Harley Battery Care

Q: I have been told many different ways how-to maintain a Harley battery. I live in Florida and not able to ride as much as I would like. My last battery lasted about two and a half years. I would charge it about once a month before I would go for a ride. Now I am told to keep it hooked up to a battery tender all the time and it will last longer. What is the best way to maintain the battery when you are unable to ride much?
Thank you for your time,
Ron K

A: Hi Ron,
Thanks for the email. A trickle charger is best. You can connect a pigtail to your battery so you do not have to fuss with it. After a ride plug into the pigtail.
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41 Responses to “Harley Battery Care”
  1. Henry

    Go to Wal-Mart and buy a trickle charger for about $20.00 and hook it to your battery and the battery will last you for many years. I have four of them on different things and they all work great, haven’t had to buy a battery in I can’t remember.

    • dennis kranes
      dennis kranes

      yes on the tender, got 9 years out of my last battery, have installed pigtails on my leads, plug in 24/7, installed new battery las year, same procedure




    http://www.batterytender.com check out the battery tender junior, works great, just leave it plugged in all winter long or in between rides and your battery is always topped up and ready to go. I have even charged my car battery with this product and works like a charm.

  4. David

    A battery tender is absolutely the best way to keep your battery “fresh”. Plug in to your pigtail after every ride and your battery should last for many years. A trickle charger can and will over charge and boil out the water. A tender or “smart charger” will maintain the proper charge at all times without ever “overcharging” like a trickle will.

  5. Joe

    That’s what I’ve used for years,my battery is going on its eighth year..I plug that puppy in every time I’m done riding..Ride safe..

    • Greg

      I tried this site out cause I have absolutely no experiencewatched how to clean my battery didn’t show how to take the seat off

      • Drac Smith
        Drac Smith

        Depends on the model & year but on most models there’s a standard screw under the seat on each side and a screw that goes into the rear fender. Some models are easier. My Heritage it’s a breeze taking the seat off. On my Sportster it was a mild pain. With my Sportster I was not moving the battery unless I ABSOLUTELY had too. It was a serious pain getting the cables back on. On the Heritage it’s easy. So you might reconsider cleaning the terminals if you ride a Sportster or similar model. If you have a bigger bike no worries, it’s easy getting at the terminals and only mildly annoying getting the cables back on.

  6. Jeffery

    I have the tender Junior in my garage and in my trailer and they keep all five bikes perfect. They are the only way to go.

  7. Greg

    my first Harley was hoping to get videos on just the basic things have taken care of my bike but nothing comes up when I asked for them

  8. Edward

    Good afternoon, i bought a 2008 883 sportster. The battery has died and i can not get the seat to lift to recharge the battery. Can you help me? Spring is getting close and i want to fly.

  9. bob carrick
    bob carrick

    will having my 2012 softail plugged in to a battery tender harm the charging system. i bought a battery tender jr.


    I have read your responses about getting a battery tender for optimum performance. I agree a trickle charger did not even help my battery last 2 years. What is a good battery manufacturer to get? I saw a Battery Tender BTL14A240C Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery rated strongly. Any opinions??

    • David Rounds
      David Rounds

      Looks pretty good to me. I’d go for the Battery Tender Battery and Charger combo from Amazon for $145.33.
      I paid a shop $115 for a regular non-spillable Drag Specialties battery two years ago.

    • Gary Vieregger
      Gary Vieregger

      You can purchase a name brand “Battery Tender” or pick one up for half the price at Harbor Frieght. I have both and have not yet opened the name brand.

    • Neil

      Hi Guys/Girls – I have hooked up my 2 Harleys (Softtail and a Road King) with pig tails and use the NOCO genius G750 .75A model. It’s a smart charge for all batteries – wet/get/mf/efb/agm so covers all of your toys from bikes/auto/marine/lawn & garden. I’ve owned other tenders but found I was replacing the tender more often than the battery, now I have a long life tender giving me long life batteries. A little more money then the other chargers but you pay for what you get! As always Google the product and see for yourself if this works for you – for me there was no question. Ride long and ride safe! Comments for a Canadian Rider…..

