How Long Do Harley Batteries Last

Published

White Star Rides is your trusted Harley-Davidson companion, offering expert guidance and information to enhance your riding experience.

How Long Do Harley Batteries Last

Are you a Harley-Davidson biker looking to find out how long do Harley-Davidson motorcycle batteries last? If so, you have come to the right place for the answer.

How long do Harley batteries last is a common question that most Harley-Davidson beginners have. Generally, a well-maintained and properly cared for Harley-Davidson battery will likely give at least 5 years of quality service. However, there are a number of factors that come into play and determine how long do Harley batteries last. Overall, most Harley-Davidson bikers can expect between two to ten years of quality performance out of their batteries.

In this guide, you will get to know all about Harley-Davidson motorcycle batteries, how long do Harley batteries last, how to maintain your motorcycle battery, the factors that affect how long a battery lasts, and more. Stick around to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Motorcycle batteries on Harley-Davidson

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle battery doesn’t get a day off. According to experts, even when the bike is parked, the battery keeps discharging continuously in small internal loads known as “self-discharge”. Self-discharge drastically speeds up as the temperature rises, such as when your bike is parked in a hot garage during the summer. Accessories like alarm systems further increase the rate of discharge. If the battery is discharged for too long, it could be damaged permanently.

This is why a Harley-Davidson bike parked between rides is prone to battery damage from deep self-discharge, even when it is the riding season. The best way of preventing premature battery death would be by keeping the parked bike plugged into a maintenance-type battery charger such as a Harley-Davidson Battery Tender. Unlike standard battery chargers, Harley-Davidson Battery Chargers feature internal circuitry that charges your bike’s battery at the proper rate and changes modes to protect it from over-charging.

How long do Harley batteries last

A well-maintained and properly cared Harley-Davidson battery will last at least 3-5 years on average. However, there are a number of factors that affect how long a Harley-Davidson battery can last. Generally, Harley-Davidson bikers can expect two to ten years out of their batteries.

Harley-Davidson motorcycle batteries slowly go bad with time. This is normal and should be expected. Even if you properly take care of the battery ad service it while keeping it on a battery tender, it still won’t last forever. 

Maintain the motorcycle battery for a longer lifespan

Even the best Harley-Davidson motorcycle batteries have to be maintained with care for them to last a long time. If the problem occurs in your bike’s battery, and you do not attempt to fix it, it’ll definitely take some time off the battery’s lifespan.

See also  How To Get Smoke Smell Out Of Leather Jacket: Proven Ways To Get Rid Of Any Smoke Smell

Storing the battery properly

When the battery isn’t in use for a longer duration, ensure that you are removing the battery from your bike and storing it indoors. When it is there, remember to keep it charged via a maintenance charger. Maintenance-free batteries can be left inside the bike, but they should still be connected to the maintenance charger.

Charging the battery fully

New batteries have to be fully charged before they are placed inside the bike and used. While it’s true, you can use a car charger for charging the motorcycle battery, it is safer that you use a smart motorcycle battery charger meant to charge motorcycle batteries. By doing so, you will be able to avoid frying your bike’s battery.

Resistance to weather

The maximum capacity of motorcycle batteries gets lower in cold weather, which is why you’ll find the need to replace the battery during the winter. It’ll be smart to store your bike in a heated garage during the winter months if you want to avoid having to purchase a new battery every winter.

Harley Battery On The Roof

What affects how long the Harley-Davidson battery lasts

There are many factors that determine how long a Harley-Davidson motorcycle battery lasts. Some of these factors can be predictable and vary from motorcycle to motorcycle and biker to biker. Here are some of the factors that affect how long the motorcycle battery lasts – 

1. Not charging the battery

This is one of the biggest culprits that define how long the motorcycle battery doesn’t last long. Each time the motorcycle battery is allowed to go dead, it reduces the capacity. This applies to Lead-acid batteries, LiFe batteries, and LiPo batteries.

2. How often do you ride your Harley-Davidson bike

One of the things that can sound counterintuitive is that Harley-Davidson motorcycle batteries that are used more often last longer than batteries that are left to sit for extended periods of time. When you aren’t riding your bike, ensure that you keep the battery on a battery tender. Battery tenders are designed for preventing the battery from discharging.

3. How the battery is charged

You should not confuse a battery tender with a trickle charger. Even though both of them are designed for the same job, a trickle charger could ruin a battery by overcharging it. 

