How often should I start my bike?

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by GimmeFuel, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. GimmeFuel

    GimmeFuel Member

    In these freezing temps, how often should I start my bike to ensure the battery doesn't die and to keep the bike from sitting for too long? Is it enough to start it, or is it also important that I ride it around as well?

    Also, what is the lowest temp at which a carbureted bike will start?

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

    No need to start your bike. If you have "Winterized" your bike, and have the battery tender on it...a fully charged battery is protected well below 0*F...with a lightly "covered" bike.

    Winter Storage - Harley Davidson Community

  3. GimmeFuel

    GimmeFuel Member

    The only protective measure I have for my bike is a breathable cover. Right now, I can't afford a battery tender. What other steps can I take to protect my bike against the temps?

    Since I don't have a tender, how often should I start it?
  4. TQuentin1

    TQuentin1 Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    DO NOT just "start it" to keep the battery charged. It will not really do that without taking the bike out for an hour or more ride. Starting the bike and running it for short periods CAN actually do more harm than good since the oil will not get up to high enough temperatures to drive off the condensing water inside the engine and oil tank. That water will combine with the combustion products in the oil and form acids. These are hard on the internal components of the engine and also hard on the oil.

    Your best bet if you do not live in a year round riding area, is to winterize the bike by at least the following:
    • Change the fluids (engine oil, chaincase lube, tranny lube)
    • Fill the gas tank completely adding a fuel stabilizer
    • Put a battery tender on the battery to maintain it
    • Jack the bike up off the tires and put it on blocks or a lift
    • Cover the bike with something like a sheet
    You mentioned that you can't afford a Battery Tender. I see the Battery Tender Jr. on sale for nominally $20, so with S&H, it will be under $30. Think about getting one of these. It is well worth the investment since it will prolong your battery life.

  5. Iceman24

    Iceman24 Well-Known Member

    If you own a bike & live in cold/non-riding winter area(s) - battery tender is a must have. If you can't afford one - put it on your XMas list. This way your scoot can hibernate in peace. Otherwise...remove the battery & bring it inside, charge in the spring & re-install in bike. Don't want to leave the battery out in cold & definitely no need to start bike in winter.
  6. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

    All the above is sound advice. If you can't afford a charger, remove the battery and keep it in a place that does not go below freezing. Put a charger on your wish list.
  7. horizonchaser

    horizonchaser Senior Member Contributor

    Definitely do not start it for a few minutes to charge the battery! You are better off not starting it than to do that. The condensation within the engine from that brief start will do more harm than good. Follow the advice of others above and you'll be all right. :s
  8. GimmeFuel

    GimmeFuel Member

    Well, the fluids were changed at the end of October. So, I'm good there. I should also mention that I pretty much ride year 'round, with the exception of about eight weeks in the winter. So, I wouldn't say that I necessarily need to store as I need to take preventative measures. Would all these steps remain the same, with the exception of putting the bike on blocks.

    Also, I don't have a garage to put it in.
  9. oldhippie

    oldhippie Senior Member

    Do you have any kind of battery charger??

    If you do or can borrow one for a short time: Another option is once every week or two go turn the bike lights on for a short time then turn them off and put a charger on the battery and bring it back to full charge. I do this with my garden tractor battery just to keep them active.
  10. lakeforktx

    lakeforktx Active Member

    You can get a Motorcycle battery charger thing "like a batt. tender" just a differnt brand at walmart for less than $ 20.00 ! They work good. I have 2 of them on some jet skis and another one on a boat... I don't need one on my Harley cause I ride it atleast every couple weeks.....