Troubleshooting Motorcycle Battery Problems

We're willing to bet every motorcyclist has been there at least once: You get set for a ride, you go to start the bike and then ... nothing. That silence can put a damper on your riding hopes for the day. However, with a little time and a couple of tools, you might be able to solve the problem. 

Troubleshooting motorcycle battery problems can help you figure out whether you need to replace the battery or just attach it to a battery charger for a while. Here's what to do when it's time to check your motorcycle's battery.

Buy digital multimeter

Buy battery tender

Diagnosing Motorcycle Battery Problems

The first thing you'll need to do is test the battery. A multimeter can tell the tale, and a good battery should get a reading of about 12.8 or 12.9 volts. If the battery is in poor health, you might see a voltage reading of under 12 while testing it. 

Motorcycle battery testing voltmeter

Every now and then you'll get a battery that is a bit of a "tweener." In other words, it doesn't have the 12.8 or 12.9 voltage that we want, but it's not under 12 either. Here's an idea: With the voltmeter connected, try to turn over the engine and see what the reading shows. If starting the motorcycle pulls the battery down to the 2 volts range, then your battery might be as good as done. 

How to test a motorcycle battery

Testing the Health of Your Motorcycle Battery

If your home battery testing doesn't produce the results you wanted, disconnect the battery (negative post first, then positive) and take it to a dealership. Your battery is probably tapped out if you got lower than average voltage readings. However, dealerships do have special testers for checking battery health that can be set to the specifications of individual batteries, so it's worth a shot to get a second diagnosis. The dealership's battery tester may provide a different diagnosis than your own to determine whether the battery can be charged, or if your battery's voltage (and your luck) has run out!

Motorcycle battery troubleshooting diagnostics

Motorcycle Charging System

If your motorcycle's battery is declared (no pun intended) terminally ill or dead after testing it both at home and at the dealership, we don't need to tell you that it needs to be replaced. However, if you're still having problems starting up your motorcycle after replacing the battery or recharging it, the problem might lie in your motorcycle's charging system. If that's the case, we recommend watching the video below on how to test a motorcycle charging system:




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