Give your motorcycle battery some love during cold weather
The temperature is starting to dip and the holiday season is getting closer and closer, which means that for some of us that it's time to start winterizing our bikes and storing them for the winter. Or, if you're a little more daring, you can continue to ride, as long as you remember to keep warm.
When you start winterizing your motorcycle, it's easy to overlook the heart of your bike's electrical system—the battery. Some will just hook it up to a battery charger and call it a day. Most of the time that works, but we're a little more hands-on than that. If you want your motorcycle battery to last you more than one frigid winter, then follow these tips and enjoy that first ride of spring.
Inspect Your Battery
The first step in readying your battery for winter is to give it a once over. Inspect the battery cables, posts, and fasteners. If necessary, clean the terminals with a stiff brush or battery cleaner spray. Apply dielectric grease or anti-corrosive spray on the posts and terminal connectors to prevent corrosion. Make sure the cables and their housings are in good shape and the connectors are secured tightly to the battery.
Top Up Your Battery
If the battery is not a sealed unit, check the electrolyte levels, using distilled water to top up any cells that appear low. As a friendly reminder, do not overfill.
Check Your Battery's Charge
Before you slap a trickle charger on it, make sure to check your battery’s charge with a multimeter if you don’t have one, go out and buy one. You’re checking the battery’s state of charge and if it needs a little juice or if you should just recycle it and get a new one. With the bike’s key in the on position, connect your multimeter and test your battery.
Put The Right Battery In Your Bike
If you need to purchase a new battery, choose one that meets the ratings recommended in the owner’s manual for your particular model.
Hook It Up To A Trickle Charger
Motorcycle battery chargers have been constructed to be as simple to use as possible. The only bit of advice we have on this is that you buy—or use—the appropriate style of battery charger for your kind of battery. A charger that works on lead-acid motorcycle batteries can be bad news if you leave it to charge a lithium-ion battery. If you don't have access to a power source in your shed or garage—or live in an apartment—you can take the battery out of your bike and charge it indoors.
Ensure Your Battery Is Charged
Whatever can go wrong, will. Make sure that the trickle charger is doing its job by testing the starting and charging system at least once a month, so when the sun appears and the snow melts, you’re ready to hit the road or trail.