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Why does it matter?

After a long standstill, when you only make short trips or when it’s cold, you need to make sure that your battery doesn’t over-discharge. Immobility induces a significant loss of charge (up to -50% after 3 to 5 months depending on the type of battery) and low temperatures also have a significant impact with a loss of about 1% of the charge for every 2° below 20°. Hence the need to take care of your motorcycle battery regularly and to check its condition so as not to find an out-of-service vehicle in the spring.

Taking care of your motorcycle battery during winter storage

It is logically in winter that you stop using your motorcycle: you might as well prepare it well to enjoy it as soon as the first nice days come! It is then preferable to disconnect the battery and keep it flat, in a dry and not too cold place. Start by checking and correcting the levels (see below) if it is a conventional battery, and remember to recharge it before storing it. A maintenance-free battery does not require any special intervention. Caution: A battery put in winter storage without being recharged risks sulphation and therefore deterioration.

Throughout the winter period of immobilisation, remember to check the battery charge regularly (at least every 2 months) and carry out the usual checks before putting it back into service.

How to check the condition of your motorcycle battery

To find out the status of your motorcycle or scooter battery, simple gestures are all you need. They will allow you to assess the problem, and whether you need to charge or simply replace the battery.

First tests

Turn on the ignition to see if the lights come on. If not, the battery is probably dead; if so, there is at least some charge left.

Try starting the engine. If nothing happens, the battery has run out of charge or is even empty.

Identify the problem

To find out the cause of the problem, you will need to remove the battery:

Check that the casing is not cracked or damaged.

For an acid battery, open the housing to check the fluid level. If there is not enough liquid to reach the recommended level or if the levels in the cells are not equivalent, top up with distilled or demineralised water. These are available at DIY stores, hardware stores, and most mass merchandisers. Maintenance-free batteries should not be opened.

Check that the terminals are not oxidized or coated with a deposit that prevents the conduction of electricity. If necessary, clean them by brushing and lightly grease them to prevent the deposit from forming again.

An acid battery can be tested with an acid scale, if you have one. By dipping the scale into the liquid, a scale will tell you if the battery is faulty or short-circuited.

More simply, you can test the battery charge with a voltmeter or multimeter. Select the « direct current » position and measure the voltage between the battery terminals. Between 12.5 and 13 Volt, the battery is properly charged. Between 12 and 12.5 Volt, the battery should be recharged according to the usual precautions. Below 11 Volt, it will not be possible to recharge it and it must be replaced. If the indicated value exceeds 13 Volt, the battery is overcharged and unusable.

Recharging the motorcycle battery

To charge the battery of your scooter or motorcycle, use a suitable charger. Car chargers are not suitable as they deliver too much current. Also, do not attempt to start the vehicle by connecting the battery with clamps to another battery, as this may cause irreparable damage to your equipment.

Use a suitable battery charger that delivers the necessary current to gently charge the battery. Ideally, use a charger that charges to a maximum of one tenth of your battery’s capacity.

Some chargers allow charge maintenance, which means you can leave them plugged in all winter without risk.

Before recharging your battery, read the charger’s instructions for use and make sure you have the necessary equipment (flat and hexagonal wrenches, Phillips screwdriver).