Motorcycle Battery Maintenance: 3 Things You Should Know

Whether you crave a thrilling cruise down an open road or a full-throttle ride on the highway,  motorcycles offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Regardless of your experience level, practicing proper bike maintenance is imperative. Maintaining your motorcycle battery allows you to enjoy peak performance when you crave an exhilarating cruise.

While the best motorcycle batteries do not require the same level of care as standard batteries, they still need regular cleanings, proper storage, and charging. Failing to practice proper battery maintenance can make the difference between a great ride and a battery shortage. With that in mind, the following tips can help prolong the life of your motorcycle battery.

Clean all terminals to prevent corrosion

While regular visual inspections can reveal corrosion, cleaning all of the terminals on your motorcycle battery can help prevent corrosion before it becomes a major issue. If you notice a white, powdery substance around the terminals during a visual inspection, acid is leaking from your motorcycle battery. White acid typically forms in the areas surrounding the negative terminal, while blue acid forms around the positive terminal.

Keep in mind that acid should be approached with caution and that cleaning acid requires wearing protective gloves. To clean acid, remove the cables connecting the battery and use either hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. 

Make sure to regularly scrub each terminal using a wire brush to clean away debris. Regularly cleaning your motorcycle battery can help prevent the build-up of acid, which can corrode your battery’s terminals and cause a shortage. In addition, use anti-corrosion spray to prevent corrosion from forming around the cables and terminals.

Add distilled water to electrolyte cells

Topping off your battery’s electrolyte cells with distilled water can help prolong the life of your battery since your battery won’t have to work as hard. To add distilled water, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. Next, remove the battery from the bike and take off the lids that cover the cells with a flathead screwdriver.

Using the minimum and maximum markers on each cell, add distilled water to each cell as needed and screw the caps back onto the cells. If your battery has threaded caps, use your fingers to tighten them. Adding distilled water rather than tap water will ensure that minerals do not cause a negative chemical reaction with your battery.

Charge your battery between rides

Although it may seem obvious, charging your battery between each ride can significantly prolong your battery’s lifespan. Letting your battery drain completely shortens the lifespan of your battery and negatively affects the overall performance of your bike. 

When your bike sits idle, it loses its charge. If you leave your bike sitting in the garage, your bike’s alarm, radio, and other parts of your motorcycle continue to draw a current, which slowly depletes your battery. Consider attaching a battery tender to your bike while its in storage or if you don’t ride it frequently.

While you can jumpstart your motorcycle battery before a ride, practicing regular battery maintenance can help you avoid the situation entirely. 

A pulse charge can be used to test the performance of your bike’s battery and indicate when the battery is fully charged. If you don’t have a pulse charge, a voltmeter can be used to test the performance of maintenance-free batteries by reading the DC voltage. A hydrometer is another option which measures the gravity of each electrolyte to determine the battery level. 

All in all, practicing proper battery maintenance can save you from spending money on a new battery every few months and allow you to enjoy peak performance during each ride.

Adam Hansen