Anything not plugged into an outlet directly requires a battery in order to operate. In our day-to-day lives, we use plenty of products that require electrical power but that wouldn’t be practical if they weren’t cordless devices. As battery technology continues to improve, so does our user experience with everything from electric cars to smartphones and tablets.
Even standard combustion vehicles require a battery in order to generate power and keep things moving. Ultimately, these batteries suffer wear and tear through the seasons and over the long trips we take in our vehicles.
Motorcycle batteries are a particular type of vehicle battery that comes with their own guidelines for care, replacement, and diagnostics. Not everybody can be a mechanic, so we’ve put together a set of tips for motorcycle owners who want to better understand how their batteries work.
Always Maintain Electrolyte Levels
For anybody who is buying their first motorcycle, the notion of motorcycle battery maintenance may seem like a foreign concept. After all, most automobiles use sealed batteries that require no maintenance whatsoever and will operate without any intervention for their full life.
With motorcycle batteries, however, it is important to understand that the lack of a sealed situation means fluid levels will need to be replaced periodically. Each motorcycle battery cell has electrolytes in it – just like any other auto battery – that deplete over time. If you are not careful, your battery will dry up and become useless.
How often should you be checking your motorcycle battery’s electrolyte levels? Most mechanics recommend that you check battery levels once per month during warmer months and a minimum of every 5,000 kilometres throughout the remainder of the year. For those who ride extensively, more frequent checks may be needed.
When checking electrolyte levels, make sure that you are parked on a level space. This will ensure that your battery electrolyte levels are accurately observable. In addition, be careful not to get any of this electrical juice on your skin or clothing, as it is corrosive.
The good news is that replenishing your motorcycle battery fluids is easy. You don’t need expensive chemicals or fluids: distilled water is what you’ll be using to perform this maintenance.
Always Store Your Battery Properly
The average car owner doesn’t have to give much thought to their vehicle batteries – except when they suddenly stop working. With a motorcycle battery, however, you need to be more prepared and proactive.
The difference between motorcycle batteries and car batteries can be explained in simple terms: smaller batteries are more susceptible to extreme temperature fluctuations. Rapid changes in temperature and temperature extremes dramatically impact battery performance, both in the short- and long-term. As a result, the harsh climate of winter and summer can wreak havoc on a motorcycle battery much more rapidly than a traditional car battery.
In the winter months, it is vital that you remove the battery from the motorcycle and store it somewhere so that the ambient temperature never drops below freezing. This will help prevent the battery’s capacity from being weakened. To keep the motorcycle battery in top condition, Hardwarexpress recommend getting a maintenance charger which will help extend its lifespan.
To ensure optimal performance regardless, this is a good practice during the summer months as well – or any time of the year when you are not regularly riding your motorcycle. By keeping the battery in a stable environment where swings in temperature won’t happen, your battery will be more likely to last longer.
Keep Your Battery Consistently Charged
Batteries are not static things. They generally function constantly by doing one of two things: charging or discharging. When your battery is connected to your motorcycle, it charges every time the motorcycle is in use. When the battery is removed from the motorcycle for storage, however, it has no way to charge.
As such, it begins to discharge. This process is natural, but it is bad for your battery when left to discharge for weeks or months on end. One way that motorcycle owners have circumvented this problem is by purchasing and using a trickle charger. This will ensure that the battery remains charged at optimum levels and doesn’t effectively begin to decay while neglected in storage.
There are both standard and “smart” trickle chargers that can be used to maintain battery power to the stored battery, but the important thing is to ensure that the battery doesn’t become drained on a regular basis. Seeing as how all batteries have a finite number of recharge cycles, keeping your battery at optimal levels will ensure it continues to provide power for years into the future.
Whether you’ve owned a motorcycle for some time or just now have made the commitment, not everybody has time to be a mechanic. Thankfully, motorcycle battery care is pretty simple. As long as you keep the battery out of extreme climates, replenish its electrolytes regularly and keep it charged, you’ll keep on riding with a powerful battery that continues delivering long after its expectations.