Motorcycle enthusiasts know that cruising down the highway on a two-wheeler can be quite a thrilling experience. Unfortunately, such activities can be carried out only when the weather makes it possible, so, for a few months, the bike should rest in a garage or a metal motorbike shed.
That doesn’t mean that it’s alright to just store your bike and check it when spring comes. The way you maintain it when it’s out of use is of great importance and counts just as much as regular maintenance does when you use the motorcycle.
What’s more, the way you store the motorcycle battery for winter will directly affect its performance when using it again. If you’re new to this and you don’t know how to store and maintain your bike battery when it gets cold and you no longer use your motorcycle, this post might be of interest as we have included a few tips to help you with that.
Safety measures to take before handling your motorcycle battery
Depending on the model you use, a motorcycle battery should last somewhere between 3 to 5 years. However, if not maintained properly, the battery won’t last that long and replacing it will thus be the only way to get your two-wheeler back on the road.
Getting a new battery every season surely means lots of money and that’s why maintaining the one you have gains even greater importance. Just like other components of your bike call for regular maintenance, so does the battery even if you don’t use the bike.
Before getting to the maintenance part itself, you need to take a few safety measures in order to avoid unwanted events. Always make sure the bike is turned off before handling the battery. Get quality protective gear including safety glasses and gloves since working with lead-acid batteries can be toxic.
Even if your bike has a lithium battery, it’s still better to wear protective gear. Plus, in case the battery you need to handle is leaking, complete your protective gear with pants and long-sleeved shirts. It is recommended to clean acid spills with water and baking soda in order to neutralize the acid.
Battery acid is dangerous and you should be extremely careful when working with it. If you want to carry out these tasks in your garage, make sure the place is well-ventilated and there are no pets or children around.
Storing the motorcycle battery for winter
The way you store your bike battery for the off-season has a lot to say as far as discharging is regarded. Once you’ve disconnected and removed the battery, store it in a place that is warmer than 32 °F to make sure it won’t freeze or crack. Still, it should not be warmer than 95 °F as it will discharge faster.
Plus, make sure the surface you put the battery on is non-heat conductive. Wood, plastic, and cardboard are good options as the battery will stay cool. Putting it on metal or a surface that is heat conductive will only make the battery discharge faster.
Regular motorcycle battery maintenance
All the components of your motorcycle are used for a purpose and they require specific maintenance to make sure they do their job flawlessly. The battery is no exception and calls for certain maintenance steps in order to provide you with the desired power and performance.
As we’ve said before, it is best to remove the battery of your motorcycle and place it on a level surface to make it easier to check it and have full access to it. Once you’ve done that, although it is not impossible or forbidden to maintain it while it’s attached to your bike, you should check the terminals.
In case there’s a white or blue substance forming around them, you should clean them as the battery leaks acid. As we’ve said before, make sure you wear the appropriate protective gear when handling such batteries as it can be harmful to you. Dissolve the acid with baking soda and water and use a toothbrush to remove the sediments or debris building up.
Cleaning the terminals and removing the acid that leaks will help you prevent corrosion. You can also use products that were specifically designed for such needs including anti-corrosion sprays when cleaning the battery.
Because regular maintenance means you will have to charge the battery even when you don’t use it for a long time, you will have to make sure that there are no loose connections in order for the battery to charge properly and fully. You can also grease the connectors to prevent them from corroding or the battery from discharging.
If water gets inside the battery casing, the metal connectors might rust; therefore, it is very important to check the battery for any leaks and deal with them immediately. Leaving water inside the casing won’t just damage the connectors but also the battery itself, which may then stop the engine from starting up.
Winter maintenance for motorcycle batteries
A motorcycle battery needs regular maintenance whether you use it or not. Many people tend to think that if the bike and, thus, the battery are not used, there shouldn’t be much to do about the battery but things don’t go that way.
As your battery sits in the garage, it discharges. Letting your battery exhaust completely will affect its lifespan as well as the performance of your bike. Maintaining it during the cold season when your bike is out of use is nothing complicated. There are a few simple things you need to do yet the key thing here is to take care of them regularly – preferably, on a monthly basis.
You first need to check the battery case, clamps, and cables to see if there’s any damage or loose connection. Check the exhaust tube for kinks or clogs as well as the inside for sediments or sulfation.
A pulse charge will show you when the battery is fully charged yet if you don’t have such a tool to help you, you can use a voltmeter or a hydrometer to test out the performance of the battery. What’s great about voltmeters is that they can test even sealed batteries. Hydrometers measure electrolyte gravity, which will let you know about the charge level of your battery.
A battery will charge and discharge. Keeping it charged even when your bike is stored for the cold season will prolong its lifespan. Just make sure that you charge it properly and fully. It is best not to use a car charger to do that, though, as the battery may end up getting more current than it can handle.
Some smart bike battery chargers come with superior features that will activate charging whenever needed while preventing overcharging. Getting such a battery charger proves to be a good investment as it will keep the battery in a good condition for longer.
Not charging your battery during periods of 0 rides will deteriorate it. Therefore, turn cleaning, charging, and keeping the battery secured into a routine in order to prolong its lifespan.