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Can I Jump Start My Motorcycle?

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 4/14/2022

Jump starting a motorcycle battery

With warm weather on the way, it's time to get ready for another riding season. If you're having a hard time starting your motorcycle after pulling it out of storage, it might be because your battery is discharged. Fortunately, you can jump start your motorcycle battery the same way you would a car or truck. Follow these step-by-step instructions to help jump start your battery and get you back out on the open road.

What Jumper Cables are the Best?

When jumping any vehicle, the first thing you need is a pair of jumper cables. Most jumper cables through are designed for cars and trucks. Because of this, they feature larger clamps which can be difficult to connect to the smaller terminals found on a motorcycle battery. For that reason, it's much easier to use a pair of jumper cables made specifically for motorcycles.

How to Jump Start Your Motorcycle from Another Motorcycle

When connecting the jumper cables, be sure not to touch the clamps together. This is important because vehicle batteries give off hydrogen gas, which is flammable. Touching the clamps together will cause them to spark, which can interact with the hydrogen gas. With that in mind, follow these steps to safely jump your motorcycle.

  1. Position the two vehicles so that they're close enough for the jumper cables to reach both batteries.
  2. Attach the clamp on the red cable (+) to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  3. Attach the second clamp on the red cable to the positive terminal of the working battery.
  4. Attach the black cable (-) to the negative terminal of the working battery
  5. Attach the other end of the black cable to an unpainted metal surface on the dead bike.
  6. Start the motorcycle with the good battery and allow it to run for a few minutes
  7. Start the dead motorcycle. You may have to try a few times before the engine kicks in. Once it starts, keep both bikes running for a few minutes.
  8. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order of how they were connected. Start by removing the black cable from the metal surface of the dead bike, then disconnecting the black cable from the jumping battery. Next, remove the red cable from the working battery, then disconnect the red cable from the dead battery.
  9. Drive the "dead" motorcycle for around 20 minutes in order to give it the time it needs to charge back up again.

Can You Use a Jump Pack on a Motorcycle?

You can also jump start a motorcycle using a jump pack. Jump packs are portable batteries designed to help start up your motorcycle without the need for a second vehicle. When selecting a jump pack, be sure that the model you choose is compatible with your battery's voltage rating. Most motorcycles run on 12-volt batteries. The GB20 Genius Boost Sport from NOCO is perfect for motorcycles and will provide up to 20 jump starts before the unit needs to be recharged. Jump packs also feature smaller clips that are ideal for getting at hard-to-reach batteries.

How to Jump Start Your Motorcycle Using a Jump Pack

Some jump packs have different voltage settings, so before you begin, make sure that the unit is set to the same voltage as your battery (most likely 12-volts).

  1. Attach the positive clip (red) to the positive battery terminal.
  2. Attach the negative clip (black) to an unpainted metal surface of the bike.
  3. Turn on the jump pack.
  4. Push the starter on your motorcycle for no more than 2 or 3 seconds. Any longer than this could potentially burn out the jump pack.
  5. If the bike won't start, wait a few minutes then try again.
  6. Once the motor starts, disconnect the negative black clip, followed by the positive red clip.
  7. Drive the motorcycle for around 20 minutes in order to give it the time it needs to charge back up.

Can You Jump a 12-Volt Motorcycle Battery with a Car?

It's also possible to jump start a motorcycle using a car battery, but you should only do that as a last resort. Car batteries have higher amperages than motorcycle batteries and using them to start your bike could potentially void the warranty on your motorcycle battery or burn out some of the electrical components on your bike. The most important thing to keep in mind when jumping a motorcycle battery from a car is to KEEP THE CAR TURNED OFF AT ALL TIMES. The car's battery will be strong enough to power your motorcycle without turning on the engine.

Batteries Plus is Your Motorcycle Battery Headquarters

Having trouble with the battery in your motorcycle? Batteries Plus can help. We offer free battery testing at every one of our 700+ locations. Just bring in your battery and we'll let you know if it has enough life left in it for another summer. If you need a new battery, we have flooded, AGM and lithium replacement options. Looking for ways to maintain your motorcycle battery? Learn about the different types of motorcycle chargers, then shop our selection of motorcycle battery chargers online or in-store.

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