How To Disconnect Motorcycle Battery? [A Step-by-step Guide]


How To Disconnect Motorcycle Battery

Every time you require troubleshooting a motorcycle fault, you may assume it is a battery issue. Though it can be engine inefficiency or other problems too, battery problems are what we commonly think of. To troubleshoot the motorcycle battery, you need to disconnect the battery first. 

As you may know, detaching the motorcycle battery can be risky if you do it inappropriately. If done carelessly, the motorcycle battery can cause an electric shock. You should first learn to do it and then apply the technique. Otherwise, the procedure would be troublesome and inconvenient for you. 

On that note, I am here to discuss disconnecting a motorcycle battery. Besides taking you through the process, I have some tips and solutions to help you. 

Simple Way To Disconnect Motorcycle Battery: 5 Steps

You can’t afford to have a faulty motorcycle battery as it is the driving power of a motorcycle. So whenever you find an issue, it is essential to check the condition of the motorcycle battery. But this is not as easy as it may sound. There is a sure way to do it.  So here is how you can disconnect and remove the motorcycle battery safely. 

Step 1: Check The Manual

Before I discuss the process, don’t forget to check the manual. The manual generally has specific instructions on how to troubleshoot a particular problem. So you may find the required solution from the manual only. 

Besides, the manual also comes with various instructions on removing the battery. It mentions the location of the battery in the motorcycle. Some brands have manuals with detailed directions on solving battery problems. So don’t avoid going through the company manual. It can help you a lot during emergencies. 

Step 2: Locate The Battery

Different motorcycle models have batteries in different parts of them. For example, the luxury brands like Harley Davidson have batteries extending out to the right side of the motorcycle. Other brands have batteries at the bottom side of the bike body. 

But commonly, the batteries are located beneath the motorcycle seat or near the fuel tank. You can check the manual once to see where the battery is located. Once located, get access to the battery. 

Remove the seat or open the covering to find the battery near the fuel tank. Once you can see the battery, now is the turn to disconnect it. 

Step 3: Delink The Black Cable

The black cable is generally the negative pole of the connection. It is crucial to unlink the black cable first to avoid electric shocks. Look for a minus sign on the cable to ensure that it is the negative wire. The issue with doing otherwise is the positive wire may conduct electricity under certain circumstances. 

The positive wire often uses the metal around it for grounding. When you disconnect the positive wire first, there remains a chance of a fuse or fire. This can cause a massive and fatal accident. So you better not take any risk and unlink the negative cable first. 

Step 4: Unlink The Positive Wiring

Once you unlink the black wire, the entire circuit connection is disrupted. So now all bonds are broken, you can safely remove the positive wiring. This generally is marked as a plus sign and colored red. As you locate the wire, remove it from the circuit. Now the battery is ready to be released. The disconnection part is done!

Step 5: Take Out The Battery 

You may see a battery bracket wrapped around the battery that keeps it in place. Some have rubber belts, while others are enclosed within a metal bracket. Unscrew these brackets with a screwdriver or wrench and remove them from the battery. 

Now take out the motorcycle battery straight out of the cage. Don’t tilt the battery as this may cause a lead leak. The battery parts may also get bumped to the motorcycle frame tilted. So hold the strap and pull it out straight. That is it!

10 Reasons To Disconnect Motorcycle Battery: Why Do You Need It?

Why would you need to disconnect the motorcycle battery in the first place? A legit question. There are several conditions when you need to disconnect the motorcycle battery. The reasons are mostly related to troubleshooting an issue. Every time you check on the battery, disconnecting it is mandatory. Know some of the reasons you may need to disconnect a motorcycle battery. 

1. Starting Problem:

If you find it challenging to start the motorcycle, there can be an issue with the battery. Battery inefficiency lacks the power needed to start the bike. So when you inject the key, the motorcycle fails to start. This can happen due to a dead battery. When this is the case, you should disconnect the motorcycle battery and check its condition. 

2. Dim Headlight, Low Horn:

Most of the issues related to the performance of the motorcycle are caused due to a low battery. Some signs are dim headlights and low horns. This is possibly a battery problem when the light is dark, and the horn isn’t loud enough. In this case, you may need to replace the battery or delink it to check what is wrong. 

