Motorcycle batteries are notorious for losing their charge. The batteries in Harley Davidsons are at times subjected to high operating temperatures under normal riding conditions. Conversely, motorcycles may remain unused for months at a time during colder months. These extremes, coupled with the smaller size of motorcycle batteries, can cause them lose their charge. Fortunately, batteries are relatively easy to charge.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Battery charger
- Motorcycle tool kit
- Shop towels
- Safety goggles
Move your motorcycle onto a level surface and ensure that it is stable. Turn off the motorcycle and ensure that the Off/Run switch is in the "Off" position. Put on your safety goggles.
Gain access to the battery compartment by removing the passenger and rider's seats. Remove the bolt behind the passenger seat and separate the seat from the motorcycle. Then remove the two bolts behind the rider's seat and gently pull the seat backwards to unseat it from the mount and away from the motorcycle. On newer models these bolts are designed to be removed with your fingers although, depending on the bike and options, you may need to use an open-ended box wrench or a socket wrench.
Disconnect the negative battery cable and wrap it with a shop towel. Repeat this procedure with the positive cable. Disconnect any straps or clamps holding the battery in place and carefully remove the battery from the battery box.
Consult the labelling on your battery and in your owner's manual to determine the electrical specifications of the battery. Adjust the settings on the battery charger to match the specifications of the battery. Connect the battery to the charger and plug the charger into a standard outlet in accordance with the instructions included with the charger.
Reinstall the battery after it is charged. Then replace the seats in the reverse order of removal.
Keep in mind that batteries do wear out over time. If you have completed the described procedures, and the battery still does not charge or hold a charge, it may be time to replace it.
Tips and warnings
- Simply running your motorcycle should charge the battery. If the motorcycle can start, this may be your fastest option. If running your motorcycle does not charge the battery, there may be a problem with the motorcycle's electrical system or the battery itself.
- Battery tenders, available at most auto parts stores and motorcycle shops, are a great way to maintain the battery and keep it charged.
- These instructions are based on a Harley Davidson Softail motorcycle and are generally applicable to all motorcycles, but specific procedures will vary from motorcycle to motorcycle.
- Overcharging a battery can result in serious damage to the battery and may even result in an explosion. Know the charging specifications of your battery before attempting to charge it.
- Accidentally connecting battery cables to the wrong battery post may result in damage to your motorcycle and cause personal injury.
- Batteries contain acid which can burn skin, cause blindness and be fatal if ingested. If the battery's housing is cracked, use caution and dispose of it properly.
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