Can You Jump Start A Motorcycle With A Car?

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No one enjoys trying to start up their motorcycle only to hear a couple of clicks and realize that the motorcycle won’t be going anywhere soon.

This feeling is usually accompanied by realizing that you have a dead battery. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to fix it.

While there are many different ways, jumpstarting a motorcycle is quite simple, but can you jump start a motorcycle with a car?

The answer is yes! Among the many things you should and should not do, jumpstarting your motorcycle is one.

Since this method is usually done as a last resort, I will go over everything you need to know about jumpstarting your motorcycle with a car so that it does not damage.

Everything About Jump Starting Your Motorcycle With A Car

Learn if it's ok to jumpstart my bike with a car or not

There will be a lot of different sources and people offering different views and opinions about jump starting your motorcycle in general, so much so that it can become difficult to figure out who you can and cannot trust.

With so many do’s and don’ts, it can become even harder to keep track of what you should be doing and how you should handle starting your motorcycle.

Luckily for you, I will be giving you solid advice on when you should jump start the motorcycle, what happens when you do so, and whether or not you should make a habit of this.

When Should You Jump start Your Motorcycle With A Car?

Many people typically view this as a bad option, and I would agree with them. You should try and avoid jump starting your motorcycle with a car, and this is for reasons that I will explain later in the article.

For now, you should know that while this is not a good idea, it is still something you can consider if you are in desperate need to jumpstart your motorcycle.

If you have a car or a neighbor willing to lend a hand, you can grab some jumper cables and start the process.

However, due to the difference in the voltage systems in a car battery and a motorcycle battery, things may get messy if you make a mistake however if you do so cautiously and carefully, you should have no problems jumpstarting your motorcycle with a car.

What Happens When You Jump Start A Motorcycle With A Car?

The average battery of a motorcycle runs on a 12-volt system. This is typically what you should expect from a good motorcycle battery when you start the motorcycle.

This is why you should not crank any motorcycle for more than 15 seconds, as much of the equipment is also built for 12-volt systems.

If you keep cranking the motorcycle, you will risk heating up and burning the starter and other components.

This is also what you risk when jump starting a motorcycle with a car battery, as when doing so with a good car battery, the voltage does not go below 13V, which can lead to motorcycle damage and shortening of the battery and starter coil failure.

When jump starting motorcycles with cars, always make sure to do so carefully and look out for any smoke or visible damage.

Is Jump Starting Your Motorcycle With A Car A Bad Idea?

Overall you should be able to see that jumpstarting your motorcycle is a very bad idea and that you should make sure that you only consider it when you have to.

While it may get the job done, it risks a lot of the components of the motorcycle itself, including the battery, which can overheat and have its electrolytes start to boil. Plates can begin to band, and the battery may even catch fire.

Each battery has its charging rate, and when you try to jump start a motorcycle with a car, this charging rate is usually exceeded, which is the root source of all the problems and the excess voltage.

Be very careful when you jump start a motorcycle with a car as it is a bad idea, but it is incredibly risky.

Things To Consider Before And After Jump Starting Your Motorcycle With A Car

The following factors should be considered before and after jump starting your motorcycle. Make sure you keep an eye on these factors as these are really important.

1. Assessing The Situation

Before you start to jumpstart your motorcycle with a car, you should have a good idea of the problem and whether it can even be fixed with a jump start.

If you recall leaving your motorcycle’s parking lamps or forgetting to disconnect a device from the motorcycle, the steady drain of power from the battery may cause the problem, in which case a jump start should be able to fix it.

This is also the case if you left your motorcycle unintended for a long period without a trickle charger. The battery discharges over time if you do not use the motorcycle for too long and can be recharged by a jump start.

Make sure the cause is not a lack of fuel, a dead battery, or even the safety switch before you conclude that the only way to fix your motorcycle is by getting it jumpstarted.

2. How To Jumpstart A Motorcycle With A Car

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can jumpstart your motorcycle using a car battery:

  1. Have all of your equipment ready, and make sure that both vehicles are completely turned off.
  2. Open the hood of the car and remove any protective caps on the terminals of the battery.
  3. Make sure the red clamp is connected to the positive terminal of the motorcycle battery and it does not touch anything. Connect the black clamp to the motorcycle frame.
  4. The second red clamp should also be connected to the positive terminal of the car and the black one to the car’s negative terminal, again making sure the clamps do not touch anything.
  5. Start the motorcycle, let it run a few minutes to warm up, and disconnect the jumper cables.
  6. Disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order of how you connected them, making sure they do not come into contact with anything else.
  7. Leave the motorcycle running until you can get a proper recharge, and make sure the car stays off until the process is completed.

3. What You Should Do After Jump Starting Your Motorcycle

Now that your motorcycle has been given a boost, there are a few things that you can do that will make sure that the motorcycle will retain its charge.

The first thing you should do is make sure that the battery is still healthy and can last you for a couple of years. This can be done with a simple voltage test.

After jump starting your motorcycle with a car, the next thing that you should do is take it out for a spin to recharge the battery.

This ride should be fast-paced and food a good amount of time, but overall, it will depend on the battery’s heath, which you should have established with the voltage test.

It will also depend on how well you ride the motorcycle. If you are not confident in your driving, you can go to a mechanic and have your battery recharged to avoid driving for an extended period.

4. Alternatives To Jump Starting Your Motorcycle With A Car

Since you now know that jumpstarting your motorcycle by a car is a bad idea, here are a few alternatives you should consider when in need of a jumpstart:

  • Jumpstart the motorcycle with another motorcycle.
  • Use a portable jump starter.
  • Push start the motorcycle.

Jump starting a motorcycle with another motorcycle has the same method of doing it as with a car and has you doing the same things afterward.

Using a portable jump starter is easier as you do not need another vehicle. It is a tool that you can pack with you for long distances and can be helpful whenever you are in a jam.

Push starting, or bump starting, is another method of starting your motorcycle, which you can easily do yourself with any cables.

You need to push the motorcycle on an empty road and shift into the second gear, pull the clutch and start the motorcycle, then release the clutch and give the motorcycle some gas. This should get the motorcycle running.

Things To Care Of When Jump Starting A Motorcycle With A Car

While I have tried my best to persuade you to look for a better jump-start for your motorcycle than using a car, sometimes it is the only option.

You should take care of these things to prevent damage to your motorcycle’s battery and other components.

1. Do Not Start The Car Or Keep It Idle

When you charge the motorcycle’s battery and do so with a car, you cannot keep the car turned on or idle as this will send a lot more voltage and electricity to the system of the motorcycle, leading to permanent damage to the electronic systems of the motorcycle.

2. Do Not Hold The Start Button For Too Long

Charging the motorcycle’s battery with a car pushes a lot more voltage into the motorcycle’s electrical system than it can handle.

Holding the start button for an extended period will only increase the chances of you frying your starter motor and coils.

3. Have The Right Jumper Cables

When getting equipment for the whole process, you should ensure that the jumper cables you select are just the right size.

Car cables can work, but because of their size, they are very difficult to attach to the terminals of the motorcycle.


The answer to the age-old question, “can you jump start a motorcycle with a car” is not one many would hope to hear.

While it definitely can get the job done, it is a very risky method and requires caution to be carried out successfully. You risk damaging the battery of the motorcycle and various other parts as well.

Hopefully, you will understand this and make sure to only jump start your motorcycle with a car if you are in dire need to do so and will instead try the alternative methods mentioned in the article.

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