3 important things to know about motorcycle batteries

To ensure your bike rides well, proper maintenance on your bike is essential.

A motorcycle’s battery is a bike’s primary power source, and far too often batteries go unchecked by riders, sometimes after it’s too late. To ensure your bike rides well, proper maintenance on your bike is essential. This includes taking care of its battery. Here are three things you should know about maintaining your bike’s battery.

How often you should change your motorcycle batteries

Motorcycle batteries last about four years or so on average, so be sure to keep track of the last time you changed it. If you’re not sure how old your bike’s battery is there’s a date stamp on the battery that you can reference. If you think your bike’s battery is getting close to needing to be replaced and you’re having trouble with the engine when you start it, this is often a sign of an old battery that will need to be replaced soon.

If you get to that point, you can head over to your local auto shop and they’ll conduct a load test for you, or you can conduct one at home if you have a digital voltmeter. A good preventative maintenance practice is to replace your bike’s battery every four years, even if it’s not giving you any trouble. This way you can avoid any surprises before it’s too late.

How to properly maintain your bike’s battery

A quick and easy way to maintain a motorcycle’s battery is to visually inspect it every month or every 2,500 miles. Start by checking to make sure your bike’s battery isn’t cracked or chipped. Next, check for any leaks, discoloration, broken terminals, or bumps in the battery case. Cleaning your bike’s battery terminals is another way to ensure proper care of it and to prevent corrosion.

This can be done simply with a toothbrush if you don’t have any other tools and a pair of gloves. You should always wear gloves because the acid can sometimes leak from batteries so proper precaution is advised. While you’re cleaning the terminals, also check to make sure there aren’t any loose connectors.

Be sure to add some distilled water to battery cells as needed also, as this will ensure your bike’s battery doesn’t have to work as hard. In addition, if you haven’t ridden your bike in a long time, be sure to give it a charge. If a bike’s battery sits for too long, it’ll slowly begin to lose power.

motorcycle batteries
Some motorcycle batteries are located under the seat pan.

Common bike battery types

There are three types of common motorcycle batteries available for purchase in the market today. The oldest type is a wet lead acid battery or a flooded lead-acid battery (FLA). They are made of lead and lead dioxide and should be given distilled water often to prevent damage. Next, there is a gel cell battery which is a type of sealed lead acid battery. There are no cell electrolyte evaporation, spillage, or corrosion issues with these types of batteries, and they have great resistance to shock and high temperatures.

Also, this type of battery is charged using a trickle charger as opposed to a quick charger. They also don’t need to be kept upright as opposed to a wet lead acid battery. Lastly, there’s the absorbed glass mat battery (AGM). It is a sealed and maintenance-free battery that does not require any distilled water for maintenance. Also, it does not need to be kept upright and it has good heat and vibration resistance, similar to the gel cell battery. Absorbed glass mat batteries are considered to be comparable to gel cell batteries, and are priced cheaper, as well.

Constant maintenance is required to ensure your bike runs smoothly. Be sure to check your battery every month and follow-up with a professional should you notice any fault.