By Erik Watkins

Can You Jump Start A Motorcycle Battery With A Car? How?

Last updated: Mar 11, 2023

Jump-starting a motorcycle battery with the help of a donor car is the immediate solution we often think of when our motorbike refuses to operate. But hold on; let’s solve certain issues surrounding this method first. For one, is it even possible? More importantly, will it bring any unwanted harm to the vehicle’s overall performance?

Scroll through this inclusive guide, and you will find your answer. Let’s head in! 

Can I Jump Start A Motorcycle With A Car? How To Do It? 

Yes, certainly you can! Our expert team has compiled seven simple steps to follow. But note that the donor car’s battery should be 12V, meaning that large trucks are a big NO (most of them deliver 24V).

Trace along with caution:

Step 1. 

Double-check that the car and motorbike have been turned off, with the latter being in neutral and the kill switch turned on. 

Step 2. 

Pull off the panels and battery cover to expose the vehicle batteries. If you find protective rubber layers on the booster battery terminals, 

Prepare the cables for the next step.

Step 3.

The rule is: Positive to positive (both red) and negative to negative (both black)

Take the red cable (+) and clamp one end on the positive (+) terminal of the bike’s dead batteries. Avoid letting them touch other metal parts. 

The other red end (+) should be connected to the car’s positive (+) terminal.

Step 4.

For the black cable, just hook up one clamp on the negative (-) terminal of the dead battery. 

Step 5. 

Return to your bike. Here comes the trickier part of our guide:

First, hold the remaining black clamp (-). Connect this clamp to any metal surface you can find on the bike, provided there’s no coating or paint. Cases in point are screw nuts or internal frames. 

Sparks might happen when the last clamps are connected – which is normal. Still, be cautious. 

Also, when jumper cables link with dead or weak batteries, flammable gas (hydrogen) will emit; the farther the distance between your negative clamps and batteries during this “sparking,” the better. 

If possible, attach the clamps to the brake disks. Otherwise, connect them to the motorbike’s negative terminals. 

Step 6.

Put the motorbike key into its ignition and switch “ON.” Press it, and your bike will roar to life! 

Step 7.

What’s next? Leave it running at the moment. In the meantime, remove all jumper cables by reversing the attachment order:

  • Remove negative clamps (-) on your bike
  • Remove negative clamps (-) on the car
  • Remove positive clamps (+) on the car
  • Remove positive clamps (+) on your bike

Once done, return the rubber layers to their position (on the terminal’s top). 

What Issues Should You Confirm Before Jump-Starting Your Motorcycle?

Before turning to jump-starting as a last resort, remember that sometimes, a starter motor may fail to work due to extremely simple reasons (most of which can easily be treated). 

Confirm whether these issues are at play and fix them whenever you can:

Is There Gas In Your Bike Tank? 

One common check before any trip is to double-check whether the tank has enough gas. Yet, for some reason, riders often overlook this step altogether! Some even assume that since their gas gauge reads “Full,” checking the tank a second time is unnecessary. 

Things are not so simple; gauges are not immune to malfunctions, after all. So the best bet is to jolt the bike and listen for gas sloshing inside the motorbike. After confirming there is INDEED gasoline, go on to investigate:

  • Are the fuel pumps operational?
  • Does the gas make its way to the carburetor? 

Any “No” to either of these questions demands immediate fixes. 

Is The Clutch Engaged? 

Engaged clutches can make an absolute difference between a frustrating and relaxing trip! Even for bikes in neutral, having the clutch engaged sometimes is a MUST for some bike models. 

Another possibility is that this clutch switch might suffer from damage; pump it several times and see whether that can reset its system.

Note that resetting damaged clutches should only be a temporary solution. Over time, clutch replacements will be inevitable. 

Is The Motorbike Put In The Correct Gear? 

Some bikes demand BOTH engaged clutches and neutral transmission to operate. 

Hence, if you are still unfamiliar with your freshly-bought bike, one great tip is to engage the clutch and switch to neutral in one go. That can help troubleshoot the issue and save you from embarrassment in public places! 

Is It Dangerous To Jump Start Motorbikes with Cars? When Is It Alright To Do So?

Jump-Starting Motorcycle

No, for the most part. But improper jump-starting techniques using cars might indeed cause damage. That’s why we only suggest it if you have already exhausted other methods (an issue we will return to later). 

Again, it is a must that the car and motorcycle batteries had the same voltage (both are 12V batteries, for instance). The charging would be easy and effective in that case. 

Things You Should Avoid When Using A Car to Jump-Start Your Bike

Do Not Turn The Car On

Ensure you have turned off the car first. Even when the two vehicles share similar electrical systems and batteries, they are by no means equal. So if the car is still running during the process, you may risk frying the bike completely. 

Do Not Clamp The Cables In The Wrong Way

Confirm that they are correctly clamped to sidestep further issues. 

Things might get trickier if your car has big jumper cables – as the motorbike batteries and their installment boxes are smaller and way more cramped. 

A little fiddling here and there might be needed to connect everything in order and foster a successful motorcycle engine jump-start. 

Other Jump-Starting Methods for Your Motorbikes

  • Use Another Bike. The procedure is similar to using cars, except you may find it more challenging to access the terminals. 
  • Use Jump Starters. We recommend these portable devices as a must-have tool for long-distance trips, excursions to remote areas, or solo rides. 
  • Push Start. No need for a second helping hand from your friends or even strangers. The sheer force required here is your own strength to roll and push the bike! 


What’s The Best Way to Jump-Start A Bike?

Push-starting will be the best, as it barely leaves any performance damage to your motorcycle. 

Is It Possible to Use A Car to Jump-Start Scooters?

Yes. Scooters are actually considered by many as a type of motorbike. 


Our helpful tricks on jump-starting dead bikes with cars can be extremely handy in emergencies.  Note down other jump-start alternatives – just in case – and write to us if troubles linger.

Automotive Mechanic at PowerAll

With 7 years experience in management positions leading automotive mechanics at PowerAll, Erik Watkins wishes to share useful knowledge and information about automotive mechanical equipment.


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