Replace or Recharge?
Battery replace or recharge?
It’s about to be that time of year where the weather is getting cooler and the rides will get fewer and farther between. This is also the time of year that plays hell on our batteries. Higher temperatures will increase the battery’s ability to deliver current to a load; At higher temperatures, the chemical reaction rates that determine self-discharge or internal loss will increase. On the other hand, as it gets cooler out the battery’s ability to deliver current to a load is reduced. What does this means for your bike; harder starts on a weaker battery. If your battery is weak now it will only get weaker in the coming months.
How long should my battery last? The answer to this is dependent upon several variables; Some of which we will not cover at this time. As with anything in our industry, proper care is the key to longevity. If you know or even think when you park your bike that you may not get back on it for a few days you should always plug it in to a float charger. Float chargers are great due to the fact that anytime you are storing your bike it can be plugged in and left until the next time you ride. No worries about overcharging your battery because it will only maintain the optimal charge needed for your battery. If I get four to five years out of a battery and it is still magically starting my bike, I personally would replace it anyways to avoid having to ask the ever annoying, “Will you push me so I can pop my bike?”. As much as I don’t mind helping anyone out, I still hate being the guy that has to ask or get offered while I am scanning the local layout for a small hill. Most batteries are good for two to three years but with proper care and use of a float charger you can add as much as three times the normal battery life. Lets face it; The more vigilant you are about battery maintenance, the more money and headaches you save yourself from in the long run.
Battery technology has come a long way. No longer are the days of needing to top off your 15lbs lead acid battery. Some of today’s riders are hooking up a computer controlled smart charger to their 1.5lbs lithium Ion battery. So if your still topping that battery off when needed… good on ya… but its time to upgrade. There are a few options when upgrading from the old vented battery; You can get an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) sealed battery, Gel Cell, or Lithium Ion. Just remember when shopping for your new battery; Good parts are not cheap and cheap parts are not good. To sum it up… If your battery is vented or more than four years old its time to replace it and if you buy and use a float charger then you should never have to recharge unless your having charging issues. Maybe we’ll cover that next time.
Thanks a ton for reading,
Schaaf’s Cycle Garage
1215 Telegraph Rd.
Arnold, MO 63010