Most modern models of motorcycles need a battery to function. It helps generate a direct current that is converted into alternating current and is then utilized to power the entire motorcycle.
Most manufacturers say that motorcycle batteries last up to forty-eight months or four years after purchase. The average motorcycle battery that is not regularly used will only last for up to two to four months. The motorcycle batteries that are left to sit on a shelf will die quickly due to parasitic drain. That is why your motorcycle battery should be used regularly to boost its viability.
The longevity of your motorcycle battery is also influenced by other factors like your maintenance activities, driving habits, and more. One should be familiar with the different signs of when it’s time to replace the motorcycle batteries in order to prevent any road accidents or a malfunctioning battery.
How To Keep Your Battery Charged
As aforementioned, it is important to keep your motorcycle battery active in order to keep its energy cells viable and functional. Taking your motorcycle out for a spin isn’t the only way to keep the battery running. You can simply keep it charged.
You need a multimeter to measure the voltage of the battery. A reading that says 12.6 volts means that the battery is fully charged. 12.4 volts means it is at 75% while 12.2 volts means that the battery is only at 50%.
You can keep your motorcycle battery charged in three ways. The first is by powering up your motorcycle. The process charges your battery through the stator with a total output of 15 volts. Another way is by charging your battery using another battery that should be at least 50% capacity. The last way is by using a battery charger, specifically a battery trickle charger. A trickle charger provides a steady stream of charge to prevent drainage.
Factors That Affect Longevity
The way you treat your motorcycle battery dictates if it is going to last for a long time or if it will die before it even reaches a year. Another factor is the type of motorcycle battery that you have.
There are certain bad driving habits that can kill your motorcycle batteries sooner than you expect. One is if you frequently let your motorcycle idling for long periods of time. Another is if you only ever take out your motorcycle for short runs. These prevent your batteries from getting fully recharged.
If your motorcycle has a lot of accessories that aren’t even fully necessary, then there are many chances for it to get completely drained. Some electrical accessories include heated grips, fog lights, USB charging points, GPS consoles, and more.
The incorrect installation can also cause battery problems. Make sure to double-check the installation.
Types Of Batteries
There are four main types of motorcycle batteries to choose from. Each one differs in terms of their performance, price, and shelf life.
- Conventional Batteries
These are also known as flooded cell batteries. These are “old school” as they are made of lead-acid. The battery cells are made by soaking lead plates in acid solutions in order to generate electrolytes that power up your motorcycle.
This type is cheap and reliable. The only downside is they tend to be unsafe and requires a lot of maintenance because of the sensitive contents.
- Gel Batteries
This type functions just like conventional batteries. The only difference is that instead of acid, this uses gel so it is safer but a little more expensive. Gel batteries aren’t great as starter batteries.
- Absorbed Glass Mat
This differs compared to flooded cell types because it utilizes fiberglass mats to hold electrolytes in place. It is also a modern variant of the lead-acid batteries. These are very safe to use, long-lasting, and have a reliable performance in practically any weather condition.
- Lithium Batteries
These are technically known as lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. This is the complete opposite of lead-acid batteries because the cells are completely dry. These are light and very high in performance. The only downside is that they tend to be expensive and can be affected by weather conditions.
Incorporating some basic maintenance tips can help you save a lot of money in the long run by lessening the frequency at which you replace your motorcycle batteries.
This tip is particularly applicable to you if you live in a cold area. A cold climate can kill motorcycle batteries. Make sure to store your motorcycle in a sheltered location, like a shed or a garage. A very low temperature can make it hard for you to start up your motorcycle battery. You can take a space heater and place it beside the battery. Allow it to subtly warm-up before starting the motorcycle.
Get The Proper Size
Most beginners make the mistake of getting a motorcycle battery whose size differs from the motorcycle itself. The improper size can cause serious damage to your motorcycle and to the battery. For example, a large motorcycle with 18 volts can cause overheating and fried wires. It also increases the risk of getting into a road accident.
Make sure to consult the user manual of the motorcycle to know exactly what size you should get. You can also consult any motorcycle expert at your local motorcycle shop. There is a designated battery size per make and model.
3 Best Type of Batteries
Lead Acid Battery
Absorbed Glass Mat
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