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How to Know When a Motorcycle Battery Is Going Dead

Updated February 21, 2017

All motorcycle batteries need recharging after use, and the constant fill and drain of the batteries wear down the units. A battery is essential to a motorcycle's operation. The battery powers an electric start system, and therefore a dead battery will prevent the rider from using the motorcycle. This could be especially worrisome if the dead battery strands the rider on a remote road. Fortunately, there are several signs that motorcycle battery maintenance is needed so that you can replace the battery well in advance.

Attach a voltmeter to the battery and test its charge. If the reading is low and does not improve after the battery is charged, it is a sign that the battery is dying.

Observe how your motorcycle starts. If it is slow to start or clicks before the engine comes to life, the motorcycle battery is probably going dead.

Honk the bike's horn. A weak horn is a sure sign that the battery will soon expire.

Monitor the motorcycle's light functions. Dim and flickering lights both indicate the battery could soon die.

Tip

Many motorcycle batteries die after around three years, so take the part's age into account when judging whether the battery is dying. Follow the owner's manual instructions on testing a battery's charge to avoid causing damage to the bike or harming the tester.

Warning

Never attempt to test a battery's charge on a motorcycle that is running or has not cooled down completely.

Things You'll Need

  • Voltmeter
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About the Author

Tallulah Philange has worked as a journalist since 2003. Her work has appeared in the "Princeton (N.J.) Packet," "Destinations" magazine and in higher education publications. She also has edited and produced online content for those publications. Philange holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from American University and a Master of Arts in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University.