With winter set in I thought it a good time to do a short write up on battery tenders and how they can prolong the life of your motorcycle battery. I’m constantly amazed at how many people don’t use a tender and even more amazed at how many experienced seasoned riders don’t use one and don’t know what positive effect a tender will have in keeping the battery working for a longer period of time. Prolonged life means less expense to replace the battery down the road. It also means you’ll be less likely to hop on your motorcycle to take a nice ride and find the battery dead, then have to take the time to remove it, purchase a new one, and install it. Some people don’t know what to do when their battery dies and will pay to have their motorcycle hauled to the shop, then spend even more to have the shop replace the battery for them. It just seemed a good time to dive into this topic with some information that can keep you on the road more with less expense and grief.
Why Do Batteries Discharge More Quickly in Cold Weather?
The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand.
Motorcycle batteries are designed to release a high burst of current, measured in amperes, and then be quickly recharged. They are not designed for deep discharge, and a full discharge can reduce the battery’s lifespan. So when a cold battery discharges faster which drains the battery it will cause a deep discharge thus reducing the life of the battery. A hot battery will simply not hold its charge as well which will also cause a deep discharge thus reducing the life of the battery. A battery tender will keep the battery at full charge during these conditions thus prolonging the batteries life by preventing deep discharge and recharge.
Bottom Line on the Effect of Temperature on Batteries
-Cold batteries hold their charge longer than room temperature batteries but will discharge faster when used at cold temperatures, thus causing deep discharge and reducing battery life.
-Hot batteries don’t hold charge as well, thus causing deep discharge and reducing battery life.