Can you Use Car Jumper Cables on a Motor Cycle? Is it Safe?

You might be considering getting a set of jumper cables if your bike has ever stalled and you do not want to go through the frustration of push starting your bike again.

Or, perhaps you plan to go riding and want to have the necessary emergency kit on hand in the event of a battery failure.

Wondering if you can jump a motorcycle with a set of car jumper cables or even use a car battery to jump?

Then this post is for you. It talks about whether you can jump a bike with car jumper cables, the risks you’d be aware of, and even whether you can use a car battery to jump the bike so that you are better prepared the next time your bike or your fellow rider has a bike with a flat battery.

Quick answer: Yes, you can use a set of jumper cables to boost and start a motorcycle whose battery has been drained flat. You can use either car jumper cables or motorcycle jumper cables.

You may also be interested in the post: Is it normal for a set of car jumper cables to spark when being connected?

What Gauge of Jumper Cables to Use with your Bike?

12 AWG size car jumper cables or lower will work right away as the currents drawn by the bike are considerably lower than what car jumper cables are designed to handle.

ODP motors vs TEFC motors
ODP motors vs TEFC motors

Motorcycle jumper cables tend to be of a lower diameter compared to car jumper cables. While you’re likely to find various gauges available, it is common to find 4 feet, 14 gauge jumper cables, or the longer 10 gauge, 8 feet long cable.

Battery Clamps and Cigarette Lighter Adapters

Motorbike jumper cables may have either cigarette light adapters on either end or battery clamps.

If the jumper cables have alligator clamps, make sure that the positive (red) clip is connected to the positive terminal on either battery.

The negative clamp should be connected to the negative terminal on the car or motorcycle with the good battery while the negative clamp on the other end should be connected to the chassis of the bike with a flat battery.

With cigarette lighter adapters, all you need to do is plug them into the cigarette lighter socket of the bike and the car or the bike with a good battery.

Is It Safe to Use Jumper Cables with your Bike?

Using jumper cables to start a bike using another bike’s battery or car battery is generally safe provided:

  • You do not accidentally reverse the polarity of the battery cable connections.

The positive of one battery should be connected to the positive of another and similarly, the negative of one battery to another negative terminal. This can be an issue if the jumpers have alligator clips.

  • Make sure that the batteries have the same voltage system. Do not charge a 12V battery from either a car or bike to charge a 6V battery.
  • Do not start the engine of the car with the good battery. In some cases, the voltage spikes generated have damaged the bike’s electronics.

Lastly, always take the necessary safety precautions when handling batteries.

Wear safety glasses. Attempting to charge a damaged or shorted battery can cause an explosion.

Can You Use a Car Battery to Jump a Motorcycle?

If the bike has a 12V system then yes, you can safely use a car battery to jump the motorcycle.

All you do is plug the jumper cables cigarette lighter plug in both the car and motorcycle’s sockets and wait for about 10 minutes.

You should be able to start your bike if its battery is not damaged (not shorting and can hold a charge)

If the bike has a 6V electrical system, do not use a car battery otherwise you will damage the bike’s battery.

You can instead use a 6V battery jump starter or another bike with a charged 6V battery

How to Jumpstart a Motorcycle using Jumper cables

What to Check:

  • Confirm that the bike’s voltage system matches that of the car or bike being used to jumpstart.
  • If using a car, do not run the engine as the higher voltages generated can damage the bike’s electronics.

If the bikes have cigarette sockets, plug either end of the cigarette adapter of the jumper cables into the bike or car’s socket and wait for about 10 or minutes to charge.

Do not start the car with a good battery

Using Jumper Cables with Alligator Clamps: Order of Connecting Jumper Cables

  1. For the car or bike with a good battery, first, connect the red (positive) clamp of the jumper cable to the positive battery terminal (marked with a + sign).
  2. Connect the second red clamp of the jumper cable to the positive battery post of the dead battery (marked with a + sign)
  3. Next, connect the black clamp to the negative post (marked – sign) of the good battery.
  1. Finally, connect the second black clamp of the jumper cable to the exposed, unpainted part (inside the hood) of the bike with the dead battery.

Allow the dead battery to charge for about 5-10 minutes and then attempt to start the bike with the dead battery.

Order of Disconnecting Jumper cables

  1. First, disconnect the black clamp of the jumper cable from the exposed, unpainted part (inside the hood) of the bike with the dead battery.
  2. Next, disconnect the black clamp from the negative post (marked – sign) of the good battery.
  3. Then disconnect the red clamp of the jumper cable from the positive battery post of the dead battery (marked with a + sign)
  1. Lastly, disconnect the red (positive) clamp of the jumper cable from the positive battery terminal (marked with a + sign) of the good battery.

Related questions

Can a Motorcycle Jumpstart a Car?

This is not advisable. You risk damage to your car’s battery when you do this because of the high current drawn by the car during the start.

The motorcycle battery is usually not designed to deliver such high currents.

As an example, the motorcycle battery may be designed to supply 200 – 300 CCA while a car battery typically supplies about 2 times, 700+ CCA.

To charge a car battery, use a car battery charger instead of a battery pack jump starter to charge your battery.

Final Thoughts

If the motorcycle battery is flat or drained, you can use car or bike jumper cables to jump start it.

Make sure though that the voltages of the god battery in the bike or car match those of the bike with a flat battery to avoid damage to the car.

Do not start the car during the 5 -10 minutes when the battery is being charged as the voltage spikes generated can damage the bike’s electronics.

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