Can You Jump Start A Motorcycle?
A motorcycle is fun to drive and a great way to get around town. People who love their bike enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes from having the wind in their hair as they wind their way through the streets. The only problem is what can you do if your hog won’t start. A dead battery can put a real damper on your day, especially if you are stuck somewhere that is inconvenient or need to get to an appointment.
If you have a dead battery in your motorcycle what options do you have? Can it be jumped, like a car? How should you jump the battery in your motorcycle? This article takes a look at what you can do (and what you should not do).
How can you tell if the battery is dead?
Often there are warning signs that your battery is running out of juice, before it is actually dead. The key is to know what those signs are so you can take steps to charge or change your battery before it is too late.
1. Check the horn
A great way to check the state of your motorcycle’s battery is by using the horn. A normal battery will allow the horn to sound healthy. If your battery is losing power, the horn may have a different sound to it. The pitch and the intensity will be off, or lower than it normally sounds.
2. There is a decline in performance
Another sign that points to a dying battery is a decline in your bike’s overall performance. You know how your bike feels on the road. Anytime you notice that it is not as responsive or slower to respond, check out the batteries. This is an indication that the battery of your motorcycle is on its last legs.
3. Dim lights
If the lights on the dash or the headlights seem dim or are dimming, you can bet that the battery is at fault. It is important that you check your battery if you notice the lights on your motorcycle are dimming.
How can you check the battery?
Once you are pretty sure the battery is dying, you should check. This will allow you to rule out any other mechanical or electrical problems that may be going on with your motorcycle. It is easy to check the battery with a few tools and some simple steps.
1. Use a voltmeter
Take a voltmeter and make sure it is set to DC. Connect the positive and negative leads to the battery terminal. And then you can get a reading to see how much juice, if any, is left in the battery.
2. Read the results
A good voltage reading will depend on the type of battery you have. If your motorcycle uses a 12-volt battery, a full charge should be about 12.66 volts. A battery that is 75% will read at 12.45 volts. If your reading is lower than that, your battery is dying and will not be able to start your motorcycle.
3. Replace or recharge
If your battery is completely dead, it needs to be replaced. However, if there is some juice left, you can recharge the battery by jumping it.
How do I jumpstart my motorcycle?
There are four different ways to try and jumpstart your motorcycle. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
1.Use another motorcycle
- Turn both bikes off and leave them in neutral
- Locate the battery terminal on both bikes
- Connect jumper cables-connect the positive end on the dead battery and then attach to positive end on good battery.
- Attach the negative end of the cable to the good battery and the other end onto a bare metal surface of the other bike
- Start the working bike and let it warmup for a bit
- Start the dead bike and when it catches, let it run for a few minutes
- Disconnect the jumper cables
- Keep the bike running for 15-30 minutes to allow the battery time to recharge
2.Use a portable starter
- Make sure both the bike and the starter are off
- Attach the positive cable from the starter to the dead battery
- Attach the negative cable from the starter to a bare metal surface
- Turn the portable starter on
- Start up your bike. It may take a few times since a portable starter is designed to give short bursts of power
- Disconnect the cables
- Keep your bike running for 15-30 minutes to charge the battery
3. Push Start your bike
- Find a flat stretch of road
- Put your bike in neutral
- Pull in the clutch and roll or push your bike to get it to at least 5mph
- Release the clutch and hit the gas
- Shift into 2nd and continue riding for 15-30 minutes to charge the bike
4. You can use a car
Using a car to jumpstart a motorcycle should be a last resort method. A car’s battery is more powerful than a bike and you risk causing severe damage to your bike’s system.
- Both the car and the bike must be off
- Connect the positive cables
- Attach the negative cable to the car battery
- Connect the other negative end to a bare metal surface
- With the car still off, trying starting your bike
- If it doesn’t start, wait a few minutes and try again
- Once started, remove the cables in reverse order
- Ride your bike for 15-30 minutes to charge the battery
Once you have jumped your motorcycle’s battery successfully, be sure to drive it around for 15-30 minutes. This will charge up the battery. Be sure to put back any equipment you have used so that you have them handy for future use.
It is very possible to jumpstart your motorcycle. In fact, you can even do it without jumper cables if needed. However, once you have started your bike and ridden around for a bit, it makes good sense to purchase a new battery so you will not be stranded again.