Battery maintenance is a crucial step to maximizing motorcycle battery life, sadly not all people are practicing this. Battery inspection is highly encouraged to avoid dangerous and sudden stops on the road. Batteries have to be cleaned and charged from time to time to keep your motorcycle’s performance at its best. In some cases though, it needs to be replaced.
There are many questions associated with motorcycle batteries. The short answer to how long do motorcycles last is 2 to 4 years. The long answer, and everything about motorcycle batteries is covered below:
How Do I Tell If My Motorcycle Battery is Bad?
There is an underlying line between a bad battery and a dead battery. It could be confusing for beginners to identify which category their motorcycle batteries fall so let us first tackle how you can actually identify if your battery is just dead, or already bad.
A dead battery can be revived by jumpstarting the motorcycle. To identify a dead battery, you have to look for some signs. One of which is having no ignition. Dead batteries cannot start your motorcycle unless it has a Capacitor Discharge Ignition system that allows kickstarting to start the motor. Another sign for dead batteries is the disappearing horn and headlights. Dead batteries drain electrical charge causing some motorcycle features to not work.
On the other hand, bad batteries cannot be revived at all. A bad battery cannot hold charge making it impossible to convert the chemical energy into mechanical energy. There are several ways to know if the battery has gone bad. To begin your inspection, make sure that you start your motorcycle in a proper condition ensuring that the clutch is engaged and the transmission is in gear. If you can’t start the motorcycle, proceed to removing it and having a thorough inspection.
Seek some evident signs like broken terminals, plastic case bulge and crack, and leaking of fluid or discoloration. After which, double-check by performing a mechanical diagnosis. Wirings are also important to check to be certain that the problem is not caused by any mechanical component or loose connections.
For a complete diagnosis, You can opt for a battery tester or voltmeter. A battery tester is a tool designed to assess the charge, impedance, ripped current, and others. Motorcycles require a voltage of over 12.4. If the voltage isn’t going up from that threshold, then it must be replaced to avoid accidents and other unwanted scenarios.
Some battery tester that you can consider purchasing is the Extech BT100 Battery Capacity tester, Amprobe BAT-250 Battery tester, and Amprobe BAT-500 Battery Capacity tester.
If it is proven that the battery has gone bad, the only thing you could do is replace the battery with a new one and make sure that the wirings are well put together.
Can a completely dead motorcycle battery be recharged?
Consider yourself a little bit lucky if your motorcycle battery is completely dead because dead batteries can be recharged.
Motorcycle batteries can go dead for reasons like simply not turning off your lights. The most efficient way to charge your motorcycle batteries is by using a motorcycle jump box. Motorcycle jump boxes are devices used to recharge dead batteries. They are safe, affordable, and foolproof. Some motorcycle jumper boxes that you can buy are the NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Portable Lithium Jump Starter, Tacklife T8 Jump Starter, and BEATIT 2000Amp Peak 12V Portable Car Jump Starter.
Although there are other ways to charge your batteries, these ways require you to be extra careful. Some of these ways are jumpstarting your motorcycle with another motorcycle or car and connecting a positive jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal of a dead motorcycle battery. These ways can break your batteries from the uncontrolled transmission of power.
Now if your battery is still not charging but you are certain that it is just dead and not bad, the problem might be sulfation. Sulfation happens when the lead battery is deeply discharged, causing sulfur from the battery acid to attach to the lead plates inside the battery. This results in electric current blocking. Corrosion of lead plates is also possible because of the sulfur. However, if the severity is not so bad, it is still possible to recharge a dead battery. Start by cleaning your motorcycle batteries with 8 ounces of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and one quart of distilled water. Afterward, charge your battery with a six-volt tricker charger and charge on low overnight or until fully charged.
What will a bad battery do to a motorcycle?
Bad batteries can cause serious effects and damage to your motorcycle. The batteries supply supplemental current for the starter, fuel system, and ignition system to work when the alternator fails to supply the complete current required. When you hit a limited supply of current, motorcycle components and systems are likely to fail.
