Replacing a motorcycle battery by yourself isn’t a difficult task and does not require specialized tools that are hard to use. All you need is a proper spanner and the bike’s user manual. Here is what you need to do once you have acquired your new battery.
- The service manual
- Access the battery
- Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal
- Disconnect the cable from the positive terminal
- Remove the old battery
- Install the charged battery
- Test the battery
- How to install a new battery on a Harley
- How to install a new battery on a Yamaha
- Replacing the battery on a Yamaha cruiser
- Replacing the battery on a Yamaha street bike
- What to know about battery replacement if you’re not a mechanic
The service manual
Although many of us like to think that mechanical maintenance routines around our bikes are easy to perform, the truth remains that every bike is different. Therefore, what you saw in a YouTube tutorial or what you heard from a friend may not apply to the brand or the motorcycle model you own. The first thing you must do is to read the factory service manual of your bike.
It will surely help you tremendously, especially if you are doing something for the first time on your bike. Otherwise, you may spend hours trying to figure out solutions to what is, in fact, a trivial problem. The manual always provides exact information regarding your motorcycle and it’s the best source of information you have.
Access the battery
Batteries can be located in countless places on motorcycles. Depending on the model, you may find them under the seat, under the fuel tank, inside the upper right fairing, hanging to one side or the other, under the bike, etc. On custom motorcycles, builders get even more creative, placing the battery even more discreetly.
This only strengthens the previous argument regarding the service manual. Reading it, you will find out the location on your model. However, the most common places where manufacturers place the battery is under the seat, under the fuel tank or behind the side covers. Therefore, these are the items you must disassemble most of the times and put aside in order to reach your battery.
Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal
Once you see the battery, identify its positive terminal and its negative terminal. These are marked with “+” and “-” signs accordingly. Usually, the cable connected to the positive terminal is red and the cable connected to the negative terminal is black.
If you remove the negative cable first, as recommended, you lower the risk of causing a short circuit and grounding out the battery, because if you touch this cable to other grounded components, nothing will happen. On the other hand, if you start by the disconnecting the positive terminal first, you have to be more careful.
Many bike manufacturers use the frame as the ground in their electrical system, so if you accidentally touch the positive cable to the frame while the negative cable is still attached to the battery, in the best case scenario you will blow a fuse and burn yourself. If the fuses are not installed properly you may even start a fire.
After removing the negative cable from the battery, place it away from the terminal to prevent the circuit from being completed again. Also, you have to be careful not to touch it to the positive terminal, as this, too, causes a short circuit. Keep in mind that metal tools, such as spanners, may bridge the gap between terminals as well, thus grounding out the battery. As you move on to work on other tasks, you can use duct tape to temporarily keep the disconnected cable in one place.
Disconnect the cable from the positive terminal
Now that the circuit has been interrupted, you may proceed in removing the positive cable. This is often red and leads to the positive battery terminal, always marked with a “+” sign. It is now safe if you touch it to the frame or other components, as you have previously removed the negative cable and the circuit is not closed anymore.
Remove the old battery
The battery can be attached to the bike using a metal piece, a rubber strap or some foam padding that keeps it snugly placed inside a plastic housing. Depending on the motorcycle’s model, disassemble or remove the above-mentioned parts and gently pull out the battery.
Take care when removing the battery as some models feature hollow terminals. This means that there is a space which houses the nuts that hold the cables tight together with bolts that thread through. If you tilt the battery the wrong way you risk dropping those nuts into hard to reach places and it may take you hours to retrieve them.
Install the charged battery
Make sure your new battery is the same size and has enough power for your bike. Inspect the terminals and make sure they are not reversed. If you have to refill it with acid, do so before mounting it, to prevent acid spills on the bike. Be prepared to treat chemical injuries. Acid burns can be treated with bases such as baking soda or soapy water, which neutralize the burn.
If your new battery has a different footprint than the old one, you have to improvise an additional casing made out of foam or rubber. This will prevent the battery from moving or vibrating. After placing the new battery in its place, attach the cables to the corresponding terminals. If you see white or blue powder on the terminals brush it off with a wire brush.
Test the battery
Before reassembling the motorcycle’s components back together, you should test the battery. Flip the key and see if your dash lights up. If it does, then you have successfully reinstalled your battery. If it doesn’t, you still have work to do.
Check the terminal connections and make sure they are tight. Also, verify that the positive and negative cables go to the corresponding terminals and not vice versa. If they are reversed, at least a fuse will have to be replaced at best.
