Can a motorcycle battery die while riding?

By Arif

Motorcycle standing on the road

So, you found yourself middle of the road with your bike struggling to move ahead. The headlight lost its steam and the engine didn’t seem alive. These are clear signs of a motorcycle battery nearing its end. You start wondering can a motorcycle battery die while riding!

A motorcycle battery doesn’t die on its own. There are several causes and issues that appear in various signs which motorcyclists often ignore. When the battery doesn’t find any solution to its problem for a long time it may drain/die regardless of sitting idle or riding.

In this post, you will learn about the causes of motorcycle batteries dying while riding. To counter these issues, you will also know the preventions and find answers to many other questions pertaining to a dead motorcycle battery.  

Can a motorcycle battery die while riding?

Yes, a motorcycle battery can die or drain while riding due to a lack of charge and various other factors related to the charging system.

When the battery is low on charge it may not be able to provide enough power to the electrical system and particularly the engine which fails to continue operating.

Some of the other causes that make a motorcycle battery die while riding could be associated with the stator, regulator, and electrical wiring.

Any recent add-ons to the motorcycle’s electrical system could also add to the woes of the battery losing charge quickly.

Last, but not least, a battery that is hardly maintained becomes vulnerable to corrosion, damage, leakage, etc. which may cause the motorcycle to stall and potentially leave you stranded.

It is there important to know the causes of a dying motorcycle battery to avoid inconveniences while riding.

Check the charging

A motorcycle battery should be fully charged according to its voltage capacity. Generally, most motorcycle batteries possess 12 volts which is the minimum requirement to remain active and transmit power to the associated parts.

Due to lack of usage or too much usage a motorcycle battery goes into discharge mode. No matter how busy or lazy you are ensure to test the voltage power using a multimeter before commencing your journey.

Testing a motorcycle battery charge

If the voltage power is less than 12 volts it is essential to charge the motorcycle battery using a battery charger or a jumper cable. Test the voltage again after recharging and make sure the battery is able to hold the charge by starting your motorcycle and revving it for a few minutes.

Moreover, a half-hour ride will be ideal to help the motorcycle battery regain its charge through the alternator/stator. If everything seems fine you are good to go however, if you still find issues with the battery then…

Check the stator/regulator/rectifier (charging system)

A motorcycle battery is charged with the help of its charging system which is based on the combination of a stator/regulator/rectifier.

A stator is the charging boss of a motorcycle battery that constantly pumps current while the bike is on the move. If the stator itself has gone bad that means the battery is not getting enough power to keep the engine running.

Secondly, the regulator/rectifier is responsible to convert the appropriate (DC) power into voltage so that the battery remains juiced up.

If the regulator/rectifier is not working up to the mark that means the battery is not getting the correct amount of voltage. In the absence of proper voltage, a battery is bound to drain faster affecting your ride.

Check the condition of these charging system units to detect any damage or faults. Make use of the instruction manual to identify the defects.

If you are still not sure about checking these parts seek professional help from an auto mechanic or technician and take necessary action in the form of repairs or replacements to help your motorcycle battery work smoothly.

Check the wiring

The electrical system of a motorcycle is interconnected through multiple wirings. Any loose connections can cause a variety of issues including damage to the battery.

Motorcycle wiring getting connected

The possibility of inclement weather impacting the cables cannot be avoided which makes them hotter leading to melting or getting loose.

It is important to check the wiring to find any faults or loose ends. Make sure the tightness and connections are secure and all the parts are properly attached to avoid battery problems.

Check the corrosion

If the battery terminals are heavily corroded it interrupts the flow of current from the electrical system. This means the battery not getting sufficient power to remain charged.

The corrosion on battery terminals could be the result of poor maintenance but it makes a big difference in the connection with the stator.

The loss of power due to a bad connection reduces the ability of a motorcycle battery to hold its charge for a longer period of time which in the end comes to a halt.

To avoid terminal corrosion, you must regularly monitor and clean them with water and baking soda. Make use of a soft cloth and ensure that the terminals are properly cleaned and dried out before using the battery.

Check the electrical system pressure

A motorcycle battery is made to withstand common electrical pressure generated through associated parts and accessories while riding.

However, the pressure increases with the addition of any new aftermarket accessory that may have been installed recently. Motorcyclists are fond of using extra gadgets such as light bars, radios, chargers, etc.

While there is nothing wrong in adding the extra stuff for your convenience it is equally important to ensure the installation and connections are performed correctly.

In many instances, accessory owners leave the connection of wirings in a vulnerable position. One way to ensure this is by disconnecting the additional stuff and seeing if the battery is holding the charge. If it doesn’t, then reinstall the accessories with proper fitting and connection.

