How to Change a Harley Davidson Motorcycle Battery

A modern motorcycle depends on a good battery. Not just to get it started, sound the horn and turn on the headlamp but complete engine management amongst other things require it. So it is important to have a good heavy duty one, yet not be heavy enough to compromise performance.

If you have heavily upgraded your electrical system with the latest gadgets (GPS, radio system, etc), then as well as a higher amperage rated battery, you will also need to upgrade the alternator from a specialist in this field to match the battery.

Motorcycle batteries have a lifespan of 10 years on average; however this varies according to their use, demands and maintenance. Keeping a battery on trickle charge when it is not in use for a long period (e.g. you are a summer rider and don’t use your Harley Davidson in the winter) is a good idea and helps prolong the life of the battery. However sometimes there is a need to replace and get a new one so this guide is going to cover how to do this in 10 simple steps.

1. Find out the correct battery size. There is no universal battery size for Harley Davidson’s, they have changed over the ages so be sure to check what you actually need to save returning it to where you purchased it from, if in doubt take your old one into a shop (or a photo on your phone) and compare it to get the right one.

2. Check your electrical requirements. Unless you have done big upgrades to your electrical system (e.g. added motorcycle radio kit, different spark plug ratings, GPS system, different lighting system, etc) then you should go for the same rating as the original battery.

3. Turn off your engine and remove your old battery. Be careful with any mounts that hold it down. This is usually done with a spanner over terminal pins.

4. Your new battery may or may not come charged. Plugging it into a battery charger before use will not hurt it, if they are charged they are usually advertised as so – so you can skip this step.

5. Replace your new battery where your old one went. Pay extra attention to the positive and negative terminals as getting this wrong could severely damage the electrical system of your Harley Davidson.

6. This is also a good chance to check and correct any corrosion on the battery connector terminals. If there is some, which can give a chalky appearance, scrub it off with a wire brush to reveal clean shiny metal.

7. Cover the terminals in a lubricated electrolyte. Vaseline is good for this – this prevents corrosion of the battery terminals in the future. It is not essential, but helps maintain the area for the future and is standard during a mechanical service.

8. Connect the wires up to the battery correctly and tighten them up so they have a firm grip on the battery terminals.

9. Replace all covers and start your engine. It is advised you ride for at least 30 minutes now so the alternator can charge the battery up to its required amount.

10. You’re done!

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