In other words, keeping your Harley-Davidson bike’s battery on a trickle charger for a longer duration can damage the battery while also reducing its life. However, the tender’s quality is important, as cheap battery tenders could damage your bike’s battery.

See also  How to Change Oil on a Harley-Davidson Dyna: A Step-by-Step Guide

4. The quality of the battery

Another factor that determines how long your Harley-Davidson battery will last is simply the battery’s quality. Not every battery is created equal, and you are getting what you’re paying for. A cheaper battery of lower quality will not last as long as a motorcycle battery of higher quality.

Usually, purchasing OEM batteries or high-quality aftermarket batteries would be the best option. Of course, the battery needs to be fully compatible with your Harley-Davidson bike and its circuitry. 

Of course, batteries aren’t guaranteed that they’ll last for a long time. Some of them are good, while some aren’t that good. Sometimes, you can instantly tell if the battery is bad if it is taking too long to recharge after longer rides, or if the bike feels sluggish for no reason.

5. The external environment

Motorcycle batteries do not like cold. In fact, this applies to any battery. The colder the weather, the less charge they will be able to hold and the quicker the battery will discharge. A Harley-Davidson motorcycle battery can potentially freeze in certain instances. This is why during winter, it isn’t recommended that you should leave the motorcycle battery outside as the low temperatures could ruin your bike’s battery.

In some situations, Harley-Davidson motorcycle batteries that are exposed to cold temperatures could last as little as 12 months. On the other hand, heat could also do a lot of damage to your bike’s battery. Frequently exposing your Harley-Davidson bike’s battery to higher temperatures could reduce its life expectancy down to just two years.

6. Proper battery maintenance

The great thing for you is that proper care and maintenance of your Harley-Davidson bike’s battery isn’t very time-consuming. Of course, your Harley-Davidson battery should not be allowed to discharge completely.

Part of the routine maintenance would be cleaning the cables and leads a couple of times per year, depending on how often you’re using your Harley-Davidson bike. Moreover, you should make sure that the cables and leads are connected tightly, as the bolts can gradually loosen with time due to the vibrations in the bike.

7. The bike’s design

The bike’s design can also impact the life of the motorcycle battery. The battery location on some Harley-Davidson bikes might be one that predisposes the battery to higher temperatures, which could result in a decreased life expectancy of the battery. For instance, on some Harley-Davidson Softail models, the batteries might not last that long.

See also  How to Test Harley Voltage Regulator

8. Poor wiring in the bike

One of the ways you can ruin your bike’s battery is if your bike’s wiring is bad. Things like ground faults and parasitic draws can sometimes lead to the battery discharging quicker and eventually reducing its life expectancy.

9. How do you charge the new battery

One of the mistakes that new bikers make is using their bike’s battery immediately after purchasing it. A new lead-acid battery or even a lithium battery needs to be fully charged after purchasing and before using. A lead-acid battery needs to be charged at less than 10% of its capacity. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation at all times, as they have precedence over general recommendations.

10. How long do you ride the bike

The length of riding is another factor that will affect how long do Harley batteries last. Even if you are riding your Harley-Davidson bike daily, it might still not be enough to keep the battery properly charged and in a good enough condition if the trips are short. Short trips of a few miles at low RPMs will likely result in your bike draining the battery.

FAQs

How often should you replace your Harley-Davidson bike’s battery?

Typically, a motorcycle’s battery life is approximately 3-5 years. It can be better or worse depending on the usage of your bike and how you maintain the battery. Battery tenders are recommended to keep the batteries at their optimum charge level when you aren’t riding.

Does the Harley-Davidson bike’s battery charge while riding?

The relationship between the battery and engine functions is similar to the same way as a car battery. The alternator comes fitted with a regulator that charges the battery while you are riding.

Is it safe to jump-start your Harley-Davidson bike with a car?

Motorcycle batteries can be easily jump-started from another Harley-Davidson bike, car battery, or portable battery jump starter. Most bikers prefer keeping jumper cables in the car, so it should not be that hard to find someone willing to help you out.

Can a Harley-Davidson bike run without a battery?

While it is possible to run a Harley-Davidson bike without its battery, it isn’t advised that you should do so. Starting and running a bike without a battery doesn’t necessarily hurt the bike, but it will be a safety hazard for the rider.

Photo of author
Author
White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.