If you think you need to have a garage full of tools or extensive mechanical knowledge before you take on any bike maintenance yourself, think again! Check out these three important yet simple battery basics from Fix My Hog, and you’ll quickly see just how easy it can be to get under the seat and extend the life of your battery.
1. Ensure battery cables are properly installed.
If you (or your mechanic) don’t pay close attention to the direction your battery cables are routed when changing a battery or adding an accessory, it can be pretty easy to reinstall them backward. Take a minute to loosen the cables and pull them away from the battery, and it’ll be easy for you to see whether they’ve been installed correctly.
The large portion of the lug faces away from the body of the battery. (See photo above.)
The large portion of the lug faces toward the battery. It contacts the body of the battery before the cable connector contacts the lug.
If your cables are installed backward, flip them over so the large portion of the cable faces away from the body of the battery, put your spacer back on and tighten it back into place. You’ll be able to see clearly how much more room you have between the body of the battery and the cable.
2. Protect your cable and battery lug with dielectric grease.
You can easily lubricate your battery terminal by applying a small dab of dielectric grease. This coating will prevent sulfation (the white powder that can build on your battery cable connection) and protect your cable and battery lug from the elements.
Dielectric grease also lubricates the terminal, so you won’t have to worry about the bolt on the end of the cable being frozen to the lug of the battery or to the cable the next time you need to replace the battery or loosen cables.
3. Remove any sulfation with a nylon brush.
A poorly maintained battery can often develop sulfation (white powder). This residue will also form on a battery with a loose connection in order to help the charge to bridge across the battery to the spacer to the cable. In either case, you’ll want to loosen the connection and remove any sulfation you see with a nylon brush.
Once you’ve cleaned off the battery, be sure to install a little bit of dielectric grease (See #2).
IMPORTANT: Do not use a wire brush. If you touch ground it will create a spark.
For more details on motorcycle battery maintenance and cleaning, check out this helpful video from Fix My Hog:
Do you have other useful motorcycle battery maintenance and cleaning tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Fix My Hog is dedicated to people who love motorcycles but don’t know what to do with a wrench. The website contains an extensive collection of high-quality Harley-Davidson motorcycle maintenance and repair and videos presented by master HD Technician Bob LaRosa. Learn more about Fix My Hog here.