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Proper Checking & Charging Motorcycle Batteries

Updated: Jul 4, 2019


Motorcycle batteries lose their charging power if they left unused for a time period just like all lead batteries.

Do you know how to check your battery if it is good or bad? Let’s first clear up the misconception that the power of motorcycle batteries gets leak just like the water.


A motorcycle battery is a lead acid battery in a plastic box having delicate balance of chemicals inside which interact with each other in order to produce electricity after applying load.

However, if your battery does not produce electricity then there are chances of chemical issues.

But how would you know that your battery is having any issue or it is bearing a good health or not? Or do you need to charge your battery or not? How you will charge your battery if required? We, at Siima MotoWear have discussed all your queries here.



1. Inspect the motorcycle battery

Sometimes giving a good look to your battery can tell you if your battery is good or bad. How? Inspect these few things

• Bulge or bump in the case of the battery

• Rupture or Crack of the plastic

• Broken terminal

• Excessive leaking of chemicals

• Any kind of discoloration

If there is any budge in the case but the battery is intact, then it is because of overcharging of the battery. Other signs of physical opening in the case are often caused by mishandling. However, any kind of cracks, holes and splits will not stop a battery to work but for safety such kind of batteries should be labelled as unsafe.


Loose or broken terminals of the battery are dangerous and can lead short circuit. There would be indication of melting or burning in case of short circuit. When short circuit occur all the power of the battery is unloaded instantly which produces a good amount of heat and sometimes the battery got explode.

Water level should be maintained in wet-cell batteries. If the level of water is low, then refill them with distilled water. However, if the water is dried for a long time then it would be a problem. Sulfation is build up when the plates of cell got exposed to oxygen. Sulfation is the number 1 cause of the primary failure of battery.

The dark or brownish fluid in the battery also indicates the bad health of the battery. It is time to replace your battery.

2. Take Voltage Reading

To determine the charging state, voltage of a battery is a good way. Take a look at the different voltage and the respective condition of the battery

• 0 volts, means battery might experience a short circuit.

• Do not reach higher than 10.5 volts on charging means the cell of the battery is dead

• Fully charged determined by the battery charger but voltage is less than or equal to 12.4, battery is sulfated.


3. The Load test of the battery

A local automotive shop can load test your battery but it is easy to do it at home. You just need a digital voltmeter. The battery must be charged fully to take accurate test.

• Access the terminals of the battery by removing the seat of the motorcycle and do not disconnect the battery because you have to start the bike

• Holds prongs of the voltmeter to the terminals of the battery correctly

• Push the start button and watch where the voltage drops.


A 12volt healthy motorcycle battery will maintain the range of 9.5 to 10.5 volts under 30 seconds load or 12.6 to 13.5 volts between terminals. If the battery begins to hold and drops the voltage, then there is a problem. If the voltage drops to 0 then there is also a problem. It is called the open cell. In new batteries it may be caused by sulfate crystal or manufacturing flaws.

When battery cools off then the pieces will touch hardly giving a complete connection. This would give you false reading of voltage. Batteries may read charged fully with open cells but under load they fail. If the battery reaches that point, then the best thing is to recycle the thing or simply replace the battery.


Now let’s charge the battery.

Depending upon the chemistry a fully charged 12-volt battery should measure 12.6 to 13.5 volts between the terminals.

• Remove the battery in a well ventilated area, and place it on the bench, then check the connection for any tears or corrosion.

• Remove the caps of the chamber and fill it with deionized or distilled water. Do not use tap water as it has chemicals which can harm your battery

• Connect the positive cable to the positive terminal and negative to the negative terminal of the battery.

• Plug the charger into the socket and turn on the switch. The charging time will depend upon the depletion of the battery. If the battery is depleted completely then charge the battery overnight.

• When battery is fully charged, turn off the charger. Disconnect your battery from the charger. Replace the caps into the fluid chamber and reconnect the battery to the motorcycle.

Any thoughts on the subject? Leave your comments below.


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