Can anyone suggest a non damaging way to clean my muddy radiator? Preferably without removing it from the bike. enter image description here


Update, after cleaning it with sprayed hot water and small brushes:

enter image description here

Note: I only used up-down moves, to prevent bending.

  • @Paulster2 Nothing. I want to make sure I'm not damaging it. Radiators are expensive.
    – Alin P.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 12:14
  • This is a great question. I've got some ideas, but it would mainly involve using a steam pressure washer. The thing you are going to face mostly is not pushing the gunk further back into the radiator, making it more plugged than it is now. I'd get some kind of fender on your front tire so you don't have this issue again. Feb 15, 2016 at 12:17
  • From what I found in other places online, the pressure washer is a big no-no. People are saying that there are big chances of damaging the fins. I have a fender on the front wheel, but it didn't help as much as I hoped. There is the option of adding an extender to it, but I don't think I'll try mud anytime soon, so I just want to focus on fixing the issue I have now.
    – Alin P.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 12:21
  • The only other thing I could imagine would involve taking the radiator off the bike and rinsing from the backside so the gunk will flow out instead of deeper into the radiator ... that sounds like a lot of unneeded work, to me. There has to be a simpler way to accomplish the deed. Where is @DucatiKiller when you need him. Feb 15, 2016 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


I use a garden weed sprayer, its less powerful than a high pressure washer yet can have its jet aimed in a small area. Additionally you can fill it with hot water which will help loosen the mud.

Something like this Portable Weed Sprayer

Try a few applications of something like Muc-off too.

Normally its best to try to remove the gunk as soon as you get home rather than wait till its totally dried in as it should be easier to dislodge.

A liberal spray of bike protector (ACF 50, or the like) will help dislodge future build up of mud.

If you notice any bent fins, you can purchase a fin comb to straighten them again. Your motor supplies store should have one or know where to get them, alternatively try online.. Just search for Radiator Fin Comb in your favourite search engine.

  • Great idea to use the garden sprayer! I was also thinking a liberal dose of WD-40 after the radiator is clean might help it clean up easier after going through the mud. Would probably help it stay cleaner as well. Feb 15, 2016 at 14:22
  • @ᴘᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 WD40 even without removing it from the motorcycle?
    – Alin P.
    Feb 15, 2016 at 18:34
  • 1
    @AlinPurcaru - Yes. After it is cleaned and has dried out, hitting it with some WD-40 will help it stay clean in the future. Feb 15, 2016 at 19:33
  • Thanks for the suggestion! I used a small 1L sprayer I had at home for the flowers, with some hot water in it (plus a small pain brush and a tooth brush). It dislodged almost all the dirt. Not very scientific, but it did the trick. Now I have a slightly different problem, I have some of the fins bent, possibly not because of the mud from now. I think they were like that before, just that I didn't check until now.
    – Alin P.
    Feb 17, 2016 at 9:06
  • 1
    You can get a radiator comb to straighten them (depending how bad they are) - the metal is very thin and flimsy though.
    – Mauro
    Feb 17, 2016 at 10:05

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