Motorcycle batteries don’t last forever.
But they don’t need replacing every 6 months as well.
That’s why it’s easy to forget you need to replace the battery once every few years.
So, how long does a motorcycle battery last?
A typical motorcycle using an AGM battery lasts around 3 to 5 years. Lead acid batteries last less than that and lithium batteries in a motorcycle last far longer than that.
The motorcycle battery lifespan depends on a lot of factors including battery type, temperature, usage and maintenance, and charging practices.
How long do motorcycle batteries last?
Motorcycle batteries usually last around 3 to 5 years.
This is especially true for AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries.
Lead acid batteries in motorcycles last less. Around 2 to 3 years.
And lithium-ion batteries last the longest with a lifespan of around 10 years in motorcycles.
On average, the typical lifespan of a motorcycle battery is around 3 to 5 years.
Around the 4 to 5 year mark, the battery starts to drain fast. The terminals get corroded. Stops working well in cold temperatures. The power density and vibration resistance decreases. And starts demanding more maintenance in general.
It’s a best practice to check the battery performance and replace it if necessary every 5 years.
Battery life depends on a lot of factors
The battery life of a motorcycle depends a lot on different factors. These factors include:
- Battery type
- Temperature and weather conditions
- Usage and maintenance
- Charging practices
Let’s look at how each of these factors affects the battery lifespan.
#1. Battery type
The lifespan of a battery depends a lot on what type of battery it is.
Lead acid batteries have the lowest lifespan compared to other battery types.
Lithium-ion battery lasts the longest. Sometimes longer than 10 years.
Here is the typical battery lifespan of different types:
|Battery type||Life cycles||Life span|
|Lead acid||200-300||2-3 years|
#2. Temperature and weather conditions
Batteries tend to perform worse in cold temperatures.
The capacity starts to shrink. The motorcycle starts facing problems.
Cold temperatures in general make mtorocycle components underperform.
And batteries are no exception.
Similarly, extreme hot conditions can be as bad as well.
Overall, the battery lasts long at moderate operating temperatures. Rather than cold or extremely hot temperatures.
#3. Usage and maintenance
Battery usage and maintenance play a role in how long the battery lasts as well.
Better-kept and well-maintained batteries last longer. (Duh!).
Over time, the battery terminals if exposed to the outside atmosphere start to corrode.
You need to constantly check the battery condition. Every time you service your monocycle.
Keep the battery terminals clean and corrosion-free.
Similarly, if your motorcycle is using a lead acid battery which requires maintenance, refill the battery with distilled water regularly.
Lead acid batteries that require maintenance require frequent inspections to last long.
#4. Charging practices
Battery and charging and discharging (self-discharge) both impact a battery’s performance and durability.
A battery deep discharging (the battery is drained of charge completely) frequently is not desired since it can lead to sulfation. Which over time will make the battery dead.
Lots of deep discharging can cause the battery to go dead faster.
Overcharging a battery is another concern.
Overcharging a battery constantly can make the battery degrade faster.
An even bigger concern is when you overcharge a lead-acid battery. If you are not careful and let the battery get overcharged for long, the electrolyte depletes and the battery might even explode.
One solution is you can use battery tenders, aka smart chargers. They don’t overcharge.
Another simple solution is not to let the battery deep discharge.
Either way, battery discharging and overcharging impacts battery performance and lifespan.
How to know if the motorcycle battery is bad?
Here are the symptoms of a bad motorcycle battery:
- Starting problems: With a bad battery, the motorcycle will have starting problems with the ignition.
- Dimmed lights: The motorcycle headlight, tail light, turn signals, and other electrical accessories like horns get dimmed and/or stop working well whenever there is a drained or dead battery.
- Poor voltmeter reading: When you measure the battery voltage with the multimeter, the voltage reading will be far lower than 12.6 Volts.
- Battery won’t charge: A bad and dead battery won’t charge at all when you connect it to a charger. That’s the cue to replace the battery.
Tips to improve battery life
Here are some tips to improve your motorcycle battery life.
First, ensure the battery terminals are clean.
Dirty or corroded battery terminals are one of the most common causes of a dead battery.
So check the terminals regularly and clean them if necessary.
To clean the terminals, use some hot water and baking soda, and scrub the terminals.
Second, if the battery is not maintenance-free, add distilled water regularly.
Most lead-acid batteries require maintenance. (There are maintenance-free lead acid batteries as well, but most are not).
Check the electrolyte levels every 5 to 6 months. If it is low, top up with distilled water.
Not the tap water. Not the mineral water. Only distilled water.
And make sure you are not overfilling as well.
Third, avoid excessive vibrations and overheating of the motorcycle.
Lots of heat and vibration negatively impact battery performance. As well as its shelf life.
If the motorcycle is vibrating a lot, check for the root cause and address it.
Similarly, overheated motorcycle is another concern. Make sure the heat and vibrations are at a minimum to prolong battery life.
Lithium-ion batteries can last up to 10 years and even more. They have the highest lifespan among all the other battery types.
A weak battery negatively affects motorcycle performance. The motorcycle will face starting problems, lights and electronic accessories won’t work well, and even the engine ignition will face problems.
In modern motorcycles starting a bike with a dead battery is difficult. Even the kickstart relies on the battery to start (unlike in old motorcycles). Jump-starting the bike can be the only solution.
Before you go…
Here are a few more motorcycle battery related posts for you: