Can You Jump-start a Motorcycle With a Car? Keep Car Off

Yes, you can. But make sure your car is turned off and keep it off.

Warning: battery manufacturers only recommend this as a last resort. Car batteries are bigger and carry a bigger amperage (bigger power), and can damage the motorcycle. However, if you find yourself in this predicament, don’t worry. We got you covered. This article will give you the details on jump-starting a motorcycle with a car. 

Why you might need to do it

You will never know when your motorcycle battery will start acting up. Murphy’s law can happen when you out have a good day’s ride, you park somewhere to take a photo of a great view, and then your bike refuses to start – the battery is dead, for now at least.

What’s more unfortunate is that you forgot to bring your portable jump starter. Your next best option is to ask the stranger nearby if he can jump-start your motorcycle. But before you do that, let’s try to isolate the issue. 

Make sure:

  • your motorcycle has a gas
  • killswitch is set to off
  • petcock is on (if you’re riding an older carbureted bike)
  • check your spark plugs. If there is a carbon build-up, clean it up. Also, check the gap.
  • your kickstand is up

As mentioned, jump-starting your motorcycle via a car battery is the last resort. Therefore, after checking the items in the above list, put your bike on neutral, pull the clutch in, and try to restart it again. This is just an attempt to check if you can start the bike independently.

The Jump-Start Process

A jumper cable is a necessary tool to jump-start your motorcycle using another battery. So, hopefully, you or the driver in the other vehicle helping you has one. 

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Here are the steps. 

Step 1

Turn off both vehicles. Access the car battery by opening the car hood and removing the battery terminal caps on both vehicles. Remember: keep the car turned off. Turning it on can and will damage the motorcycle battery.

Step 2

Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal of the motorcycle battery. Ensure that the clamp doesn’t touch any metal parts. Connect the black clamp to the motorcycle frame (choose an area that’s free from paint or chrome to avoid scratching it). It’s strongly recommended not to connect to the negative terminal of the motorcycle battery directly to prevent damaging it. 

Step 3

Connect the other red clamp to the car battery’s positive terminal to ensure that the clamp does not touch any other metal parts. Ensure that the connection is POSITIVE TO POSITIVE. Then, connect the black clamp to the car battery’s negative terminal. Ensure you do not accidentally touch the positive clamp. Again, do not turn the car on.  

Step 4

Start the motorcycle. Unless the battery is damaged, it should start immediately. Let it run for a few minutes to warm up the motorcycle engine before disconnecting the jumper cable. 

The steps above are true whether you are jump-starting from a car or another motorcycle, with one key difference:

  • The car is turned off during the jump-starting process, and this is to minimize the chances of damaging your motorcycle battery.
  • The motorcycle with a good battery immediately starts running after you jump-start it.

Since the power rating for a bike to bike is the same, the precaution observed with a car is not necessary. 

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What to do after you have successfully jump-started your motorcycle

1. Disconnect the jumper cable –  removing the jumper clamps requires starting with the negative clip on your bike. 

2. Ride Around for 30 to 40 minutes on high rev to help charge the battery (there is no need to do this if you’re planning to replace the battery). 

Jump starting can help you in these scenarios

Your battery’s condition is good enough to accept and hold a charge in the following scenarios.

Did you leave your bike parked with lights and devices still on? When you park your bike, please turn off the lights, turn off the devices, and lock it. Did your bike sit for a while without a trickle charging?

Don’t feel bad if you drain the battery with this method, it can be easily solved by jump-starting.

Voltage is a good indicator of how much power is stored. If the battery is full, it will produce a higher voltage than an empty one. When the battery is at its lowest level, the voltage will be lower than normal.

Situations you can’t solve with a jump start

If jump starting is ineffective, it might be time to replace it. Batteries have an expected life span and should only be replaced when they show signs of wear and tear. A good indicator is if the battery’s charge indicator drops below a certain level.

It’s great to have a product with a long lifespan, but there’s only so much mileage you can get out of a battery that lasts for just a few years. You can, of course, always purchase a new battery when the old one reaches its end of life, but it’s a bit of an expense that most people are trying to avoid. 

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They will inevitably wear out and finally lose their ability to accept and hold a full charge.

A jump start may not work. The bike will probably shut off as soon as the method of jumping is removed from the dead bike’s battery.

A replacement battery is a way to fix the problem of your battery giving out. Whether it’s dead or low, check your bike for warning lights that tell you there’s a problem with the battery. A new battery will make your bike run better than ever.


So, what’s the bottom line? 

When your motorcycle’s battery dies, it’s an integral part of your bike. When your bike is running on a dead battery, it can be a frustrating experience. If you have a motorcycle, you’ll know that you’ll need to jump-start it. 

This is an easy, cheap, and safe way to jump-start your motorcycle. It’s also a great way to get your bike running when your battery has died. 

You can jump-start your motorcycle quickly and easily by following these simple steps. 

Thanks for reading and see you next time.