most extreme conditions scenario, the engine temperature shouldn’t go beyond 250°F. Therefore, the engine must remain at optimal temperature.

However, when the engine gets too hot conditions, you need to find a way to reduce its temperature. There are multiple reasons why you must cool down the Harley engine.

  • A cool engine will last longer than an overheated one. Thus, you must try to cool off the engine to enhance the lifespan of its components.
  • As the engine cools down, you will feel less heat on the motorbike. So, it increases your riding comfort and fun.
  • A Dual-Cool Oil Cooler engine can run at its full potential. So, you will see improved mileage and fuel efficiency with the Harley motorbikes.
  • When the engine operates at its recommended temperature, it will work with increased power. Thus, you will see the difference in performance and mileage almost immediately when riding the motorbike.
  • Lastly, cooling down the Harley engine will help you avoid explosions. Although it is a rare incident, you mustn’t compromise with safety features.

Long story short, extra cooling off the Harley engine will help you enjoy better engine longevity, less maintenance work, improved performance, and riding comfort.

The Best Way To Cool A Harley Engine

The Best Way To Cool A Harley Engine

When you ride your Harley, you should ensure that its engine runs at optimal temperature. Thankfully, there are multiple best way to cool a Harley engine off the engine and keep it running at standard temperature as recommended by the manufacturer.

One of the defining features of a Harley engine is its air-cooled design. Unlike many modern motorcycle engines that rely on liquid cooling systems, Harley engines are cooled by the air flowing over the engine’s fins.

Liquid Cooling System

Liquid Cooling System

A liquid cooling system is a method used to cool the engine of a Harley motorcycle. Unlike air cooling, which relies on circulating air to dissipate heat, liquid cooling uses a coolant fluid to absorb and transfer heat away from the engine. This system consists of several components, including a radiator, water pump, coolant reservoir, and hoses.

The process starts with the water pump, which circulates coolant throughout the engine. As the coolant passes through the engine life, it absorbs heat generated by combustion and friction. The heated coolant then flows into the radiator, where it is cooled down by passing through a series of tubes and fins. The radiator is designed to maximize the surface area exposed to air, allowing heat to be efficiently dissipated.

Apply Proper Lubrication

Known for their iconic designs and powerful performance, Harley Davidson motorcycles have long been synonymous with the thrill of the open road. At the heart of these legendary machines is the cool and impressive Harley engine. To properly lubricate a Harley engine, it is crucial to use the appropriate lubricants and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Engine Oil: Choose a high-quality motor oil that meets the specifications outlined in your Harley owner’s manual. Typically, Harley-Davidson recommends using a synthetic oil designed for air-cooled V-twin engines. Ensure that the oil coolers are specifically formulated for motorcycles.
  2. Oil Level: Check the oil level regularly and maintain it within the recommended range. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for proper checking and filling procedures.
  3. Oil Change: Change the oil and oil temperature filter at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Regular oil tank mess-free oil changes help remove contaminants and ensure optimal engine performance.
  4. Primary Chaincase Lubricant: Harley-Davidson motorcycles equipped with a chain-driven primary drive require a specific primary chaincase lubricant. Consult your owner’s manual to determine the appropriate lubricant to use and the recommended maintenance schedule.
  5. Transmission Lubricant: For Harley models with separate transmission cases, use the recommended transmission lubricant. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for checking the fluid level and changing the lubricant.
  6. Cooling System: Ensure the cooling system is working properly and that there is sufficient coolant in the system. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for checking and maintaining the coolant level.

Maintaining The Engine

The Harley engine is a true marvel of engineering, representing the culmination of years of innovation and craftsmanship. Its distinctive V-twin configuration sets it apart from other motorcycle engines, lending it a unique and unmistakable sound. Maintaining the engine of a Harley motorcycle is crucial to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Regular Oil Changes: Harley engines require regular oil changes to keep the internal components properly lubricated. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals and use a high-quality oil pump suitable for your specific model.
  2. Monitor Oil Levels: Check the oil level regularly, especially before long rides, to ensure it is within the recommended range. Low oil levels can lead to increased engine wear and potential damage.
  3. Air Filter Maintenance: Clean or replace the air filter regularly to prevent dirt and debris from entering the engine. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow, reducing engine performance.
  4. Spark Plug Inspection: Check the spark plugs periodically and replace them if they are worn or fouled. Properly functioning spark plugs contribute to efficient combustion and optimal engine performance.
  5. Cooling System Maintenance: Harley engines can run hot, so it is essential to maintain the cooling system. Check the coolant level and ensure there are no leaks in the system. Clean debris from the radiator fins to promote proper airflow.
  6. Drive Belt Tension: Keep an eye on the drive belt tension and alignment. A loose or misaligned belt can cause max reduced power loss and premature wear. Adjust or replace the belt as needed.
  7. Regular Maintenance Schedule: Follow the recommended maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer. This includes regular inspections, fluid changes, and component replacements to keep the engine in top shape

Activating Eitms In Harley

Activating Eitms In Harley

Eitms stands for Electronic Idle Temperature Management and is available for all Harley made after 2016. So, newer Harleys have it. The system will help you manage the engine temperature whenever it goes beyond 165°C. So, you will always enjoy better temperature management with it.

