A lot of bikers don’t spend much time thinking about Motorcycle Battery Maintenance, but they should! Motorcycle battery failures are the #2 reason motorcycles leave their owners stranded, right behind Tires in the #1 spot. Here’s the skinny: A 12-volt motorcycle battery is sort of misleading. Depending on how much use it’s seen, a motorcycle battery will actually fall somewhere between 11 and 13 volts. A fully charged battery, obviously, will be closer to 13 while a mostly depleted one will be closer to 11. Any lower than that spells trouble!
How to keep up with Motorcycle Battery Maintenance
The most obvious thing you’ll want to do to maintain your battery on a regular basis (once a month or so) is give it a full charge. Motorcycle electrical systems are relatively weak, so their batteries generally require some supplemental help in the form of a battery charger. a Battery Tender like the one pictured to the right will work wonders, as it’s an automated system, so you can plug it in before bed, unplug it when you wake up, and the charging process is over! Sounds pretty painless, doesn’t it?
The next thing you’ll want to consider is your battery’s fluid level. If you have a ‘maintenance free’ or “AGM’ battery, you don’t need to worry about this. If you have a classic ‘Wet’ battery, you’ll need to check it’s fluid level once in awhile. Should it appear to be low, you will want to refill it with distilled water. Never use anything else in your battery, as the minerals present in tap water and chemicals present in other fluids will damage your battery. While you’re looking inside your battery, shine a flashlight in there and make a quick check for sediment or mossing.
Once it’s all charged up and the internals are good, you’ll want to check the outside and clean off any dirt or corrosion, check the terminals, clamps, and battery case for visible signs of damage, and make sure all of your electrical connections are tight. Finally, double-check your battery’s charge level with a volt meter. If everything checks out, ride on!