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Replacing your dirt bike battery without making a trip to the mechanic

Whether your dirt bike is electric, engine-powered, or electric start, there's always a battery that works in the background, powering the bike to set the wheels in motion. They are usually long-lasting components that do not scream for your attention. And we take that for granted until the bike is struggling to start. Whether you are looking at a dead battery or one that is almost at the end of its lifespan, replacing your dirt bike battery is a bike ritual you can totally take on by yourself. And, it will be all the more worth your effort to learn how to.

What is a dirt bike?

A dirt bike is a lightweight motorcycle variety designed for off-road use.  These have more suspension travel, a smaller gas tank, smaller engines, a shorter wheelbase, and knobby tyres. Dirt bikes are either electric or petrol-powered. They have either 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines. There are 8 types of dirt bikes -Motocross, Trail, Enduro, Dual Sport, Flat Track, Trials, Hillclimb, and Supermoto.

What are the signs that your dirt bike battery needs changing?

  • Your bike will not start; the ignition fails. The engine cranks over slowly or does not crank at all.
  • When your battery does not get fully charged and is left for an extended period of time deprived of charge, the battery begins to discharge. As a result, lead active materials on the battery plates will corrode with the sulphate from the electrolyte to form lead sulphate on the plates. Soft sulphation is reversible if the batery is serviced early. Hard sulphation is permanent, and you will have to replace the battery.
  • A bumpy or swollen battery is potentially dangerous to use. Discolouration, leakage, broken terminals, bulges, and cracks in bike batteries are signs of a failing battery.
  • A battery that can't hold a charge is an aged battery. You will notice that the battery drains soon after charging. A lethargic-sounding starter is also caused by an old battery that discharges faster.
  • Badly corroded battery terminals are an indicator that your battery is in its final stages. Cleaning the terminals can help the battery survive. But, if the terminals are broken, you need to get a new battery.
  • If your battery is 3 or 4 years old, it means it has hit its full age, and replacing the battery can avoid future bike trouble.

How to remove a dirt bike battery?

  • Before you remove the battery, read the service manual. It contains all the useful information for locating parts on your bike.
  • Putting your bike on a stand, remove the seat and/or side cover to access the battery. Remove the battery cables (terminals) in the correct order, disconnecting the negative cable (negative terminal) first. It is usually black and/or braided. Then, disconnect the negative cable/negative terminal (coloured red).This is to prevent a possible circuit that can cause a short. Most bikes use the frame as a ground, and any metal part near the positive terminal can have electricity travelling. By removing the negative side first, you can avoid “grounding out” the battery.
  • Remove the battery from the bike, carefully unfastening any rubber straps, foam blocks, or metal pieces securing the battery.
  • Replace with a new battery of the same size and power.
  • Some acid batteries come without the acid, which means you will have to get them filled at the bike shop.
  • Clean the terminals before placing the new battery. Consider fitting a trickle charger harness to the terminals, so there's no need to open casings to connect the battery to a charger.
  • Place the new battery in the housing.
  • Connect the cables in the reverse order; red or positive cable first, then black or negative cable.

Maintenance tips for your dirt bike battery

  • A trickle charger or smart charger can keep your battery charged without overcharging if you are using your bike less than weekly.
  • Do not use a car charger to charge dirt bike batteries. It charges at a higher amperage that can damage a bike battery.
  • Remove your battery and keep it plugged into a smart charger in a warm place during winter. Extreme cold temperatures can drain the battery fast.
  • Inspect the battery at least once a month.
  • Clean the battery terminals periodically.
  • Check for loosened connectors at the terminals
  • Check for any leaks in the battery.

Replacing your bike battery can give your bike a new lease of life. Thankfully, it's not something you have to do too frequently. Therefore, invest your time and energy in taking care of the battery for prolonged use. Buy genuine spare parts and durable dirt bikes at Mini Bikes Off Road.

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