How to Charge a Motorcycle Battery with a Car

by Suzette Barnard

There may be little worse than that feeling that hits when you turn the key on your motorcycle and nothing happens because its battery is dead. In a pinch, you can use your car to jump-start a drained motorcycle battery. But because your car battery is more powerful that your motorcycle battery, it's important to be careful when charging latter with the former. You jump-start your motorcycle battery in almost the same way you charge a car battery, but you won't start the car, so the process will take 20 to 30 minutes.

Position your motorcycle so it is as close as possible to the hood of the car without touching. You will need to stretch your jumper cables between the two.

Turn off the engine for both the motorcycle and the car.

Find the positive and negative terminals on both batteries. You may need to clean a little corrosion off the terminals to see the markings.

Find the positive and negative ends of the jumper cables. The positive clips are usually the red ones, and the negative clips are usually the black ones.

Connect one of the positive clips of the jumper cable to the positive post of the motorcycle battery.

Clamp the other positive clip to the car battery. Make sure both clips have a good grip on the battery posts and aren't in danger of falling off. Do not allow the positive end of the jumper cable to touch any metal on the motorcycle.

Connect one of the negative clips of the jumper cable to the negative post of the car battery.

Connect the other negative clip to a sturdy piece of metal on the motorcycle, such as the frame or the rear axle nut. This will ground your circuit, which helps prevent an explosion.

Refrain from turning on the car. Let the car battery slowly transfer power to the motorcycle battery. In a few minutes, try to start the motorcycle while it is still connected with the jumper cables. Depending on the condition of your motorcycle battery, you may need to wait 20 to 30 minutes before trying again.

Disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order that you connected them once your motorcycle is running. Start with the negative clip from the motorcycle, then the negative clip from the car battery. Remove the positive clip from the car battery, then the positive clip from the motorcycle battery.

Warnings

  • close Never turn the ignition on your car while charging your motorcycle battery. Because a car battery is more powerful than a motorcycle battery, that would damage your motorcycle battery beyond repair.
  • close Wear eye protection when jump-starting a car.
  • close Always jump-start a vehicle in an open area free of anything that could cause an explosion, such as a cigarette or an open flame.

Items you will need

About the Author

Suzette Barnard has been writing for newspapers since 1990. Her work has appeared in publications like "The Columbia Missourian" and "The Edwardsville Intelligencer" in southern Illinois. Barnard holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera closeup of jumper cables image by Katrina Miller from Fotolia.com