Even the best car batteries and motorcycle batteries have a limited lifetime. Despite quality care and routine maintenance, your motorcycle battery can only last for a few years. The average lifetime is about four years, but you may experience performance issues before that time. It’s recommended that you replace this component every two to five years. Find out how to care for your battery and warning signs that it may be time to order a new one.
Signs of Worn Motorcycle Batteries
Some warning signs of failing powersports batteries are obvious, while others are more subtle. Here are some key signs that it’s time to order a new component to power your bike’s electrical system:
- Fading electrical systems, such as headlights and horn
- Failure to hold a charge
- No ignition
- Poor readings from a voltmeter
- Visible bulging, leaking or cracking
- Corrosion or damage around the battery terminals
Fading electrical systems point to a failing battery. Some modern batteries offer a full charge for their entire lifetime, which means you won’t notice any reduced performance. Other batteries exhibit reduced electrical power, which means your horn, radio or headlights may have decreased power.
Use a voltmeter to check your battery if it fails to hold a charge. This warning sign could be due to a dying battery, or it could be caused by a compromised alternator. If the alternator is at fault, even a new battery will fail to hold a charge.
Many motorcycle batteries use hazardous internal materials. This means that a leaking battery can be a hazard to your health and to the environment. Use extreme caution when removing a damaged battery and take it immediately to a local recycling center or auto parts store. Bulging and cracking are signs your battery is about to crack or is being overcharged, both of which mean it’s near the end of its life.
Corrosion could be caused by moisture issues, or it could be a sign that your battery is about to die. Remove the battery cables and carefully scrub the corrosion away using a baking soda and water solution. Use care, as corrosion can cause burns. Once the material is fully removed and the cables are dry, replace them in the correct order to see if this restores your battery.
Finally, the most obvious sign that it’s time for a new battery is a failure to power your ignition. While this could be caused by an ignition system issue, the battery is the most likely failure in this system. Check out your motorcycle starter, alternator and other components if a new battery doesn’t solve this issue.
How To Care For Your New Motorcycle Battery
Now that you know how to tell if your battery is dead, it’s time to shop for a new one. Order a replacement battery online or at your local auto parts store to prepare for your next motorcycle ride. Care for your new battery by storing it away from high moisture, low-temperature environments. Disconnect your battery if you’re not planning on driving your motorcycle for two months or more, and consider purchasing a battery charger to keep it maintained.