Monday, February 2, 2015

How do I replace my motorcycle battery?

If you own a motorcycle for a significant amount of time, chances are that you will need to replace its battery. This article is for general knowledge. We always suggest following the procedure in a Repair Manual specific to your motorcycle.

Remove your old battery:
  1. Remove your seat or covers to expose your battery.
  2. Disconnect your negative terminal first from the old battery. Move the cable away from the battery to avoid any accidental contact when proceeding. Use the proper sized socket to remove the bolt, do not use a screwdriver that will strip the hardware. Removing the negative terminal first will help to avoid accidentally shorting a tool to ground.
  3. Remove the battery hold down strap or bracket. Be careful not to short to the battery terminals.
  4. Disconnect your positive terminal from the old battery.
  5. Remove the old battery carefully. Be careful not to short the battery terminals to any part of the chassis.
Install your new battery:
  1. Charge your new battery using the proper battery charger for the type of battery required for your motorcycle. Proper initial charging will prolong the life of your battery. Follow the battery manufacturer's specification of full charge and charging rates. For more information read our article on motorcycle batteries.
  2. Inspect the battery tray on your motorcycle for any damage and replace as necessary.
  3. Inspect your ground and positive wires for any damage and replace as necessary.
  4. Any corrosion on positive and negative wire connectors should be cleaned. Wiping the connectors or use of a brass wire brush should do the trick.
  5. Place your new battery into the battery tray and secure with the hold down strap or bracket. Be sure that your battery is facing the correct direction and that the terminals do not come in contact with the chassis.
  6. Connect the positive terminal and torque to the manufacturer's specifications. Use a small amount of Blue Loctite or other threadlocker that will keep your terminal tight but will allow removal without the use of heat. The proper torque is typically in the 60-96 in-lb range (INCH POUNDS, NOT FOOT POUNDS).
  7. Connect the negative terminal using the same Blue Loctite and 60-96 in-lb torque.
  8. Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the terminals to prevent any corrosion or decomposition of the battery terminals.
  9. Inspect your work.
  10. Start your motorcycle and check that your battery is charging properly. We have an article on checking your charging system.
  11. Re-install your seat or covers.
Visit for the proper battery for your bike and for more informative articles about motorcycles! Visit our electrical section to purchase a battery.

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