With winter upon us, it is time to grab your charger, cover up your bike and protect it from the cold, dark months ahead. Yuasa, the world’s leading battery manufacturer, examines the importance of simple motorcycle battery monitoring and maintenance during this off-season period.
A motorcycle is generally used as a seasonal vehicle and may remain unused for long periods of time. Therefore, as temperatures continue to fall, the need for proper storage of motorcycle batteries becomes vital to increase their longevity and performance.
It is not uncommon for riders to experience issues when trying to start for the first time after extended storage. What’s more, in a lot of cases, a non-start situation is automatically blamed on the battery. With a little know-how, however, most of these problems can be prevented.
Ian Newham, Training Manager at GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd, said: “Over time, the battery in your motorcycle can lose its charge, especially if it has not been used for frequent journeys of at least 10 minutes. If a battery is left in a discharged state, then there is the risk it will be drained within a few months, or even weeks for newer model bikes.
“Motorcycle owners can easily prevent internal damage by using a motorcycle-specific charger. For seasonal riders, simply remove the battery entirely, store it in a dry place such as a garage, and use a maintenance charger to keep it in good operating condition.
If you want to keep the battery on the bike, attach it to a smart battery charger. This straightforward device will detect the battery’s condition over a long period and charge it appropriately.”
A smart charger, such as Yuasa’s YCX0.8 12V 5A 6-Stage Smart Charger, can be left permanently connected for months on end without the risk of overcharging or overheating the battery. Such smart chargers you can keep the battery at an optimum voltage and allow security systems and ECU memories to remain active. Charging in this way will not cause any damage to the battery, it will just monitor and keep it in top condition until the bike is ready to ride again in the spring.
Another effective method is by intermittent charging for 16 – 24 hours every 2 months, with the battery disconnected from the bike.
A lead acid battery is not like the battery in a mobile phone, where it can be left flat for extended periods of time with no damage. Therefore, it is crucial that the battery on the motorcycle must be kept on charge over winter. If it is left in a discharged state for a long period of time, irreversible damage will be done to the battery.
It is important to leave the battery perfectly clean and stored in a dry area, otherwise condensation could form and trigger corrosion. If the battery is not a sealed unit, Yuasa recommends checking the electrolyte levels and using distilled water to top up any cells that appear low, whilst being careful not to overfill them.
Other tips from the leading battery manufacturer include checking your battery is the correct specification and technology for your motorcycle using their industry-leading online battery lookup, fit.yuasa.com; upgrading the battery for longer life, ensure the vent tubes are not obstructed in any way and keeping a proper maintenance schedule across the winter season to extend service life.
For more motorcycle battery guides and product information, visit www.yuasa.com/bike