Motorcycle batteries Q & A!
Q. Which specifications have a little room for variation from the original specifications without causing any problems—for those times when replacement has to happen, but the exact spec motorcycle battery is not available?
A. There are ways to modify either the location for the battery install or use a hold-down kit to get replacement battery to fit.
Q. What does cold cranking amps mean in terms of battery life or performance?
A. Cold cranking amps (CCA) directly correlate with battery performance. The higher the CCA, the better a battery can perform at start-up. CCA is the current that a battery can deliver for 30 seconds at 0°F.
Q. What about batteries for electric bikes—what different types of batteries are in use for those?
A. Electric bikes tend to use different battery chemistries more usually found in mobile phones. These are expensive and can be unreliable in automotive applications.
Q. I’ve heard that a “quick charge” is better for a battery than a slow charge—is that right and if so, why?
A. A quick charge is better for ODYSSEY batteries as it improves performance from deep discharge and ensures that the battery spends the maximum amount of time fully charged. Fast charging does not benefit all battery technologies and can reduce the life on most products.
Q. I’ve heard that a “wet” or lead-acid battery can “sulfate” under certain circumstances, which damages the battery. What is that and how can it be prevented?
A. Conventional AGM or flooded wet-cell batteries that are not sealed have a tendency to spill acid, which can cause corrosion at the positive terminal and its surrounding area. Consider a replacement battery that has a sealed, non-spillable design. (Also, see the response in the next question.)
Q. What are the key things to do to preserve battery life year-round and for winter motorcycle storage?
A. Proper maintenance and storage practices will ensure the battery’s reliability and longevity.
Charging: Conventional AGM or flooded batteries wet-cell batteries may experience permanent damage and not recover their full capacity if they are only partially charged when put into storage, even if they are charged prior to reinstallation (an exception is the AGM-VRLA battery, such as the ODYSSEY battery, which has excellent deep discharge recovery capabilities that enable it to tolerate such storage abuses better than other batteries).
Chronic undercharging also will cause excessive sulfation deposits that will not break down with a normal recharge, leaving the battery prone to failure. Only proper charging will break down internal sulfation and prevent its from accumulating in the battery. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the proper voltage for a full charge.
Storage: In addition to charging the battery, the battery should be stored at an appropriate temperature, especially when the outdoor climate is very cold. Consult the manufacturer’s manual for storage temperatures and recommendations.
Q. What are the key safety steps to take when handling, installing, removing and servicing a battery?
A. Always wear safety glasses and gloves when handling, installing, removing and servicing a battery. Do not hold the old battery against your body. Any spilled battery acid and/or corrosion could damage your clothes, or worse, your skin.