Tip Sheet

How to properly take care of your motorcycle’s battery

As well as a few tips on what to do in case it gets discharged
motorcycle maintenance, motorcycle battery, motorcycle battery maintenance, motorcycle maintenance tips
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Batteries are just as important to motorcycles as they are to cars. Unless your bike has a kick-starter lever, chances are you won’t be able to use your steed if its battery is dead.

But similar to most modern car batteries, motorcycle batteries are easy to take care of, so a bike dying on you can easily be avoided. If you’re diligent about maintenance, a good battery can last you at least two to three years.

We have a few simple tips here that you can follow so that you can take proper care of your motorcycle’s battery. If you’re reading this too late and your bike’s already stalled in your garage, then we’ve also got you covered—we included here a few things you can do in case of a discharged battery.

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1) Start your bike up regularly

Not all riders use their bikes for their daily commutes. A lot of people use their bikes mainly for leisure—random night rides or weekend breakfast rides out of the city, stuff like that. And if your bike doesn’t start up everyday, this could lead to premature discharging. This is why it’s good to make it a habit to fire up your motorcycle at least once a week. Start it up and let it idle for a few minutes, and you’re good.

Now, if you’re going to start up your bike in the middle of the week anyway, you might as well go for a quick ride around the block. It’ll be a good excuse to head out and unwind during those hectic work weeks.

2) If you won’t use your bike for extended periods, remove the battery

We say this to car owners all the time. Riders need to hear this, too. If your motorcycle—regardless of whether or not it can be kick-started—will be left untouched for weeks or even months, remove the battery. If you don’t know how to, check the owner’s manual.

If you do have to remove the battery, make sure it’s stored properly. Check the proper room temperature for storage, and secure the battery so it doesn’t get soaked in rain or it doesn’t get too hot. Take note that you should also place the battery away from any conductors so it won’t deplete quickly when not in use. Put it on top of a wooden stool or table, or put thick insulators underneath it if you have to place it on the floor.

3) Perform visual inspections often

Include a more thorough inspection of your motorcycle battery in your pre-ride routine checks every once in a while. Check the terminals for possible corrosion and brush them clean as often as needed. Inspect the battery for any potential leaks as well.

If your bike has a conventional motorcycle battery, it might need to be topped up with distilled water every so often, so check the water levels every other week. If you’re not sure what type of battery your bike has, remember that the owner’s manual is your friend.

4) Have the battery’s health checked regularly

motorcycle maintenance, motorcycle battery, motorcycle battery maintenance, motorcycle maintenance tips

Some motorcycles have built-in voltmeters, so you can check if there are any irregularities with your battery’s charge upon startup or when you’re on the go. But even then, the best way to know the health of your bike’s battery is to perform a proper check with the right tools.

You can DIY this as long as you have the equipment, but if not, simply take your bike to your trusted shop and have the mechanics do the check-up for you. If you can diagnose any problems preemptively, you can avoid unwanted breakdowns in the middle of a trip or worse, having your bike’s electronics conk out due to battery discharge.

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What if my motorcycle battery dies on me?

You have two options to choose from here. One is to try and jump-start your bike, and the other is to get a replacement battery altogether.

What some owners might not know is that you can jump-start a motorcycle using another motorcycle. Heck, you can even use a car for this. You just need jumper cables, of course—and preferably small or medium-sized ones so they can easily fit where your bike’s battery is stored.

The easier route is to just buy a replacement battery. This is only recommended if the old battery is simply dead and is no longer usable even after recharging. Now, if you’re buying a new battery, just make sure you consult the owner’s manual first, especially if you’re getting a non-OEM battery as a replacement. 

Click here for more tips on motorcycle and car maintenance.

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PHOTO: Shutterstock
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