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How do you maintain your motorcycle’s battery in wintertime?

Did you look outside yet? It rains a lot lately. And the sun is hiding behind clouds. Temperatures drop more and more. Autumn knocks on our door. And we have to surrender to the fact that winter will follow. So many of us prepare the bike for the winter stop. First up; the battery. How do you maintain your motorcycle’s battery in wintertime?

Many motorcyclists stop riding when the rainy days start to show up. So we get our bikes ready for wintertime and their months of rest in the garage. The battery is one of the parts that requires some attention. All so you won’t be surprised – in a bad way – when spring arrives again. Let us tell you all about motorcycle battery maintenance in wintertime.

Table of contents:
How a motorcycle battery works
Why a motorcycle battery requires attention in wintertime
How you help your battery survive wintertime
What you should not do with your battery

HOW A MOTORCYCLE BATTERY WORKs

+ and -

The battery is what gives the bike its electrical power. Simply put. There are two terminals in a motorcycle battery. One terminal is marked with + and the other one with the – sign. The lead plate of the + terminal is coated with lead oxide. The – terminale contains a plate of pure lead. Due to sulphuric acid solution and the chemical reaction it causes, a voltage difference is created. This way, the battery provides the bike with electrical power when they are connected.

LEAD SULPHATE

AND LEAD OXIDE

When you start your bike, you discharge the battery. The concentration of sulphuric acid decreases and the  layer of lead oxide converts to lead sulphate. The latter does not conduct and reduces the battery’s performance. Therefore it is important to charge your battery. This prevents the lead sulphate from clumping or hardening. By charging your battery, the lead sulphate is converted into lead oxide and the battery retains its performance.

WHY A MOTORCYCLE BATTERY REQUIRES ATTENTION

IN WINTERTIME

When you ride a lot, the battery will maintain itself. Not fully, because your battery wears out over time. And at some point you still need to replace it. But a motorcycle battery that sits idle slowly discharges. This does not happen overnight, but it definitely will when it stands still for several weeks or months.

The cold during wintertime accelerates this process. So no happy battery. The cold increases the resistance in the battery, reducing its capacity. Do you keep your motorcycle in your living room in wintertime? Then that helps your battery a bit, but even then the battery will slowly run out. That’s why motorcycle battery maintenance in wintertime is important.

motoraccu onderhoud in de winter / motorcycle battery maintenance in winter

HOW YOU HELP YOUR BATTERY SURVIVE WINTERTIME

GET A TRICKLE CHARGER

You can charge your motorcycle battery by putting it on the trickle charger in wintertime. Or basically any time you put your bike away for a long period of time. This is not the same as a standard battery charger. A normal charger charges the battery to 100% as quickly as possible. A trickle charger charges the battery in a pulsating manner. And it charges to just below 100%. This prevents overcharging your battery.

Do you store your bike in a cold garage? Then it may do your battery good to get it out of your bike and put it on the trickle charger inside the house. This way, you don’t have to put the whole bike in the living room or kitchen and you do keep a happy battery. But you could also take the gamble of putting it on the charger in the cold garage. A battery is not made of sugar, so it can take a bit of a beating.

WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO WITH YOUR BATTERY

GREAT IDEA, BUT NO

Occasionally starting your motorcycle during wintertime can help your battery through winter, but I still would not recommend you to do that. Your battery will be happy, but your engine will not. At least, not if you don’t let it get to a proper temperature. And thus run it for a while, rev it a bit or take it for a spin etc. Starting the engine and not getting it warmed up can cause condensation. This can remain in the engine, which your engine won’t be thankful for. In that case, opt for a dead battery rather than damage to your engine. 

Fully discharging your battery and then fully charging it again is also not the best idea. The battery will wear out faster.

CONCLUSION

Getting your motorbike battery through the winter is not that difficult. Maintaining your battery in wintertime is done with a trickle charger. It charges your battery gradually, keeping its capacity almost the same. So when spring comes, you can jump back on the bike and it will start right away (fingers crossed!). You can leave the battery in the bike or take it out and put it on the trickle charger inside the house. Starting your bike occasionally just to keep your battery alive is not a great idea.

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