The batteries are also responsible for starting your motorcycle’s motor, so bad batteries might leave you with a non-starting motorcycle. In addition, motorcycle batteries are responsible for regulating the voltage supplied by the alternator. Without the battery regulating the voltage, it could cause voltage spikes that could destroy electrical components.
Bad batteries sometimes tend to still provide current but in an unstable manner. This will allow you to still start your motorcycle but it will not run as efficiently as before. Several components could be affected badly just like the fuel injectors and oxygen sensors. The motorcycle stator is also likely to be overworked in this case resulting in overheating or failure.
Does a motorcycle run better with a new battery?
Installing a new battery in a motorcycle will definitely make you ride your motorcycle efficiently. Replacing batteries will ensure that your motorcycle will perform at its best and you will not have any battery-related issues.
There are several ways to replace your batteries, either at the dealership, mechanic, or by yourself. To replace your battery by yourself you have to first learn and read the manual. Having enough knowledge to deal with problems can assist in easier solutions. Succeding this, you have to then locate the battery and access it. Negative cables would then be disconnected first. Removing the negative cables first will avoid grounding out the battery. Secure the cable with tape to make sure that there will be no accidental contact with the battery terminal.
After removing the negative cable, you can now proceed to remove the positive cable. Remove the battery and finally install your new one. Make sure to hook up the cables and insert those lead nuts back into the terminal “hollows” and position the battery in its proper space. Reattach the cable and brush off the powder if there are any.
Can you kick-start a motorcycle with a dead battery?
Generally, there are two ways to start a motorcycle. It could either be by the electric start or kick start. Electric start makes use of the battery for ignition while the kick start option is starting an engine with a strong downward kick in its kick-starter or pedal.
Due to the variations of motorcycles, these two methods can’t work all the time. Motorcycles built with a Capacitor Discharge Ignition system do not require a battery to start the engine. Therefore even if your motorcycle has a dead battery or none at all, your motorcycle is still likely to start.
In contrast, motorcycles with Transistor Coil Ignition depend highly on the battery. So if the battery is dead, then there is no way to start your motorcycle other than charging the battery or replacing it.
Knowing your motorcycle system is very important especially when dealing with these kinds of scenarios.
How long does a motorcycle battery take to charge?
When charging a motorcycle battery, there are several factors that can affect the charging time. Some of which are the size, age, and type of battery.
Normally motorcycle batteries take about 4 to 24 hours to charge. A fully charged battery could last for an average of two to four months. New batteries with a full charge can last three to five months while old ones last for about one to three months only. Properly maintained motorcycle batteries can last from 2 to 4 years.
In addition, you might also want to keep in mind that when replacing your old battery with a new one, you also need to charge it. This is for the reason that most new batteries are charged up to 80% full capacity instead of 100.
Why do motorcycle batteries die so fast?
There are several conditions to consider in this case but the most likely reason why your battery dies so fast is a charging problem or manufacturing defect. To properly charge your battery, you have to first understand its components and features. Charging with high-quality motorcycle battery chargers is also highly advised. Using battery tender to maintain the charge without overcharging will also help.
Not using your motorcycle for a long time could also cause fast drainage of your battery. When you are in a situation when you can’t use your motorcycle for a month or more, it is better to remove it from the motorcycle so that it will not consume its charge. Faulty wiring assembly and even short circuits also cause your battery to die fast. Accessory wiring problems are also reasons for this problem. Installing accessories like radio, phone charger, and more on the motorcycle adds personal touches but it could cause some issues when not installed properly.
Lastly, this problem can also be caused by simply not having proper battery maintenance. To avoid having sudden stops on the road, make sure to check your battery for leaks every now and then. It is also helpful to keep your battery terminals clean to avoid corrosion. Ensuring tight terminal connections is also necessary. Finally, always make sure that your battery is properly charged.