How To Jumpstart Your Motorcycle With a Car

A dead battery is an unfortunately common and nerve wrecking occurrence. Whether it happens on a long road trip, or early one morning before work, it is never a good experience to find that your car or motorcycle won’t start. Dead batteries have been the culprit of many otherwise avoidable latenesses and awkward pleas for help from strangers for myself.


If your motorcycle battery dies unexpectedly, you will need to jumpstart it before it can get on the road. In really desperate situations, you can jumpstart your motorcycle with a car. Because a car batter puts out 12V, this will not harm your motorcycle, however, when the car is started, the voltage that it puts out is increased and this might cause damage to your motorcycle. This means that the process of starting a motorcycle from a car is much different from starting another car.

Whereas for a car, you would turn on the car with the working battery, wait a few minutes, and the turn on the car with the dead battery, the car should not be turned on when jumpstarting motorcycle. In order to avoid damaging your battery, be sure to read all of the instructions carefully especially if it is your first time trying to jumpstart your motorcycle with a car. While manufacturers do not recommend that you start a motorcycle battery with a car battery, it can be done safely if you know what you are doing.

​What You’ll Need

  • Car with good battery
  • Motorcycle Battery Jumper Cables

Before you get started with jumpstarting your motorcycle from a car, consider other possible options first. For example, push starting your motorcycle is one of the easiest ways to attempt to start it and does not even require jumper cables. This can be done by taking your bike up on a hill and asking someone to push you down.

The bike key should be switched to on and the bike should be in second gear. Hold the clutch lever and build speed. Then, release the clutch and press the starter button once you feel the engine start. Rev the engine to prevent it from stalling. There are things to take into consideration for this method as well, however, and you may not have anyone with you to help. For more urgent situations, you may want to know how to start your motorcycle with a car.

Likewise, there are other solutions such as a battery saver or even a standard battery charger / trickle charger. Battery savers are extremely useful especially if you do not ride your motorcycle every day.

They can be plugged in while the bike is off and will automatically charge your battery once it detects that it’s getting weaker. In the same vein, you can start your motorcycle easily with a standard car battery charger or trickle charger.

These methods, however, are not useful in an emergency situation. If you motorcycle batter unexpectedly dies and you need to start it, it is best to know how to start it from a car using a car and jumper cables.

Get Started

Step 1: Ensure that your motorcycle is not out of gas

This may seem like a silly step and out of the way, but it is definitely possible to confuse an empty tank for a dead battery. Before you attempt to jumpstart your bike, double check that it is not simply out of gas.

Step 2: Turn off both vehicles

After you checked your gas tank and got what you need together, make sure that both, the engines of the car and the motorcycle are turned off. Lights, radio, and anything else that uses battery power from both vehicles should also be switched off. This should be done before connecting the jumper cables for your safety. Leave the car off until the motorcycle is started and it is disconnected from the jumper cables.

Step 3: Connect the jumper cables to the motorcycle

Once everything is turned off, connect the red clamp of one end of the jumper cable to the positive terminal of the motorcycle battery. It is important that the clamp is not touching any other metal it will conduct the charge from the car battery.

Then connect the black clamp to a part of the motorcycle’s frame. This will work as a ground and is safer for the battery than connecting directly to the negative terminal. Be sure to choose a spot that is not painted or chrome in order to prevent scratching and discoloration. You can also choose a piece of metal that is not connected to the motorcycle.

Step 4: Connect the jumper cables to the car

Step 5: Start the motorcycle

Open the hood of the car and locate the battery. Remove any protective caps over the terminal. Take the other red clamp, making sure everything is connected properly, and attach it to the positive terminal of the car battery. The clamp should only be touching the terminal. Do not touch any metal parts of the jumper cables while you are connecting them. Next, connect the black clamp to the negative terminal. Do not turn the car on.

Once all the cables are connected, you can start the motorcycle. You should be able to start it almost immediately unless the battery is extremely low. Let the engine run for a few minutes to make sure that it gets a stable charge and warms up. After the motorcycle is started it is safe to ride. You might want to keep the engine on for a while before you turn it off in order to build up the battery’s charge.

Step 6: Disconnect the cables

Making sure to touch the cables only by holding onto the rubber, disconnect the cables in the reverse order as you connected them. Disconnect the black then red cables on the car, and then the black and red cables on the motorcycle. Make sure that they do not touch any metal. After the car is completely disconnected, it is safe to start.


A dead battery on a car or bike can be a scary experience especially if you are in an inconvenient place for it to happen such as a parking lot or a different state. In order to prevent getting stranded or needing to call for help, it is best to know what you are doing.

Be sure to note that it is very important to not start a car that is connected to your motorcycle battery. A running car battery will put out too much charge and can damage your bike’s battery.

On long trips, make sure to carry jumper cables just in case your battery unexpectedly. Do not be afraid to ask someone for help starting your battery if you need it, most people will not mind taking a few minutes out of their day to help someone out.

Consider purchasing a battery saver or trickle charger to prevent your battery from dying especially if you do not ride your bike every day. If knowing how to start your motorcycle with a car helped you, comment your experience and share the article. You never know when the information will become useful.

Bradley Miller

There is nothing that compares to the feeling of controlling a thundering beast beneath you. In addition to the joy of the ride a motorcycle has many advantages over any other vehicle. You learn how to drive the smarter way with traffic rules on the road; also you are always in the state of complete-awareness when on the ride.

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