A complete beginner’s guide to how to fill, charge, replace a motorcycle battery.
So your old motorcycle battery is dead, you’ve read the guide on how to test if your dead motorcycle battery is still good, and you’ve bought a new motorcycle battery. Now what? The filling and the first charge of a new motorcycle battery are critical to it’s long term health. If you do it wrong and you risk irreparable damage to your brand new battery that could not only harm it’s peak performance, but also shorten it’s lifespan in the long term. Here’s how to fill, how to charge, and how to replace a motorcycle battery you’ve just bought the right way.
These 5 steps are super simple, but how well you initially fill and charge your battery, along with proper maintenance is critical to how long your battery will last over time, so make sure you follow them carefully.
This video is the second part of a series where I’ve bought a motorcycle with a lost ownership for dirt cheap to try to fix it up and sell it and make a profit. If you find it helpful, please subscribe to the monthly newsletter (in the sidebar) or to the YouMotorcycle channel on YouTube.
Let’s get started with filling up and installing a new motorcycle battery.
How to fill a new motorcycle battery with acid
STEP 1 – Place the new battery on a level surface. Take out the acid pack, and press it firmly into the battery to fill the battery with acid.
- Some batteries come with a little pin. You can use that to make a breather hole in each sell to help the battery drain faster.
- If yours doesn’t doesn’t come with a pin you can just use a clothes pin, drill bit, knife, or anything sharp you have on hand.
- Make sure you get ALL of the acid out of the acid pack and into the battery. This is a slow process, but it’s critical to your battery’s performance.
STEP 2 – Let the battery sit for a minimum of 30 minutes AFTER it’s done being filled.
- Your battery could get some air bubbles in the acid while it’s being filled, and those air bubbles and if you seal them in there, it could lead to poor battery performance, so give your battery time to air out.
- Sealing the air bubbles inside your battery can also negatively effect the lifespan of your new battery.
- You can also flick the individual cells of the battery to try to help some of the air rise to the top.
How to charge a new motorcycle battery
STEP 3 – Seal the battery and charge it.
- The battery’s first charge is the most important charge of it’s life. If you don’t charge it 100% it’s possible that it will never work to it’s full capacity.
- Be prepared to wait up to 12 hours for your battery to finish fully charging. Some batteries will come with a table that will tell you how long to expect.
- Make sure you use only a proper motorcycle battery to charge your battery, typically one that charges at less than 1 AMP.
- Never use a car battery charger to charge your battery, the power will be just too much.
- The only time it’s okay to use a car battery charger is one like this where you can manually select a Motorcycle mode before starting to charge your battery.
How to remove an old motorcycle battery
STEP 4 – Replace the existing battery by disconnecting the negative battery terminal first.
- If you disconnect the positive terminal first you can run the risk of creating electrical problems for your motorcycle, so always remove the negative terminal first, and then the positive terminal second.
- Make sure to never touch the two battery terminals together.
How to install a new motorcycle battery
STEP 5 – Install your new battery by connecting the positive terminal first
- When your new battery is finished charging, install it by connecting the positive terminal first, and then the negative terminal second, to avoid creating any electrical shorts.
- I strongly recommend installing a battery tender pigtail at this time. A pigtail allows you to charge your motorcycle’s battery without actually having to access it. It makes future battery charging and maintenance easy, and it only takes a few extra seconds to install.
THAT’S IT, YOU’RE DONE!
Your battery is installed and ready to go! This is usually the first step towards getting an old motorcycle running again. If you found this article helpful please let me know in the comments section down below, it helps me understand what kind of content you guys enjoy. If you watched the video and enjoyed it, please consider subscribing to the YouMotorcycle channel.
Remember, just because your motorcycle battery is dead, that doesn’t mean it can’t be brought back to life. Likewise, just because you can recharge an old motorcycle battery, doesn’t mean it won’t leave you stranded 20 miles down the road.
Here’s how to test your dead motorcycle to see if it’s still useable (you can also use this method to test your car battery too). A lot of people experience motorcycle battery issues in the spring time from lack of maintaining their motorcycles over the winter, or from starting their motorcycle for the winter without actually riding it. Here’s why you shouldn’t start your motorcycle battery during the winter.
If you do need to replace a motorcycle battery, you should stick with the Yuasa brand of batteries. They’re typically more expensive and much better quality than those suggested in generic best motorcycle battery articles. They may cost twice as much, but they will last you three to four times as long and be much more resilient.
Don’t forget to come along with me for the ride as we get this motorcycle fixed up and sold. We’ll be covering a lot of motorcycle maintenance tips and how-tos along the way, with new content coming out every week.
As always, thanks for checking out YouMotorcycle. Ride safe, but have fun!