3. Electrical Connection Issues:

Modern motorcycle batteries have electrical connections to increase their efficiency. The connection of positive and negative wiring builds the electric connection. But when these connections are loose or inactive, the battery fails to function correctly. You would need to detach the wiring and correct the electrical faults in this case. 

4. Lack Of Charge:

When the battery lacks enough charge, you can’t run the motorcycle properly. Lack of charge causes a condition called sulfation. This condition reduced the life of the battery. So it is crucial to disconnect the battery from the motorcycle and charge it immediately. A fully-charged battery gives the best motorcycle performance. 

5. Distorted Battery:

An overused and burned battery would get distorted. Even the slightest distortion indicates that the battery is no longer helpful. In that case, you would have to replace the battery. For replacement, disconnect the cables first and then remove the battery. Install a new battery for the best performance. 

6. Fluctuating Voltage Reading:

The voltage reading on the multimeter would be constant if the battery functions correctly. But when the reading fluctuates, it indicates trouble with the battery. The connections are fragile, and the battery is probably in a vulnerable condition. To fix this, detach and remove the battery. Check for the faults. If not resolved, get a new battery. 

7. Leakage:

Due to temperature fluctuations, overcharging the battery or an old battery can cause severe leakages. Leakages are dangerous as they would cause ignition and harmful reactions. Immediately cut off the terminals and remove them from the motorcycle whenever you notice leakage. Clean the area and then install the battery. 

8. Corrosion:

With time, the battery terminals start corroding. Besides, other parts of the battery corrode; I mean starting wearing. You may sometimes limit these conditions by cleaning the battery. Whether you clean or replace the battery, disconnecting it from the circuit is mandatory. 

9. Cleaning:

If you intend to clean the battery, remember to disconnect the battery circuit for your safety. It is best to detach the cables and remove the battery from the cage. This cleaning method is effective and safe. Try cleaning the battery once every two months for proper maintenance. And if you do it yourself, be safe by disconnecting the battery first. 

10. Needs Replacement:

Every 3 to 5 years, you should replace the motorcycle battery. This is essential to increase the longevity of the motorcycle and its engine. Else, if you face any severe problems, consider replacing the battery.

For replacement, you must disconnect the wirings and then remove the battery. While installing, make sure to reconnect the cables properly. These are the possible reasons you may need to disconnect a motorcycle battery. 

6 Tips To Safely Disconnect The Battery Without Any Danger

Safety concerns are there when you disconnect the motorcycle battery. There is a high possibility of short circuit and electrical shock if you don’t do it cautiously. This is why I have a few tips for disconnecting the battery without any danger safely.

1. Detach The Black Wire First:

When you detach the negative wire, I mean the black wire, you substantially reduce the risk of electrical shock. The black wire breaks the electrical connection and circuit. Therefore, the power is neutralized fairly when detaching the negative wire first. So do that!

2. Wrap The Red Cable:

The red cable of the positive wire is always risky! So you better take care of it beforehand. After detaching the positive cable, you should enclose the wire with duct tape or cloth. As you wrap the wire, you eliminate the risk of it contacting a metal. This means there is no more danger of an electrical accident. 

3. Wear A Face Mask:

When you work with the battery and cables, various fumes can come from them. Especially if there is sulfation, acid, or lead leakage, there would be a harmful odor. You should always wear a face mask before working with the battery. 

4. Avoid Leakage:

If you see no leakage around the battery, it doesn’t mean it won’t leak further. To avoid further leakage, you should remove the battery carefully. Avoid tilting the battery and pulling it out straight from the motorcycle. This would prevent any lead or acid leakage. 

5. No Jewelry:

Say ‘no’ to wearing any metal piece or jewelry while working with the terminals. The red wire is prone to conduct electricity when in contact with metal. Therefore, avoid wearing any jewelry while disconnecting the motorcycle battery to prevent an accident. 