However, in Harley, the system may be disabled. So, you need to enable the EITMS in Harley to control engine heat. It would be best if you moved the throttle of the Harley forward. Then, hold it until you see the indicator of the cruise control flash. When you enable the system, it will activate in the following four conditions. So the engine won’t overheat for an extended period. For details, you may see the following video:

  • The engine runs under 1200RPM
  • Your vehicle is running below 1MPH speed
  • The engine temperature has gone above 165°C
  • The twist grip is in idle mode

As the preconditions show, EITMS will need activation during traffic signals. When you run the motorcycle freely on highways, it receives enough air ventilation. So it won’t get overheated. But, in traffic, it receives less ventilation. It, hence, requires the Eitms to cool off properly.

A Few Tricks To Cool Down Harley Engines

A Few Tricks To Cool Down Harley Engines


Although you can cool off the Harley engine with engine oil and liquid coolants, there are other methods to cool off the engine. This signature rumble has become synonymous with the Harley-Davidson brand, evoking a sense of power and freedom that captivates riders and enthusiasts worldwide. You may follow the below-mentioned techniques to cool off Harley engines and get better performance. Here are a Few Tricks To Cool Down Harley Engines:

  • You might consider removing the thigh protector on the left side of the motorbike. It improves the air ventilation through the rear cylinder and left side of the engine. As the air can easily flow through the left side, cooler air from the exterior will pass the engine. So, it helps in cooling the engine.
  • Umbrella baffles and fork wings might increase the heat of the motorcycle engine up from 20°F to 25°. Thus, it is not good for Harley engines when you ride them at full speed. We suggest removing the fork wings or umbrella baffles to boost its heat dissipation performance.
  • You might even try removing the catalytic converter of the Harley Softail and touring bikes. It is removable from the stock air cleaner aftermarket headers of the motorcycle. Although it doesn’t decrease the engine’s heat, it will help you feel less heat while riding the motorbike. Thus, your riding comfort will increase.
  • You can also install a tank lift. However, avoid the deluxe option while mounting the new tank lift system. It will drop the temperature of the engine by 10°F to 15°F. Thus, the engine will operate at the optimal temperature with ease.
  • Finally, the Cooling Deflector Wings will also be useful to cool off Harley Davidson’s stronger engine. You can use the deflector wings even without the tank lift.


While there are various methods and products available for cooling a Harley engine, it is important to carefully consider the options and choose the best one for your specific model and riding style. Keeping your Harley engine cool is crucial for its extra performance and longevity. Regular maintenance and proper riding techniques are also crucial in maintaining the optimal temperature for your engine.

By taking these precautions and utilizing the most effective cooling method, you can ensure your Harley runs smoothly and efficiently for many miles to come. Remember to consult with a professional mechanic for any additional advice and guidance. Ride safe temps and stay cool on the open road. We have provided the information on the best way to cool a Harley engine.


How Can I Make My Motorcycle Run Cooler?

There are a few ways to make your motorcycle run cooler. Ensure proper airflow by cleaning or replacing the air filter regularly and keeping the cooling fins on the engine clean.

How Do I Cool Down My Bike Engine?

To cool down your bike engine, stop the bike and turn off the engine performance. Allow the M8 engine to idle for a few minutes of riding to cool down naturally.

Why Is My Harley Running So Hot?

There are several possible reasons why your Harley may be running hot. It could be due to a malfunctioning cooling system, such as a faulty thermostat or radiator.

How Do I Make My Sportster Run Cooler?

To make your Sportster run an actual oil cooler, you can try a few things. Make sure your bike has proper airflow by keeping the airflow-restrictive intake and exhaust clean and free from any blockages.

How Do You Know If Your Harley Is Overheating?

You can determine if your Harley is overheating by paying attention to warning signs such as a rising reduced temperatures gauge, excessive smoke or steam coming from the actual engine heat, a strong smell of burning, or unusual Twin-Cooled Twin Cams engine noises.

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