Harley-Davidson Advice on Avoiding Battery Abuse
A motorcycle battery never gets a day off. The service experts at Harley-Davidson® point out that even when a motorcycle is parked the battery discharges continuously in small internal loads called “self-discharge.” Self-discharge speeds up drastically as the temperature rises – for example in a hot garage in the summer – and accessories like alarm systems will further increase the rate of discharge. If a battery is discharged too deeply, for too long, it may be permanently damaged. Instead of a V-Twin rumble, a push on the starter button produces … silence. And there goes a Saturday ride.
Which is why a motorcycle, that may often be parked for some time between rides, is especially prone to battery damage from deep self-discharge, even during the riding season. The best way to prevent premature battery death, according to Harley-Davidson, is by keeping a parked motorcycle plugged into a maintenance-type battery charger like a Harley-Davidson Battery Tender. Unlike a standard battery charger, Harley-Davidson Battery Charger products feature internal circuitry that charges a motorcycle battery at the proper rate and then changes modes to protect the battery from over-charging.
Chargers for Long Life
The Harley-Davidson 800mA Waterproof Battery Tender (P/N 66000004, $49.95) features a three-step charging system that constantly monitors battery voltage to bring the battery up to full charge and switches to float mode to maintain the charge over extended periods. Its waterproof case protects the charger from damp floors and outdoor elements, and the charger is reverse-polarity protected and spark-proof, even when the leads touch.
The very compact Harley-Davidson 750mA SuperSmart Battery Tender (P/N 66000038, $39.95) is an ideal take-along for touring riders. Its built-in circuitry cycles the charger to turn itself on and off as needed to prevent overcharging.
Both of these charges are sold with a fused alligator-clip harness that’s handy for charging the battery when it’s removed from the motorcycle for long-term storage, and with a fused ring-terminal harness that can be connected directly to the battery terminals and left on the motorcycle. It’s then easy to plug the charger into the on-bike harness whenever it’s parked. Responding to customer input gathered through Project RUSHMORE, Harley-Davidson has equipped all 2014 Touring-model motorcycles with a factory-installed battery charger wiring harness.
Another option is the Harley-Davidson LED Indicator Battery Charging Harness, (P/N 66000005, $14.95) which features ring terminals and an integrated LED indicator light that glows when battery voltage drops to a level that requires charging. It’s a reminder to “please plug me in!” It’s compatible with all Harley-Davidson battery chargers and tenders.
Battery Life and Replacement
While the ultimate life of a motorcycle battery is determined by many factors, according to Harley-Davidson a well-maintained battery should deliver at least five years of service. When it’s time to replace a battery, an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer can supply the exact replacement battery that’s specified for each Harley-Davidson model.
New Harley-Davidson motorcycles are equipped with an AGM (Advanced Glass Mat) battery engineered specifically for use in Harley-Davidson bikes. These sealed batteries never need added electrolyte, and won’t leak even if the case is punctured because the electrolyte is absorbed in glass mats placed between the positive and negative plates. Genuine Harley-Davidson batteries are specifically engineered and built as part of the vehicle’s electrical system, and meet strict Harley-Davidson design and test standards. Internal components are designed to meet the Harley-Davidson electrical and vibration profile, which provides superior, long-lasting durability. The patented flush-mounted terminal design provides superior cable contact, and stainless steel terminal bolts resist corrosion. A genuine Harley-Davidson battery works better and lasts longer than less-expensive, off-the-shelf batteries.
Service Tips for Battery Safety
• Always exercise caution when working with batteries!
• Wear eye protection.
• Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries at all times.
• Never lean on a battery when jump-starting a bike.
• Never store a battery in a sealed container; always allow for proper ventilation.