Should you Jump Start your Motorcycle? Can you do it with a dead battery?
Should You Jump Start Your Motorcycle?
There are many reasons why a motorcycle won’t start, so it makes sense to determine whether the battery is the issue before attempting to jump start your bike.
- Make sure there is gas in your tank.
- Make sure the kill switch is off.
- Check that your petcock is on. This mainly applies to older, carbureted bikes.
- Check your spark plugs. Clean off any excess carbon build-up, make sure they’re gapped correctly, and change them out if needed.
- Put your bike in neutral and/or pull in the clutch. Try starting your bike in neutral and with the clutch pulled in. Some bikes have a built-in safety mechanism to prevent the rider from accidentally starting the bike when it’s in gear.
- Put the kickstand up. This is another safety mechanism on some bikes.
Can I Jump Start a Motorcycle With a Dead Battery?
Check Your Lights
- The battery indicator will be on when there are any issues with the battery, like a faulty connection or low voltage.
- If your battery is drained or dead, the headlights and backlight on the instrument panel will likely be dimmer than usual or may not work at all.
Check Your Battery’s Voltage
If the battery is completely dead (literally zero V), there’s no use trying to jump start it, so check the voltage first.
- If you have a voltmeter or multimeter, switch the setting to DC, and place the leads on the positive and negative terminals of the battery.
- A good voltage (V) reading depends on the size of your battery. For a 12-V battery, a full charge is 12.66 V, and 75% charge is 12.45 V. Anything below this may not be able to start your motorcycle—especially for modern, fuel injected motorcycles.
If you’ve determined that your battery is undercharged but not totally dead, you can try jump starting it.
There are four ways to start a motorcycle with a dead battery—with and without jumper cables:
- Using another motorcycle
- Using a car battery
- Using a portable battery jump starter
- Push starting