A reliable battery is essential for any motorcycle rider, and one that’s well-kept can last about ten years. However, batteries don’t last forever, and it can be difficult to determine when to recharge or replace them. Fortunately, there are several indicators to gauge whether your battery is nearing the end of its life or whether it just needs to be charged. Here’s a guide to maintaining your motorcycle’s battery so that you can ride with confidence and peace of mind.

Identifying a Dead Motorcycle Battery

Before you consider whether you should recharge or replace your motorcycle battery, you need to identify whether your battery is truly dead. Some signs of a dead battery include:

  • The engine is slow to start or won’t start at all
  • The headlight or dashboard lights appear dim or don’t turn on
  • Clicking sounds come from the starter

The easiest way to determine whether you need a new battery is by testing your current one. To do so, you’ll want to:

  1. Charge the motorcycle battery. 
  2. Wait at least 30 minutes for the charge to settle.
  3. After 30 minutes, use a multimeter to determine the voltage level. The battery should be 12.7 V or above when fully charged.
  4. Connect the battery to the motorcycle and multimeter.
  5. Start the motorcycle and check the multimeter’s voltage reading. If the voltage drops below 9.5 V, you should consider replacing your battery.

How to Jump-Start a Dead Motorcycle Battery

Jump-starting your motorcycle is a quick fix that can get you back on the road. If you are not confident you can do this safely, then consult with a vehicle mechanic to do this for you.  Otherwise, here’s how to do it safely:

  1. Use jumper cables to connect your motorcycle’s battery to a charged battery (another motorcycle or a car).
  2. Ensure both vehicles are off before connecting the cables.
  3. Connect the positive cable (red) to the dead battery’s positive terminal and then the other end of it to the charged battery’s positive terminal.
  4. Connect the negative cable (black) to the charged battery’s negative terminal and then attach the other end to any metal surface on the motorcycle. 
  5. Start the vehicle with the charged battery, then attempt to start your motorcycle.
  6. Once your motorcycle is running for a bit, disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order.
checking the voltage on a motorcycle battery

How Long Does It Take to Charge a Motorcycle Battery?

If you decide to charge your battery, how long should you expect to wait? It varies depending on the battery’s current charge and the charger you use.

  • A low charge rate might take around 8-10 hours.
  • A higher charge rate can reduce the charging time significantly, but may damage the battery if overcharged. Therefore, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when charging your battery to avoid potential damage.

Ways to Prevent Motorcycle Battery Damage During Storage

Proper storage can extend the life of your battery. To prevent battery damage during storage:

  • Disconnect the battery if your motorcycle will be stored for an extended period.
  • Store the battery in a cool, dry place.
  • Use a battery tender to maintain a consistent charge level.

Replacing Your Motorcycle Battery

If recharging or jump-starting isn’t enough, you may need to replace your motorcycle battery. You can find batteries at reputable auto body stores or online retailers. Some stores may offer free installation if you purchase a battery from them. If you decide to replace the battery yourself, follow safety guidelines and the manufacturer’s instructions.

Riders Protecting Riders Across the Carolinas

Proper maintenance and care for your motorcycle battery can keep you safe on the road and extend the lifespan of your bike. Whether you choose to recharge, jump-start, or replace your battery, always take appropriate safety precautions and seek the help of a specialist if needed.

In the event of a motorcycle accident, you may not only be dealing with a wrecked bike, but severe and potentially life-altering injuries. In that case, you need a motorcycle accident lawyer committed to helping you return to your normal life. At GTA Law Riders, we’re avid motorcyclists with a passion for defending fellow bikers and protecting their rights when they need it most.

If you need legal representation after an accident, contact us today by submitting the form below or calling our office at 800-951-9482 for a free consultation.