If you have a motorcycle, you know that it’s important to take care of it and ensure that it’s working at its very best. Thinking carefully about your choice of motorcycle battery is essential. There are many motorcycle battery options out there, so you need to make sure to buy a battery that’s reliable and easy to maintain.
Maybe you need a new battery for your motorcycle
Every motorcycle enthusiast knows, a good battery is essential for keeping your bike on the road. However, even the best batteries will eventually die. When that happens, it’s necessary to recognize the signs so you can replace the battery before it leaves you stranded. Plus, you can keep your motorcycle running strong for years with just a little care. To make things easy, this article will review these warning signs in-depth so that you can stay safe.
1. Battery Old
Like any vehicle, a motorcycle needs a reliable source of power to keep it running smoothly. The battery is one of the most important components of a motorcycle battery, and it is essential to make sure that it is in good condition. If your battery is outdated or old, it’s time for a new one.
How can you tell if the battery is past it’s prime? Find out it’s issue date.
Most motorcycle batteries will last for around five years before they need to be replaced. However, after five years, the battery may start to show signs of wear and tear. It may not hold a charge as well as it used to, and it may be more susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures.
As a result, it is important to replace the bike battery every five years to ensure that your motorcycle remains in good working order. Not only will this extend the life of your bike, but it will also help to keep you safe on the road.
2. Motorcycle Battery don’t Hold a Charge
Another sign that it is time for a new motorcycle battery is if the battery won’t hold a charge. This can be frustrating, as you may find yourself having to frequently jump-start your bike or replace the battery entirely.
If you notice that your battery is dying more quickly than it used to, it is probably time for a new one. A battery that won’t hold a charge is more likely to fail completely, leaving you stuck on the side of the road. As a result, replacing the battery as soon as you notice this problem is important.
If you wait to replace a dead battery, it could lead to some serious consequences. Your bike may not start, or it may randomly stall while you’re riding. This can be extremely dangerous, especially if you’re on the highway.
Not only that, but a dead battery can also damage your bike’s electrical system. The sooner you can replace it, the better.
3. Dim Headlight Bulbs
Having trouble seeing the road at night? That’s a sign.
One of the most common signs of a dying battery is dim headlight bulbs. This is because the electrical current from the battery is not strong enough to power the headlight bulbs at full brightness. As a result, the bulbs will appear dim when they are turned on.
To put it simply, if your motorcycle’s headlight bulbs are dim, it is a sign that the motorcycle battery is not providing enough power. This can be dangerous, making it harder for you to see at night or in low-light conditions. As a result, replacing the battery as soon as you notice this problem is important.
4. Slow Engine Cranking
Another sign that your motorcycle battery is dying is slow engine cranking. This means that it takes longer than usual for the engine to turn over when you try to start the bike. In some cases, the engine may not start at all.
If you notice that your engine is cranking slowly, it is important to check the condition of your battery. If the battery looks dated, it may be time to replace it. However, if the battery is new, you may just need to clean the terminals.
When you understand how a battery works, it’ll be clear why cleaning the terminals is so important. The best way to clean battery terminals on a battery is to remove the battery and clean the terminals with a wire brush. You can also use a solution of baking soda and water to clean the terminals.
You can also use a commercial battery terminal cleaner but follow the instructions carefully. Some cleaners can damage the battery if used incorrectly.
Once the terminals are clean, you should apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent corrosion. Finally, reattach the battery and tighten the terminals, so they are secure.
5. Electrical Issues
The final sign that your battery is dying is electrical issues. This can manifest in several ways, such as problems with the horn or turn signals.
Another common electrical issue we mentioned earlier is a dim headlight. This is usually caused by a dying battery, as the battery is not providing enough power to the headlight bulb.
If you notice any electrical issues with your motorcycle, it is important to check the condition of your battery. Visually inspect it for any signs of damage, and don’t be afraid to ask a mechanic for their opinion.
After a visual inspection of the battery, go for a test drive. Take note of the bike’s acceleration. If it’s not as responsive as it used to be, the battery might die.
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Battery?
4 Types of Motorcycle Battery
The first thing that you’ll want to do when choosing a motorcycle battery is to think about the type that you need. Here are the types of motorcycle batteries that you should know about.
- Lead Acid Batteries
- AGM Batteries
- Gel Cell Batteries
- Lithium Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are a great option for motorcycles. They don’t require any maintenance and offer reliable performance as well. On top of this, they’re lighter than wet cell batteries, so they can be a great option if you want to optimize motorcycle handling.
Like with gel cell batteries, you’ll want to prevent overcharging lithium motorcycle batteries. These batteries might also run out of power quickly if you have a lot of electronics to power on your bike.
How to Make Your Choice
Aside from choosing a type of battery, there are many more things to consider when choosing a motorcycle battery as well. Here’s what you should think about.
