Battery on cold nights - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Battery on cold nights

Ive got a 2012 Vstar 950. The battery is fairly new. I ride my bike everyday to work and plan on doing so through the winter season. However, the battery seems to be drained in the morning. Sometimes I have to push start her. No problems in the afternoon when the temp comes up to the 40s.. It recently just starting getting cold here (20-30s) at night. I should also mention my drive to work is only 2 miles.

Should I plug up my battery tender Jr. every night? Maybe the two mile trips to and from work arn’t sufficient to keep the battery fully charged?

Any sugesstions would be great!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 09:00 AM
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The battery on my wife's 650 custom eventually died even though it tested good every time I took it to the auto parts stores. I even started troubleshooting relays/starter and other components, but then decided to just put a new battery in and viola it fixed all the starting issues. Bike was sitting in the cold weather for a couple of weeks and no problem with starting it up after that long time with a new battery. So I suggest to try another battery and also check the charging voltage (should be around 14 V) to make sure battery gets charged.

I keep batteries on tender for maintenance and battery life reason when bikes garaged for a winter.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:38 AM
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IF you are in NC I will bet you have 20W40 or 20W 50 oil in you bike. 20Wxx is only good down to 40F. Colder than that and it gets thick and the bike will be hard to start, and the oil may not flow all the way to the cams on top of the heads.

A lead acid battery should last four years. I dont know if that fits your definition of 'fairly new'. The exception is: if the battery went dead at any time, and was not recharged again within a day or so, it will be compromised.

So thats two things to consider: if you want to ride in the 20's or 30's F you need a 10W... or even a 5W... oil. If you have that and it still wont crank your battery has given up on you.

Last edited by KCW; 12-14-2017 at 10:45 AM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by SaltyBreeze88 View Post
...Should I plug up my battery tender Jr. every night? Maybe the two mile trips to and from work arn’t sufficient to keep the battery fully charged? ...!
I would have to agree with this.


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... A lead acid battery should last four years. I dont know if that fits your definition of 'fairly new'. The exception is: if the battery went dead at any time, and was not recharged again within a day or so, it will be compromised...
Last Feb I failed to run my DRZ or hook up a battery tender for the whole month. Seeing as how there's a constant draw on the battery because the DRZ has a digital speedo and the stock battery is pathetically small the 7 month old battery was basically trashed because I allowed it to go dead. It was a mild winter and night temps only got down into the 20s.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 11:30 AM
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IF you are in NC I will bet you have 20W40 or 20W 50 oil in you bike. 20Wxx is only good down to 40F. Colder than that and it gets thick and the bike will be hard to start, and the oil may not flow all the way to the cams on top of the heads.
Good point, KCW. BUT )) Last year I rode my old Stryker thru December when temperature was dropping below 35 on some days and oil was 20w50 and I never had any starting issues. It didn't have any problems turning the crankshaft because of the oil viscosity always starting after "half-turn".

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 12:03 PM
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its all a question of how long it cold soaks overnight. If its 35F outside and the bike is in your garage, it might not even get below 40F.

If your bike is outside and it drops to the low 20s overnight, then you are well below the rated 40F for 20Wxx oil.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 12:08 PM
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its all a question of how long it cold soaks overnight. If its 35F outside and the bike is in your garage, it might not even get below 40F.

If your bike is outside and it drops to the low 20s overnight, then you are well below the rated 40F for 20Wxx oil.
Bike was outside and some nights it was freezing... Not that I'm arguing or something just saying that I never had starting issues with mine after it sitting outside over a freezing night. I agree that oil viscosity must be chosen based on temperature range.

IMHO he has a bad battery/faulty charging system.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 02:00 PM
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my 3 yr old yusa still starts the bike in 20 degree temps with 20/40 amsoil, i would get battery with more cold cranking amps if that one isn't working for you, sometimes my starter clutch will slip in real cold temps so ill put a heat gun to it for a minute or so

dumb bikers don't get to be old bikers
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 02:31 PM
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Need to be clear that having too thick of an oil is not just a starting issue in cold temperatures. If the oil is too viscous it will not flow properly to all the bearings in your engine and transmission

and the oil flow is.... well... necessary.

I have to plea back to the sacred text written by the creators: your owners manual. The engineers put those temperature vs oil weight graphs in there for a good reason - trust me on this, engineers have better things to do than to waste their time on things that dont matter.

I normally run 20W40 in my 650. Its rated to be good down to 40F. That is a good cutoff temperature for me, because where I live if its down to 35F or less there can be black ice on the roads, so its a good ride/dont ride temperature. I could put 10W40 in the bike and ride down to 10F. Not going to.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Wow. Thanks for all the replies everyone.

I bought the bike about three months ago and the previous owner told me he changed the battery last summer (so a little over a year old). However, he did not inform me when the oil was last changed. He just told me all maintenance was up to date following the manufacturer's suggestions. I know, I know. I should've asked for specifics. The bike was garage kept with low mile so I trusted him. The 12K mile oil change is due, so I will make sure to change it to 10W-40 and see if that helps. I hate to purchase a new battery if one isn't needed. I checked it and I am getting 13.8V on the voltmeter.

It only seems to be a little sluggish in the morning, when the temps are cold. By the afternoon, it starts up with no problem. And with my short drives, I figured I wasn't keeping the battery charged enough for those cold mornings. That's why I was wondering if a battery tender overnight would be ok.

Ill keep y'all posted. Again, thanks for the help.
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