  11. Allen Kelly
    Allen Kelly

    I swear by my battery tender I plug it in it won’t overcharge the battery but it always keeps it at a charged rate automatically as easy to hook up just plug them in the pigtail I managed to get a good four years out of the battery that way and even as many as five before two years was about it

  12. Mike Dougherty
    Mike Dougherty

    Perhaps a better term for what you want is a battery tender, or a smart charger. The Battery Tender or Battery Tender Junior are both good, and if you look around they come up discounted fairly regularly. There are cheaper versions (I won’t mention where) and more expensive ones too, so have fun researching! I’ve even used the little Battery Tender Junior to charge car batteries, though it takes a while at less than 1 amp output. I bought one when it was on sale and gave it to my mom, who found herself with two cars when my dad couldn’t drive anymore and she didn’t want to get rid of either one. Her ’95 Taurus battery would die after less than a month of sitting without the Tender Jr and was fine much longer with it.

    I will also add that you can probably skip the tender/smart charger/maintainer if you ride regularly (which I realize you don’t but maybe there are weeks when you’re on the bike more than once/week). An acquaintance who did ride very regularly seemed to get 40k miles out of his battery when he used the tender, and 40k miles when he didn’t. It did not take him long to put in 40k miles, and I’m totally jealous, except he goes through batteries faster than I do.

    It’s especially important to have a tender if the battery sits in the cold a lot.

  13. Russ

    I ride 10 to 15,000 miles a year I usually get 3 or 4 years out of a battery. I use a trickle charger in cold weather in the Chicago area.

  14. george blumfield
    george blumfield

    you guys are good! Want to change oil in my 2005 E’Glide forks-one is conventional (right) and left one is cartridge. Can’t change the left one without taking the fork out. It won’t come out after taking the front fairing off and try with a 2×4, but not with gorilla force (besides I’m 84 and don’t have much gorilla left in me)
    I’d join your website, but I may not be around much longer!!

  15. Mark

    I live in FL. Two years is all I’ve ever gotten out of a battery. My last H-D battery lasted 23 months. I too keep it on a tender when not riding, but that doesn’t seem to extend battery life. So, at the first sign of battery trouble or at the 24 month point, I replace it.

  16. Doug

    Battery tender (smart charger) only. A trickle charger will over charge and harm the battery.

  17. Ron P
    Ron P

    I know a guy with a 2004 Road King that still has the original battery. Whenever he is not riding it is kept in his garage and hooked up to a battery tender. That surprised me.

    • Douglas Ankrum
      Douglas Ankrum

      I’d be careful about what kind of ‘charger/tender’ you buy I have a Deltron that is great, but I have another battery that is connected to a ‘Chinese’ tender/charger…it cooked all the water out of a $130 battery….DOA…

  18. Tony Morris
    Tony Morris

    I got in a rush when hooking up my battery and crossed the wires. The bike always started up right away but since then it won’t fire at all. What could be the result of crossing the wires. I’ve been told I burned up the module,fuses and complete ignition.

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi, Tony. We would be happy to assist you. We just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your motorcycle?

  19. DPG

    Harley Davidson should include a battery tender with each new bike. They can throw in a suspension pump while they’re at it. I’d trade my catalytic convertor for it any time!

  20. Rich Nast
    Rich Nast

    Get your trickle chargers at Harbor Freight for $8.99 (with sale coupons often down to $4.99) Have them on all my bike, car and truck batteries..keeps them all topped up, instead of allowing them to totally discharge and freeze in winter which really kills them. Unless you ride nearly every day, a must for all bikers and classic car enthusiasts.

  21. donsbombers

    Hi is the auxiliary plug the same plug you plug in the HD battery tender into on 2015 Street Glide

  22. Sam Brustas
    Sam Brustas

    Best thing you can do is buy a CTEK charger. You can leave them permanently connected and just disconnect the pigtail (comes with the charger) when you go for a ride. You don’t need the 10 amp model. The smallest unit will do. We have 3 m/c’s and five cars. All of them have a CTEK charger and we leave them on all the time when the cars or bikes are in the garage. Our batteries last 5 to 8 years and that’s here in cold and wet Germany! Our riding season is 5 months at best. Check them out on the internet – you’ll be glad you did.

  23. Roy

    I’ve gone over 4 years with my “non Harley” battery by hooking it up to a Genus 750 trickle anytime I foresee a period longer than a week I might not ride. Sometimes it might be a month or two. I swear by it.

  24. Mark Jirjis
    Mark Jirjis

    I’ve been using a Trickle Charger for quite a few years and it seems to extend my Harley’s batteries life. The battery I have now is going on 4 years old and still going strong !! Hope I didn’t just JINX IT !! LOL !!

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

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