If you own a motorcycle, there will be times where you will experience a battery problem. Being able to spot warning signs and having knowledge of how to sort different problems that can arise will make a huge difference. It is important to know the difference between a battery needing to be charged and a battery needing to be replaced, as this could save you a lot of time and money. There are many simple ways to be able to tell the difference and you don’t need to be a trained mechanic.
If you haven’t been on your motorcycle in a long time or you aren’t using it very often then the battery will go flat, as it isn’t being charged by the engine. If you know the motorcycle hasn’t been used in a while, this is easily fixed by charging the battery. If your motorcycle is fitted with any other accessories, this can make the battery drain faster, regardless of the motorcycle being used or not.
Sulfation occurs in a motorcycle battery when the battery discharges and is a by-product of this. Usually, recharging the battery will reverse this but there are times it will not. If your motorcycle is unused for an extended period of time or left discharged, these sulfation crystals will not turn back into electrolytes, which are essential for a fully-functioning battery. Sulfation can lead to extended charging time and loss of cranking power. When this occurs, charging the battery will never restore it back to its original state and it is usually the point where a new battery will need to be purchased.
When you are driving, your engine will re-charge your battery. The more input your engine is giving to other external sources, the less charge your battery will get. If you are using a lot of electrical items on your motorcycle such as the alarm, a radio, and you have the lights on, this can mean your battery isn’t being re-charged to full power during the ride. Eventually, especially if you are making a long journey, your battery may become very flat by the end of your journey, or may not even re-start. The easiest way to combat this is to not to put too much strain on the engine at one time if you are driving long distances and ensure your lights aren’t switched on if they don’t need to be.
Almost everybody has done it or will do at some point in their lives. Locked their motorcycle or their car up and left the lights on. If we are in a rush, tired, or we just forget, it is an easy mistake to make, but it does mean your battery will be drained whilst the lights are still on. If your battery is flat in the morning and your lights are on – you more than likely have your answer. This is something that can be helped by always double-checking your lights are switched off at the end of your journey, but obviously, we all forget sometimes! If you haven’t left anything running, there could be an electrical fault, which means more load is being put on the battery than it can take.
The first thing to do if you encounter any of the above is to recharge your battery. If your battery hasn’t been dead for a long time or it is becoming old and worn, chances are it will re-charge and be in good working order again. Connect the battery to a charger and depending on how flat it has become will dictate how long it needs to stay connected for. If the charger doesn’t recognise it has been plugged into a battery, this means the voltage in the battery is too low and you will need to purchase another battery. If your battery is going flat on a regular basis, this is also a sign a new battery is needed. It is always best to buy motorcycle batteries from a trusted source to ensure you purchase the right battery for your motorcycle. You can view a range of reliable Yuasa motorcycle batteries on this website if you don’t know where to look.
The best way to keep your battery healthy is to ride your motorcycle frequently and not overload the battery. Always try and remember to turn everything off when you have finished riding to prevent waking up to a flat battery. Have a charger appropriate for your battery to ensure if anything goes wrong you can get it charged quickly. If you have any problems and are unsure, pop down to your local motorcycle garage and they will have plenty of advice and ways to test what is wrong with your battery.