6. Ensure Ventilation:

Don’t unlink the battery in a closed area. Choose a well-vented area for treating the battery. As harmful gasses and acid leakage are expected, a vented area would reduce their effect. Moreover, you would feel comfortable and fresh in an open space.

Related Questions:

Can You Leave Your Battery On A Motorcycle After Disconnecting It?

It is not advised to leave the battery in the motorcycle after disconnecting it. This is because the motorcycle parts consume tad-bit electricity even after disconnecting the battery. The battery slowly runs out of charge when left in the motorcycle. It may also result in sulfation which severely deteriorates the battery’s life. 

The best solution is to remove the motorcycle battery after disconnecting and store it indoors, preferably in a maintainer. If stored outdoors, the temperature variation can damage the battery. Therefore, you should store the battery in a battery charging maintainer to keep it reasonable.

How Do You Properly Disconnect A Motorcycle Battery?

The right way to disconnect a motorcycle battery is to detach the negative terminal first. As the negative terminal drives the circuit, cutting it off disconnects it. When the circuit is broken, there is no risk of electrical accidents. After the black cable, you would remove the red cable carefully. Wrap its end for caution. 

As you disconnect the terminals, you can take out the battery. It is recommended to have a look at the manual first. The manual may explain the process more precisely. 

Which Battery Terminal Do You Disconnect First On A Motorcycle?

While disconnecting the motorcycle battery, you should first remove the battery’s negative terminal. The negative terminal is generally colored black and marked minus. You should first remove the negative terminal as it disrupts the circuit connection. As the circuit connection breaks, the chances of the electric shock reduce.  

If you do otherwise and cut the positive cable first, there remains a potential risk of a short circuit. The positive line conducts electricity in contact with metal. So the lack of caution can create a fuss in a second. Therefore, it is suggested to disconnect the black cable first for safety. 

Can You Disconnect Motorcycle Battery For Storage?

It is okay to disconnect the motorcycle battery for storage. If the motorcycle is left idle for a long time, keeping the battery in separate storage is better. This is because electric batteries consume electricity even when not in use. With the gradual consumption, the battery runs out of charge and loses its efficiency. Besides, if it is too cold, the battery can freeze and distort. 

Therefore, it is better to disconnect the battery for storage rather than leave it on the bike. Store it in a charging maintainer where it would stay charged. The temperature and the charge would keep it in good condition. 

Should You Disconnect Your Motorcycle Battery?

Keeping the motorcycle battery disconnected when not in use for a long time is recommended. Disconnecting the electrical connections keeps the battery charge intact. But when kept connected, the battery charge goes away. This lowers the power of the battery and causes a condition called sulfation. These consequences are harmful to the battery. 

Therefore, it is wise to disconnect the motorcycle battery. Instead, keep it indoors, preferably in a charging maintainer. 

Do You Need To Disconnect Your Motorcycle Battery To Trickle Charge It?

Batteries self-discharge constantly, which can lower the charge. To minimize the discharge, it is necessary to trickle charge the battery at the same rate. But to trickle charge, you should disconnect and remove the battery out of the motorcycle. This is for your safety as charging while in the motorcycle can damage the internal elements. 

Safely remove the motorcycle battery, choose a charging spot, and put it in charge. However, don’t overcharge the battery. Also, the speed of trickle charging should be around 20% more than the ampere per hour rate of the battery. 

Final Words: 

Disconnecting a motorcycle battery is a bit risky. But it is not as technical as it may sound. If you follow the steps and the tips I have discussed, you would easily disconnect a motorcycle battery. As you master this, you will be able to solve minor battery issues by yourself. 

Try out unlinking the motorcycle battery by following the guide I have added. Assure to maintain the safety tips, and you are all set to troubleshoot your motorcycle battery.

You can also read:

Best Battery For High Compression Harley

Can Bad Battery Cause an Ignition Problem?

Quick Steps To Wire A Push Button Start On A Motorcycle

Ahsan Ullah

Hi guys, This is Ahsan Ullah. I have been riding motorcycle for more than 15 years. In this long period, I have experienced a lot of things about bike riding. Now I am trying to share my experience with you on this website.

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