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Can you Run ATV without Thermostat?

Owning an ATV is similar to owning a car- you’ve to maintain it well for a smooth riding experience. If the ATV isn’t properly inspected and cleaned, you might experience some problems before or during your ride. One of the most bothersome problems is overheating.

However, some bikers have opposing views on whether or not to ride without a thermostat. The thermostat comes with an amazing feature that keeps the engine cool. So running an ATV without a thermostat has consequences that every rider must know. Here’s is everything you need to know.

Related: Can ATV Run without Oil?

Does an ATV have a thermostat?

If your ATV is warming up faster than expected or overheating, it’s an indication of a faulty thermostat. The ATV’s thermostat controls the flow of coolant to the engine. If the engine gets too much coolant, the ATV may not warm up well.

Conversely, if the engine lacks sufficient flow, you will have overheating issues. Therefore, it’s advisable to always have a functional thermostat in your ATV for an effortless riding experience.

Related: Can I Ride ATV without Spark Arrestor?

What does a thermostat do in an ATV?

An ATV thermostat is a small gadget that sits between the engine and the radiator of a liquid-cooled ATV. The thermostat plays a crucial role in an ATV, which regulates the flow of engine coolant from the engine to the radiator.

When the thermostat is closed, it cuts the flow of the coolant into the radiator, which causes a quick increase in engine temperature. When it’s open, it allows the engine coolant to flow into the radiator, where it dispels heat and cools down the hot coolant.

By allowing the engine to warm up quickly, the thermostat minimizes engine emissions, wear, and deposits. An ATV thermostat has a very simple working principle, yet it’s a crucial component of any ATV.

Related: Will ATV Run Without Voltage Regulator?

Can you run ATV without a thermostat?

Although you can run your ATV with no thermostat, this may cause huge damages to your engine. Running your ATV without a thermostat is not a good idea because you may face several consequences. Apart from affecting the overall performance of the ATV, here are some consequences of riding without a thermostat.

The engine runs cold

The thermostat has only one job to do- keep the coolant hot enough to allow the engine to operate at optimum temperature. If your engine’s temperature surpasses the optimum temperature, it won’t function well and will eventually die.

However, when the engine runs below the optimum temperature, your engine dies slowly. To make your engine reach optimum temperature, you need extra gas. But because of the faulty thermostat, the ECU keeps supplying fuel that doesn’t burn completely. This reduces the lubrication property of the engine oil, which increases the friction between the parts leading to progressive damage to the engine.

Poor fuel efficiency

When your engine runs rich, the fuel efficiency takes the biggest hit. There will be a great drop in miles per gallon numbers. Eventually, driving without a thermostat will cost you a fortune in no time.

If you ride in hot regions, removing a thermostat may or may not harm your engine’s performance, but in cold areas, it will do. Riding without a thermostat in cold areas will prevent the engine from attaining the optimum temperature.

Therefore, the fuel supply will be high, and the engine’s internal components will wear out because of the unfavorable internal temperatures.

Head gasket and hose pipes damage

A thermostat controls the coolant flow in the cooling system. Without a thermostat, the coolant will be flowing in full swing. Because of the uncontrolled pressure levels, the hot coolant can damage the head gasket or the hose pipe.


How do I stop my ATV from overheating?

You can use several ways to ensure that your ATV doesn’t overheat. Here are some tips to help keep your ATV cool:

  • Ensure you have sufficient coolant in the radiator
  • Inspect the radiator regularly for damages
  • Install a high-pressure radiator cap
  • Use a digital radiator fan to provide constant airflow when the ATV is idling
  • Maintain your ATV properly

How do you know if your ATV is overheating?

Can you Run ATV without Thermostat?

When your ATV is overheating, there are various warning signs that show something is not right. Here are some signs that will tell you the ATV is overheating:

  • Significant power loss
  • Constant fluid leaks
  • The engine feels much warmer than normal
  • You notice steam coming from the radiator area
  • The sweet smell caused by the hot coolant
  • When the warning light on the instrument cluster is turned on

How long can you drive without a thermostat?

You should avoid running your ATV without a thermostat at all costs, but what if you have to? How long can you safely ride without a thermostat? If your thermostat is faulty, and you’ve just removed it, ensure you don’t drive without it for more than a week.

Final Thoughts

Running your ATV without a thermostat is generally a bad idea. If you’re unsure about the condition of your thermostat, consider replacing it or consult a professional ASAP.