How to Turn Off a Dirt Bike (Beginner Friendly Guide)

Whether you are thinking about buying a dirt bike or renting one on the off-road course, knowing how to operate it is essential. Even though riding a dirt bike might seem hard, I assure you this is not the case. In fact, I wrote a full guide that shows how easy it is to ride dirt bikes. Nonetheless, today I will go over how to turn off a dirt bike, even if there is no kill switch.

There are two ways to turn off a dirt bike. The first and easiest method to turn off a dirt bike is to use the kill switch. The kill switch is the red button (usually mounted on the right side of the handles) that when pressed, will automatically turn off the bike. The second method of turning off dirt bikes is to use the ignition key. Set the ignition key to the OFF position and lay down the side-stand. It’s that simple!

Keep reading if you to know what is the best way to turn off your dirt bike or how you can do it when there’s no kill switch available.

clipart showing how to turn off a Dirt Bike

How to Turn Off a Dirt Bike

All motorcycles and dirt bikes will come with a kill switch. This is the red button that you can usually find located on the right side of the handwheels. The button is sometimes mounted on the left. As the name of the button implies, the kill switch will automatically turn off the dirt bike. The kill switch is a simple mechanism that allows riders to quickly shut down their engines.

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It’s important to highlight that there are multiple types of kill switches on dirt bikes. There can be button kill switches, pull kill switches, tether kill switches, and remote control kill switches. However, chances are that you are dealing with a button-style kill switch. The reason behind this is that they are the most common. Do you want to learn more about this system? Check out this article where I review ATV kill switches and explain how they work.

In case your dirt bike’s kill switch doesn’t work, you can use the traditional ignition key method of turning the bike off. This can be simply done by setting the ignition key to the OFF position. The engine will turn off instantly and the only thing left to do is lay down the side-stand. If you are wondering what method is better to turn off motorcycles, you should know there is no such thing. They are both great. In general, riders use the kill switch when stationing. If they plan to leave the dirt bike for a while, they will use the ignition key method.

How Do You Turn Off a Dirt Bike That Doesn’t Have a Kill Switch?

The best way to turn off a dirt bike that doesn’t have a kill switch is to use the ignition key. Stop the dirt bike on the side of the road and set it into neutral or hold the clutch pressed. The next step is to turn the ignition key to the OFF position. The engine will now turn off. If this doesn’t work because of some mechanical issue, you can cause the engine to stall. Here is how you can do this: grab the front brake lever, shift into first gear, and dump the clutch lever. This will cause the engine to stall.

Do you plan on buying a dirt bike? If yes, you should learn everything there is to know about preventing the dirt bike from being stolen. You can check out this guide I wrote after having my dirt bike stolen and learning the best protection tips.

Should You Use the Kill Switch on a Motorcycle?

You can use the kill switch on a motorcycle without any problem. The kill switch will not wear out. However, it’s situational. If you are planning to stop and get off the motorcycle for a while, it’s better to simply use the ignition key because you will be removing the key anyways.

The folks over at Motorcycles on Reddit discussed this topic and concluded that using the kill switch is never an issue. Some argued that the kill switch might wear off after a time, but this doesn’t actually happen and if it did, replacing the kill switch is not expensive. It only costs a couple of dollars.

How to Test the Kill Switch on a Motorcycle?

Testing a kill switch on a motorcycle is easier than it sounds. You can use a test light to instantly tell if the kill switch is working or not. Follow the steps below to test the kill switch on a motorcycle with a test light:

  • Connect the test light to the battery positive;
  • Disconnect the kill switch block connector;
  • Slide the kill switch button into the “kill” position and the light test should light up;
  • Slide the button into the “run” position and the light should go out.

Sidenote: if the test doesn’t light up when the button slides into the “kill” position, this means that it’s not working. You should consider replacing the kill switch as soon as possible.

Final Words

Learning how to ride a dirt bike can seem overwhelming at first. I’ve been there myself and know how scary it can be to take your first tight turn or ride through mud. However, this is also what makes riding dirt bikes on rugged terrains fun. You are guaranteed an adrenaline rush. When it comes to turning off the dirt bike, it’s as simple as pressing the kill switch or turning the ignition key into the OFF position.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at if you want to get in touch.

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