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How to Remove and Install a Motorcycle Battery

A cartoonish picture showing a guy standing next to a motorcycle holding a battery with a question mark above his head.

Which battery terminal do you connect first on a motorcycle? Red or black? Positive or negative?   The + or the -? Help!

Most people that dabble in the world of motorcycles are also not afraid to tackle some of the maintenance associated with riding a motorcycle. One of those simpler tasks is removing and replacing the battery. Unlike a car, the battery is typically under the seat or hidden somewhere else on the bike. After all, there is no hood to put it under!

While not terribly convenient, by hiding the battery and cables, the manufacturer protects the battery and keeps your bike looking clean and slick.  One problem with this approach is that every motorcycle or ATV is different, so you must locate your battery before getting started.

That is, you need to know where it is located before you can remove it. The best source for this is your owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, the internet is your friend! However, before removing the battery, you should get the correct replacement motorcycle battery picked out.

BatteryStuff.com offers several good quality motorcycle batteries by Yuasa, Scorpion, Shorai, and Antigravity Batteries. Our batteries typically offer same-day shipping during weekdays as long as the order is placed before our 1:30 PM PST cutoff.

Once you have located the battery box in your application, we can get into the process of removing and replacing it.

You might ask, what order do you connect a motorcycle battery?

Before we answer that, it is essential to remember that the Positive cable is always red.  And usually black, the Negative, or ground cable,  can be brown or more like a strap with exposed woven wiring. If you trace this cable, it will go directly to a bolt on the frame or engine.

But do you connect red or black first on a motorcycle battery? You always connect the RED one first. Always!  This prevents any chance of accidentally shorting, sparking, or arcing your battery. Failing to do so can result in damage to your motorcycle.

If you always remember that RED is positive and uses the + symbol, and Negative or “Ground” uses the – symbol, you will avoid finding out what happens if you accidentally connect positive to negative. (Spoiler: it’s not good) That’s pretty much it, but to summarize:

How to REMOVE a motorcycle battery:

  1. Locate the battery
  2. Disconnect the negative cable(-)
  3. Disconnect the RED, positive cable(+)
  4. Remove the battery from the battery tray or box.

*Pro tip: If multiple cables are going to each battery terminal, get your phone out and snap a picture before disconnecting anything. You’ll thank yourself later.

How to INSTALL a motorcycle battery:

  1. Install the battery in the motorcycle tray or box.
  2. Connect all RED positive cables to the terminal marked with +, including the charging harness, for your battery tender.
  3. Connect all Black or negative cables to the battery terminal marked with a -.


*Pro tip: tear off a bit of cardboard from the box your battery came in and stick it in the battery terminal, under the securing nut that came with the new battery. This will lift the nut and prevent it from falling out during installation.

That’s it! You are done. Easy peasy. If you are wondering, “Do I need to do anything after installing a new motorcycle battery?” The answer is also an emphatic YES! Take the rest of the day off and go for a ride! But, if you don’t have time for a ride, connect your new battery to a battery tender so it is ready to go when you are ready for that ride!


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