Finally, reassemble all the parts you took off the bike at the beginning and dispose of your old battery by recycling it.
How to install a new battery on a Harley
No matter how superior the craftsmanship of a Harley is, it still needs a battery replacement once in a while. First of all, you will need to know the Harley Davidson battery location in the particular case of your bike. Usually, that’s right under the seat of your motorcycle. One thing to remember is that this process is not complex and doesn’t require you to take your bike to a repair shop.
To replace Harley battery options that are lithium-ion, you need to ensure that you have to correct battery tender at your disposal, as these are different from those used for lead-acid batteries. The first step is to remove the seat to gain access to your battery. Then you must take out the engine control module and unscrew any parts that keep the battery in place.
Next, you will have to deal with the protective plate. While Harley bikes can differ slightly from one model to another, they have these parts in common. Make sure you have the necessary equipment at your disposal to unscrew the parts you have to remove until you reach the battery.
Unplug the motorcycle battery terminal connectors so that you can free it from its housing. Make sure to start with the negative side and do the same with the positive. In most cases, you should notice a strap on the side that helps you pull out the battery without any headaches. Don’t forget to keep the motorcycle battery terminal bolts somewhere you won’t run the risk of losing them.
After the old battery is removed, you only need to bring the new one and follow the steps described, but in reverse. This process is fast and easy, and you don’t require specialized help for it.
How to install a new battery on a Yamaha
Just like it happens with Harleys, the Yamaha R6 battery location is under the seat. This setup is the most convenient because it provides proper protection for your battery, and you won’t have to worry about it getting damaged by accident. If you want to know how to install a battery on your Yamaha bike, this short guide will help you figure it out without visiting a repair shop and paying a lot of money.
You will find here two guides, one for cruiser models and one for Yamaha street bikes. While the differences are not fundamental, it is a good idea to know exactly what you should do to replace the battery on your Yamaha with zero headaches.
Replacing the battery on a Yamaha cruiser
First, remove the seat so that you can gain access to the battery compartment. To do so, turn the key to reach the on position and keep it that way until you manage to lift the seat. Take out the protective plastic plate that sits on top of the compartment holding the battery.
The next step is to detach the terminal cables you will notice on top of the bike battery. Start with the negative cable and cover it with some electrical tape. Do the same with the positive cable. While you lift the battery from its compartment, avoid touching the terminals to other metal parts.
In the motorcycle battery mount, place the new one and proceed to connect the terminals, first the positive and then the negative. After connecting motorcycle battery terminals as indicated, you should just place back the protective plate and the seat, and your bike is good to go.
Replacing the battery on a Yamaha street bike
Working on a street bike to replace the battery is not complicated either. First, remove the seat and use the key to unlock it. Notice the anchor bolts placed on the sides of the fuel tank, and unscrew them with an Allen wrench. The battery compartment is under the fuel tank, and that’s you will reveal when lifting it.
As you can see, in this case, the process is slightly different, and you should have the means to hold the fuel tank aside while replacing the battery. Enlisting a friend’s help would be ideal. The rest of the steps are similar, as you will have to remove first the negative cable and then the positive one.
Remove the old battery and place the new one in its stead. Now connect the terminals back in place and screw back in the fuel tank. Remember to tighten the bolts to avoid any rattling during riding.
What to know about battery replacement if you’re not a mechanic
Learning how to disconnect motorcycle battery versions, both lithium-ion and lead-acid, is not very difficult. Any mechanic can tell you that installing motorcycle battery is not rocket science, and you could do it without specialized help. To make it work well, you need some answers first.
Where is the battery on a motorcycle? This is the first question you should know the answer for. Usually, it is placed under the seat, but there are variations in regards to what you will find on top of the battery. Motorcycle battery lead-acid versions are many a bit more challenging to manipulate, as they are heavier.
Take your time to study the motorcycle battery connectors. You will need to follow the steps indicated by online tutorials to the letter. That’s why having the right motorcycle battery hardware close by is essential. Things such as motorcycle battery post adapters and a motorcycle battery vent tube are necessary for some models.
Another thing you should bear in mind is the order for disconnecting each motorcycle battery cable. You need to start with the negative and then remove the positive side. It is essential that the terminals don’t touch any metal part, or short-circuits might occur. Using a motorcycle battery ground wire to avoid this problem is an option.
It is always a good idea to employ good battery maintenance if you don’t want to replace it too often. A well-maintained battery can last for up to 5 years.