A battery is something you will inevitably have to replace in your motorcycle in due time.
There is no way around it.
Yet, I will give you some tips to extend your battery lifespan.
But how long do motorcycles batteries last to begin with?
How Long Does a Motorcycle Battery Will Last You?
On average, a motorcycle battery will last between 2 to 5 years. Frequent motorcycle start-ups, not being recharged for a long time, deep discharges, and cold temperatures reduce a battery lifespan.
Under proper care, a battery could very well last you longer than average…
Or you could abuse and fry it before its first birthday.
Take your pick.
Anyways, let learn what you can do to kill your battery in record times but more specifically… how to avoid it.
Why Do Motorcycle Batteries Die so Fast and How to Avoid It?
A smaller battery can accidentally be drained much quicker than a larger battery. As such, Motorcycle batteries are more vulnerable to failure due to discharge because of their small size.
The best way to make a motorcycle battery last longer is to maintain it at full charge at all times.
Motorcycle batteries discharge on their own over time, meaning they ”empty” themselves even if they are not plugged or linked to anything…
And If you leave them with less than their maximum charge capacity, it will hurt them and reduce their lifespan over time.
That means that a motorcycle battery that is not ”Full”, at all times, will degrade and go ”bad” more quickly.
The number one way to kill your battery is to drain it.
The longer a battery is in a ”drained” state, the worse it will get.
How Discharge Will Affect Your Motorcycle Battery Lifespan
Having around 98-97% charge won’t hurt a battery that much.
It is like letting your motorcycle sit for 2-3 days in your driveway.
It is not a big deal.
But the more depleted a battery is, the worse it gets.
Going Below 50% Charge for A Lead-Acid Motorcycle Battery Is Really Bad for Its Health.
It is also known as Deep-discharge.
As a rule of thumb, motorcycle batteries lose more or less 10% capacity every month by self-discharge.
The older your battery is, the quicker it loses charge.
So, going to sleep for too long in storage can sometimes be a death sentence for your battery, and you won’t be able to resurrect it.
That is also why shutting down your engine but accidentally leaving your bike’s headlight on is such a bad thing.
It will drain your battery a LOT and could very well ”Kill” it on the spot given enough time,
A battery that reaches absolute zero power cannot be brought back to life, no matter if it is brand new or not.
At that point, your little battery is dead. R.I.P.
Why Do Motorcycle Batteries Die so Quickly?
Speaking of ”little”, that is the big reason motorcycle batteries die more quickly than bigger batteries in cars.
Smaller battery = less capacity = easier to drain = easier to kill.
So let learn what can cause your battery to go ”bad” and what you can do to extend its life.
How to Counter A Motorcycle Battery Self Discharge So It Last Longer.
Batteries will discharge and ”empty themselves” over time on their own.
And a discharged battery will go bad more quickly.
So to keep your battery in good health for as long as possible, you need to keep it topped up.
And that means…
Ride as Often as You Can!
When riding, your motorcycle stator (alternator) will recharge your battery and make it last longer.
But…Here is a thing to remember;
A Stator Doesn’t Recharge a Motorcycle Battery as Fast as People Think They Do.
Stators in motorcycles are weaker than their counterpart car version (alternator).
It can take a long time to fully recharge a motorcycle battery by simply riding your bike.
Plus, the electrical output of a motorcycle stator is dependant on the motorcycle engine speed – RPM.
The More RPM = Faster Stator = More Electrical Output = Faster Battery Recharge.
So going for a ride at highway speeds will recharge your battery much more quickly than letting your bike idle in your driveway.
As a rule of thumb, 5 minutes of riding will recharge 0.5 to 1.5 % of your battery.
So if your bike sat for a month, your battery lost 10-20% charge, go ride for 1 to 3 hours to be on the safe side.
Starting up your bike and letting it idle is not an effective way to recharge your battery.
Even worse, some people only let the bike run for a short time, such as 5 to 10 minutes, then turn it off.
In that timeframe, your battery might have used more power to start up the motorcycle than what the stator was able to recharge.
It means you drained your battery even further…
Thinking you recharged it.
Use a Battery Tender, or Trickle Charger.
If you ride every 1 to 3 days with reasonable riding time, it is fine, don’t worry about electrical discharge.