Secondly, to get the most out of the battery and electrical system after adding new accessories it is necessary to ride the motorcycle at the correct speed.

Low RPMs in higher gear may not produce enough power to keep the battery charged up. Ride on higher RPMs in lower gears so that the alternator and stator are spinning fast enough to produce sufficient current to run all the accessories.

Check the condition of the battery

Lastly, check the condition of the battery to determine its age or expiry date. 3-5 years of service is what you can expect from a battery with standard usage.

If it’s gone past the age its discharge rate increases which means dealing with frequent instances of battery draining and recharging.

Cracks, damages, and leakages are some of the other symptoms of a battery that is close to expiry. If you have identified any of these signs initiate the replacement process as soon as possible to avoid inconveniences on the road.

Signs of motorcycle battery dying

Here are some of the common signs that indicate that your motorcycle battery is going to die soon:

  • Difficulty starting the engine,
  • Clicking or cranking sound while starting the engine,
  • Dimmed headlights and other electrical accessories,
  • Parts related to the electrical system not working properly,
  • Engine cutting out while idling

Next time, when you are planning to ride your motorcycle ensure to check all the above symptoms and then begin your journey.

If you detect even a single problem during or after starting your bike get it inspected and serviced immediately by a professional mechanic.

What to do when a motorcycle battery dies while riding?

There is no need to panic or get frustrated when your motorcycle battery dies while riding. Instead, here are some of the steps to follow when you are stranded on the road:

First of all, maneuver to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Ensure all the electrical accessories such as headlights, dashboards, etc. are off.

Check all the connections and wirings are proper, especially the ones that are connected to the battery. If you find any loose ends attempt to connect them properly. Restart the bike and see if the battery holds the charge.

If wiring is not the problem then the only way to get back on the road is to seek help from other vehicles to jumpstart your motorcycle battery or call for roadside assistance.

How to keep your motorcycle battery from dying?

To keep your motorcycle battery from dying you can follow the below tips:

Keep it maintained – Regularly monitor and check the status of the battery. Dirt and corrosion on the battery terminals can cause the battery to drain faster.

Ensure to perform the cleaning as and when you find the battery terminals catching corrosion. Use a wire brush, and dielectric grease to prevent corrosion.

Keep it charged – It is important to keep the battery fully charged. While this can be taken care of by the stator and regulator when the bike is on the move special attention is required when the motorcycle is standing idle.

If you won’t be using the motorcycle for an extended period of time disconnect the battery to prevent it from draining. Use a battery charger/maintainer to keep the battery charged when not in use.

Moreover, avoid making short trips repeatedly as such trips don’t give the battery enough time to fully charge.

Check the water levels – If your motorcycle battery is made of lead acid ensure to check the water levels frequently. Symptoms of low water are quite common in hot weather conditions.

Related Read: Symptoms of low water in a car battery

Insufficient water levels make a battery lose charge quickly so add distilled water whenever necessary.

Store properly – If your motorcycle remains parked for a long time it is better to disconnect the battery and store it in a cool and dry place.

This will help to prevent the battery from losing its charge over time and also remain protected from harsh weather conditions.

Will a bike run with a dead battery?

Yes and no. A bike with a kickstart mechanism can run as long as the engine is running. However, you won’t be able to use the electrical system.

A bike with an electrical start can also run with the help of the push-start method. Using the gear and pushing the bike at full speed you can expect to run the bike for a short time.

In both cases, the motorcycle will run but you will not have any electrical power until the battery is charged, repaired, or replaced.

Therefore it is technically not recommended to run the bike with a dead battery as it may damage the electrical system including the charging system, regulator, and even engine in some cases.

Final thoughts

A motorcycle battery can die while riding if it is not properly charged, if there is a problem with the wiring, or if the condition of the battery is too old.

The best way to counter battery issues is proper maintenance. Keeping it to recommended charging levels, performing regular cleaning, and ensuring proper wiring connections will help your motorcycle battery last longer.

Never try to run the bike when there is no support from the battery. Doing this could permanently damage the battery as well as other associated parts of a motorcycle.

Finally, it makes sense to keep and use relevant charging units such as a battery charger or a set of jumper cables to help you continue the journey to some extent.

Bookmark the signs of a dying motorcycle battery and ensure to follow the guidelines and information from this post to avoid battery issues on the road.

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I am the founder of TheCarPlus. As a passionate car owner and enthusiast, I offer practical solutions and insights from my own personal experiences combined with extensive online research.

The purpose of creating this website is to empower fellow car owners and motorcyclists like 'YOU' with knowledge and practical solutions to enhance your vehicle's performance and aesthetics.

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