For a motorcycle fanatic, maintenance of their machine is always a priority. This includes repairs and replacing faulty parts and regularly following up on all motorcycle parts to ensure a smooth ride.
One of the most crucial parts of the motorcycle is its battery, and the maintenance of the battery plays a great role in the overall performance of the machine.
Motorcycle batteries are an important component of your setup; without one, you won’t be able to move. A motorcycle battery is a long-term investment, so it is prudent to conduct some research and select a battery best suited for your machine.
When a rider buys a new motorbike, the first thing that comes to mind is not the machine’s battery life. They are too preoccupied with other, more intriguing features when buying. This article will inform motorcycle riders on the typical lifespan of a motorbike battery and how to extend it.
Different types of batteries
There are 3 types of batteries that are mostly used in motorcycles. Wet Cell batteries, Gel cell batteries, and dry cell AGM Batteries.
Wet Cell Batteries
These are the most cost-effective motorcycle batteries. They contain a lead-antimony alloy. They use a water and acid mixture that allow charge to be generated.
As the water in the battery acid is consumed over time, you must check these batteries regularly and water levels topped off using Distilled Water.
Gel Cell Batteries
Gel batteries are frequently used in bicycles where the battery must be positioned at an angle or side.
Gel battery electrolytes are wrapped in a gelling agent (fumed silica) that retains the acid in a ‘gel form.’ The gel-filled batteries are hermetically sealed and cannot be recharged. Therefore they do not need to be removed or topped up. Hence, they are low-maintenance batteries.
Lastly, AGM motorcycle batteries are possibly the most expensive variety available. Absorbed glass mat batteries use silica glass matting, making them very easy to maintain, so they are called maintenance-free batteries.
When these batteries are put into action, they become completely sealed and a unit that requires far less maintenance than Conventional Batteries. Although the battery must be charged on as required even when the vehicle is not in use, there is no need to check and maintain the battery liquid.
How long does a motorcycle battery last?
Most conventional batteries have an average lifespan of 1.5 to 3 years when it is in regular use. However, it could last for up to 5 years if it is maintained and has its battery fluid checked regularly.
A Gel Acid battery has an average lifespan of 2.5 to 4 years when used regularly and may last for up to 6 years when maintained.
Similarly, an AGM battery has an average lifespan of 2.5 to 5 years when it is in regular use, and it could last for even up to 8 years if the battery is well-maintained and the machine looked after.
Can a battery die without it being used?
Yes, your motorcycle battery may die without you even using it! This is because a lot of batteries come with a shelf-life, especially sealed AGM batteries that are
A motorcycle battery will typically die after 3-4 months if the machine is not turned on. Turning on your engine is the most common technique for most motorcycle batteries to stay completely charged. As a result, if they don’t ride for a few months, their battery dies. Starting your motorcycle’s engine charges its battery; most new motorcycle batteries won’t last more than 4 months without this charging. However, sealed batteries have a longer shelf life and a slower self-discharge rate- the speed it discharges while not in use.
Factors that can affect the battery life
Other Factors, both avoidable and inevitable, play a significant role in the longevity of your motorcycle battery. Let’s look at these and figure out how long the motorcycle battery lasts in your specific use situation.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Extreme weather conditions such as very high temperatures in the summers or cold weather in the winters could negatively impact your motorcycle’s battery. In summers, try to park your motorcycle under a shade or in an airconditioned garage below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Park your motorcycle in a heated garage in winter and keep your motorcycle away from the cold.
Condition of Battery when not in use and how often the battery charges
It would help if you stored even the motorcycle battery similar to the manner described above. Extreme weather conditions can increase the self-discharge rate of the battery. Not using your motorcycle for a long time can also cause the battery to die faster. When the motorcycle is not used, the battery doesn’t charge, causing it to lose its power.
It is also possible that your motorcycle battery drains because you left it on the ignition without properly turning it off or because you left an auxiliary device connected to it without properly shutting off all connections that slowly depleted its power.
How can you increase the life of a Battery?
The best thing you can do for the bike is ride it regularly. You can increase the lifespan of your battery significantly by taking small steps to ensure it runs at its maximum capacity all year round.
Although you should try to ride your machine often and turn it on, if you know you will not be able to use your motorcycle for a few months, for example, if you are going on a holiday or if it is too cold outside to ride a motorcycle, then there are a couple of things you can do.
Firstly, you should always disconnect your battery from the motorcycle when it is not in use for longer periods, ensuring that the battery does not self-discharge. Make sure that the ignition is off when you remove the battery. Most batteries are located under the seat of the motorcycle, and you can remove the seat of the motorcycle to access the battery. You can remove the battery by removing the positive and negative cables attached to its terminals, and then you can easily remove the battery itself. Then you can store the battery under the condition mentioned above.
When storing the motorcycle battery itself, please store it in a cool place such as a temperature-controlled garage but protect it from very cold weather such as a barn. You can also use a battery maintainer to ensure that the power in the battery remains at an optimal level when it is not in use.
You may also invest in a trickle charger or a battery tender to charge your motorcycle’s battery over longer periods. For days you cannot take your motorcycle out, you may connect it to a trickle charger. It is best to disconnect the battery from the motorcycle when connected with the charger to protect other components from a sudden power surge. First, connect the trickle charger to a power source without connecting it to the battery, and set the battery’s values according to the requirement provided on the battery. Then while it is disconnected from the power source, remove the battery from the motorcycle and attach the charger’s positive terminals with the battery’s positive terminal and the negative terminal with the battery’s negative terminal and allow it to charge till it reaches your requirement. This process could take a few days.
What to do if you can’t start your motorcycle after hearing it ‘click.’
If you cannot start your motorcycle as it doesn’t start after ignition, then it is likely that your battery has drained out.
It is suggested that in such a situation, you connect your machine’s battery to a battery charger till it has changed completely. However, if you are in haste and cannot wait for the battery to be charged completely, you may “Jump-start” your vehicle. You can do this using a personal jump starter box that allows you to start your motorcycle or car battery without anyone’s help.
If you are not ready to make this investment, then you can jump-start your motorcycle battery using handy jump-start cables, just as you would jump-start a car with another car’s battery.
You take a jump-start cable, connect one set of terminals to a car battery, and then the other terminals to the motorcycle battery, starting with the red terminal. Then turn on the ignition and start your motorcycle, and it should fire up straight away!
Check on the health of your motorbike battery regularly and, as necessary, use the techniques mentioned above to extend the life of your battery.