But, If you can’t ride for longer than a week for some reason, keep your battery on a battery tender or trickle charger.
It will counteract the self-discharge, increasing the lifespan of your battery.
It is something I strongly recommend you use if your motorcycle battery sit for longer than a month.
A Battery Tender or trickle charger is roughly the same thing.
It is a device you connect to your battery that slowly and safely refills its electrical capacity.
Some of these battery tenders are even ”intelligent”.
It means that when linked to your battery, your intelligent charger will know if your battery needs power to recharge and when it doesn’t need it.
The device will adjust the recharge accordingly as your battery self-discharge.
In short, it is a battery babysitter.
They are great tools to have around.
You can get my recommended motorcycle battery tender by Clicking here.
Keep Your Battery Cozy to Make It Last Longer
Any battery does not like to be cold.
Chilly temperature reduces a battery voltage and will shorten its life in the long run.
Stores your motorcycle in a warmer place like a heated garage kept at a decent ”room temperature”.
Your other option is to disconnect your battery and take it out of your motorcycle to store it somewhere warmer.
When winter comes, I usually store my motorcycle in a friend storage unit and take out the battery to keep it in my apartment.
Even if stored in a cozy place, if your battery sits for some time, get a trickle charger or tender to keep your battery in good health.
Inspect Your Battery Terminal For Corrosion
Corrosion on a battery terminal reduces and compromises a battery capacity to be recharged and to deliver energy.
Because corrosion is a lousy conductor it makes it harder for electricity to go back and forth.
Over time it will ”stress” a battery and reduce its lifespan.
Battery terminal corrosion is easy to remove with water and baking soda.
So if you want your battery to have a long and happy life, you know what to get rid of.
Make Sure Your Battery Do Not Have Parasites
Yes, I admit I was very confused when I first heard of ”battery Parasite”.
You should have seen my face XD.
No, it does not imply that your battery has worms or mushrooms.
A battery parasite is something in the electrical system of your motorcycle that is draining your battery when it should not.
With a motorcycle, this is usually something electronic that was added to the bike that will be the parasitic cause.
Think of a phone charger in a motorcycle that stays on and feasts on the battery power even when the bike is turned off.
That is a battery parasite, and It drains your battery and shortens its lifespan.
To know if your battery got parasites, you will need to test your battery
You will need to test both when your battery is plugged in and unplugged from your motorcycle and check the voltage rating between the two.
If the voltage rating is lower when your battery is installed in your bike, there probably are parasites somewhere.
When to Replace a Motorcycle Battery
A motorcycle battery will be due for replacement when a voltmeter reads 12.05 volts or lower on a resting battery and under 9.0 volts on a battery under load. A motorcycle battery will last between 2 to 5 years before reaching that point.
It could happen sooner or later than 2 to 5 years.
It depends on how well the battery was taken care of.
You will need a Voltmeter or Multireader to read and test your battery voltage.
You can get my recommended Voltmeter / Multimeter by Clicking Here.
When a battery reaches 12.05 volts of maximum charge, it usually means that the battery is close to retirement.
You will then need to test your battery in a ”under load” state.
It means reading the battery voltage ”strength” when the battery works to turn a motorcycle’s electric starter.
9 to 8.5Volts or lower mean a battery is starting to have trouble, and a motorcycle starter will sound ”lower pitch” and sluggish when pressing a bike ignition.
How Do I Know if My Motorcycle Battery Is Bad? How do I Test It?
You will need a tool called a voltmeter or multimeter to perform a battery test.
It is a device that will read the electrical power of a battery and let you know if it is still in good health or your battery is bad.
I recommend that you test your battery at least twice a year at the beginning and end of your riding season.
Think of it as your battery going for a medical exam to check its health status.
If you don’t know how to test your battery, fear not.
I Have a complete tutorial for you to browse about the subject
You can find the tutorial by Clicking here.
Final Word on How Long Will Your Motorcycle Battery Last
- Ride often
- Keeps your battery warm
- Plugs it to a battery tenter charger when not in use.
Do this, and your motorcycle battery will last a long time. Simple
I hope you learned something you consider helpful, and I adequately answered your questions.
Take care of your battery, take care of yourself, and ride safe.