How to Extend Your Motorcycle Battery Life
This entry was posted on July 11, 2013.
Motorcycles are notoriously rough on batteries, and inexperienced riders can go through them rather quickly, especially in climates with extreme temperatures. However, following the proper care and maintenance guidelines can extend the life of a motorcycle's battery by several years. This not only saves money but also reduces breakdowns at inopportune moments.
Use the Right Motorcycle Battery
Most motorcycles are not compatible with every battery, and using the wrong battery is a surefire way to cut its life short. It is imperative to use only batteries that meet your bike manufacturer’s specifications. Some manufacturers state that replacement batteries should be of the same type as the original battery. For instance, if you have a maintenance-free battery, it should only be replaced with another maintenance-free battery and not with a standard battery.
In addition, it is possible to purchase a battery with an extended lifespan. These batteries are more expensive than standard batteries, but if they are properly maintained, they can last two or three times longer. This option all depends on your budget and personal preference on performance.
Keep the Battery Charged
The best way to extend the life of a motorcycle battery is to keep it fully charged at all times. Although these batteries are referred to as 12-volt batteries, at a full charge, they should measure 12.6 to 13.0 volts. When a battery measures 12 volts, it is actually close to being depleted.
Keeping the battery fully charged is not difficult. If you ride every day, then the bike should keep the battery sufficiently charged, but if you take long breaks from riding, you will have to keep it on a trickle charger. The only type of charger that should be used is one that is specifically designed for motorcycle batteries. Using a charger designed for a car may damage the battery or prevent it from charging.
When charging a standard battery, be sure to open the vent caps. Otherwise, flammable gases may build up that could explode under the right conditions. In addition to the vent caps, you also want to check that the vent tube is unobstructed and working properly.
Follow a Maintenance Schedule
While keeping your battery fully charged is a great way to extend its lifespan, it is not all that can be done. Following the proper monthly maintenance schedule can also help to extend a battery’s life. You should always use the maintenance schedule from the battery’s manufacturer, but the following checklist covers most of the important points.
When disconnecting the battery, the negative terminal should be disconnected first, and the battery should be placed on a clean, even surface in a well-ventilated location. Check the battery terminals for corrosion. If any corrosion is present, the terminals should be cleaned with a wire brush. Check the electrolyte levels on a conventional battery. If the battery needs to be refilled, add distilled water until the plates are completely submerged. Always replace caps securely, and be sure to test the battery with a voltmeter or a hydrometer to make sure it is working properly.
Motorcycle batteries may have a lifespan of several years, but without following the proper care techniques, they may not last longer than a single season. However, riders should always follow the recommended safety guidelines to avoid serious injuries from fire, explosions or leaking acid.