Check the Fit and Requirements
One of the most important things to do when buying a motorcycle battery is to check compatibility with your bike. It’s important to check the guidelines set by the manufacturer of your motorcycle when choosing a battery so that you can be sure that you’ll make an appropriate choice.
Verify that the power and the fit will work for your motorcycle. You should learn what the dimensions are for your motorcycle battery and ensure that it will work for the dimensions that your bike allows. You might want to take a look at your current battery before replacing it so that you’ll know what your bike can handle.
Determine Power Ratings
There are some power ratings you should understand when choosing a motorcycle battery.
Cold-cranking amps (CCA) refer to how well the battery will start your engine and how much power will be provided. If you have a large engine, you’ll need to get a battery with a higher CCA number. Be sure to check manufacturer information to determine what CCA rating you should be looking for.
The amp-hour (AH) rating of a battery is also important to know. This rating refers to how long the battery will last when in use. For example, a 10Ah battery will be able to supply either 1 amp for 10 hours or 2 amps for 5 hours. Keep in mind that with this number, higher is better.
Consider the Level of Maintenance
When reading about the different types of motorcycle battery above, you may have noticed that each requires different levels of maintenance.
It’s a good idea to choose a battery that doesn’t require any maintenance and has little to no risk of spillage. This will help ensure that you’ll have a stress-free time taking care of your bike. There’s a lot to do to maintain your motorcycle properly, but you’ll have one less thing to worry about if you have a motorcycle battery that is maintenance-free.
Check for a Great Warranty
If you want to be fully satisfied with your purchase, make sure that the motorcycle battery you buy also comes with a good warranty.
Remember that manufacturer guarantees can vary in length, so you’ll want to find a battery that offers as long of a warranty as possible. Some warranties may only last 6 months, while others may last for 36 months or more.
If you have problems with the battery, you’ll be covered and can get help from the manufacturer.
How to choose the correct motorcycle battery charger
1. Identify the battery type
There are many types of batteries but most commonly in an automotive or recreational setting you will find Lithium, AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt), GEL, flooded or wet batteries, maintenance free Calcium batteries and the more modern EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery) and Automotive AGM found in modern Stop Start vehicles. The type of battery is always clearly displayed on the battery label located on the top or side of the battery.
Most automotive cranking batteries are either flooded (wet) batteries or Calcium maintenance free batteries. Always check, as some modern vehicles have an AGM style Stop/Start cranking battery. It is important to check your charger is suitable for your battery type and select the correct battery chemistry when charging.
2. Identify the size of the battery you need to charge
The rating of batteries can be confusing and different rating types are used for different batteries. For example:
- Flooded (Wet) or Calcium are typically rated in Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and/or Reserve Capacity (RC).
- Lithium, AGM and GEL batteries are typically rated by a “C” Rating
When it comes to charging, we need to determine the Ampere hours (Ah) of the battery. This is a universal number that helps us understand the size or electrical capacity of a motorcycle battery. On flooded, wet or Calcium batteries such as start batteries the Ah is often not displayed.
Converting CCA to Ah is not that easy. You should always download the manufactures data sheet to check the correct Ah rating. There is an old rule of thumb where you divide 7.25 into the CCA to determine the Ah of the battery but it’s not always an accurate conversion.
Understanding the “C” rating of a battery can help you determine a lot about the Battery. For example, 100Ah rated at C20. Divide the 20 into the 100 gives you 5 amps. This tells us that the battery is designed to discharge 5 amps for 20 hours until is reaches 10.5 Volts (which is the international test benchmark for dead flat).
If the motorcycle battery label does not indicate the Ah rating, to get an approximate Amp hour (Ah) rating, multiply the Reserve Capacity (RC rating) x 0.6.
E.g. 90 RC x 0.6 = 54 Ah.
Note: These details can be found on the battery label located on the top or side of the battery. If you are unable to find this information, please contact your battery manufacturer.
3. Identify what you need the charger for
Battery charging is when you are recharging a flat or dead battery to full. Battery maintenance on the other hand is when you just want to keep a battery topped up (maintained).
For instance, if you’re storing a motorcycle that you only ride a few times a month but want to ensure it’s ready to go on a sunny afternoon you would require battery maintenance as opposed to battery charging. This is often referred to as trickle charging. Battery chargers perform both functions and understanding each charger’s limits is important.
Lithium batteries require a specific charge at specific voltages and should never be charged by a battery charger that has not specifically been designed to charge lithium batteries.
4. Selecting a charger size
As a rule of thumb your battery charger should be 10% – 20% of the Ah rating of the battery.
E.g A 100Ah battery would require a 10 Amp charger as a minimum. To prevent overcharging, you should keep the charger size to within 30% of the total capacity.In the case of a 100Ah battery that would be a maximum of a 30 amp charger. (For Lithium batteries, refer to your battery manufacturers specifications for maximum charge current as this could be anywhere up to 100% of the Ah capacity)