How to Charge a Motorcycle Battery

by William Adkins

Motorcycle batteries are relatively expensive compared to car batteries. For this reason, many riders get a battery charger designed for motorcycles, since proper charging extends the life of the battery. The important point to remember is that a motorcycle battery is small and must be charged very slowly. Using a regular battery charger, rather than one designed to produce a trickle charge, will ruin the battery and can be dangerous. Recharge your motorcycle battery anytime the lights begin to dim or the motorcycle isn't used for two weeks.

Remove the battery from the motorcycle, using pliers or a small crescent wrench. The battery is hard to reach on some motorcycles, so if you aren't sure how to get at it, consult your owner's manual. Also, check the connecting cables for wear. Before you proceed, put on safety goggles and gloves. The fluid in a battery is highly acidic and toxic.

Remove the chamber caps and fill with distilled or de-ionized water. Don't use tap water as it contains chemicals that may damage the battery. Leave the caps off during the charging process to prevent gasses from building up in the battery. For the same reason, check the vent tube to be sure it is clear of blockages.

Start with a cool battery and the charger off. Plug the charger into a regular household electric socket. Make sure you connect the positive cable to the positive terminal and negative to negative. Turn the charger on. Depending on how depleted the battery is, you may need to charge it overnight, or even longer.

Turn off the charger when the battery is fully charged and then disconnect the battery. Replace the caps on the fluid champers and reinstall the battery on the motorcycle. Make sure caps and cables are securely fastened in place.

Tip

  • check If you must store your bike in sub-freezing weather, remove the battery. If the water in it freezes, it can break the battery. Always store the battery on wood or another non-conducting surface.

Warning

  • close The battery will produce some oxygen and hydrogen gas. These are extremely flammable. Make sure your work area is well-ventilated and do not smoke in the area.

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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera motorcycle image by Bionic Media from Fotolia.com