How To Start A Harley With A Dead Battery?

For many people, a Harley motorcycle is much more than just a mode of transport. It is the dream of commuters, road trippers, and wannabe cowboys. The feeling of riding a Harley motorcycle cannot be understated, but having a dead battery can cut short the pleasant feeling. So, what happens when the battery dies off and how to start a Harley with a dead battery?

At one point or another, we’ve all experienced this. It can be unpleasant, especially when you rush out to meet up with an appointment.

The good news is that we have you covered on what you should do whenever you find yourself in such a situation. The truth remains that you can always start your Harley motorcycle even when the battery is dead, and that is what you get to find out on this page.

Can You Start Harley With A Dead Battery?

Yes, you can start a Harley Davidson with a dead battery by pushing it (bump start) or using jumper cables from another bike. The jumper cable method only works with older carbureted Harleys. And for bump start, you’ll need to put the bike in 2nd or 3rd gear, correctly hold the clutch, and call out for a helping hand.

However, using jumper cables is not recommended for electronic fuel injection motorcycles or motorcycles that have been sitting for an extended period, as this can cause damage to the fuel injection components. So

Can You Start Harley With A Dead Battery

Reviving your Harley battery will take some time if the battery is dead completely. In the meantime, you can use another vehicle as a source of power. In this case, you’ll have to connect the positive (+) cable first and then connect the negative (-) cable.

How To Start A Harley With A Dead Battery?

You must prepare yourself for the evil days if you own a Harley. That simply means you should at least do yourself some good by learning how you can start your Harley motorcycle just in case the battery goes dead.

How To Start A Harley With A Dead Battery

So, without further delay, let us go through the five methods to start a Harley with a dead battery.

  • Push starts the motorcycle
  • Using a battery jump starter
  • Using another car battery
  • Using another motorcycle

1. Push Starts The Motorcycle

You can push start a Harley Davidson with a dead battery, but the procedure does take some strength. For people who are used to riding motorcycles, this is no problem, but it could be difficult for most people.

The Harley must be in neutral (without the kill switch turned off), and you must hold the clutch all the way while pushing it.

  • Locate a smooth and less busy road: To start your motorcycle through this method, you need a less busy road because your motorcycle needs some momentum, and a busy road will not make it possible.
  • Shift the Harley into second gear: You can use the first gear, but the outcome might be aggressive on some motorcycle, which then causes it to lurch forward and then displace you from the bike. So, it’s best to start with the bike in second gear. You can also put it in the neutral as these two are the easiest and safest.
  • Pull the clutch and push your Harley: The next step is for you to push the bike. You can do this either by running alongside the bike, having someone push you, walking your bike forward, or running down a slope. Keep in mind that the bike needs to run as fast as five mph to get the motor to turn over.
  • Release the clutch and initiate some gas: If your bike is in the second gear, you should give it some gas while you can get some momentum. Once the motor starts, you can then go ahead to ride as you should. Just ensure that you keep the engine running as it will help to recharge the battery to hold some charge.

2. Using A Battery Jump Starter

It is easy to jump-start a Harley. Everyone has a dead battery on their bike at least once. Just follow these simple instructions, and you’ll be back in business in no time.

Steps to starting a dead battery using a battery jump starter:

  • Keep both motorcycle and jump starter off: To start with this method, you need to keep your motorcycle engine turned off, and the jump starter need to be switched off as well. It is best to start this way as it is a safety measure to ensure you get the right result and stay safe.
  • Connect the cables: Most of the jump starters come with cables which makes the task easy. Therefore, you need to locate the red handle, which is positive, and connect it to the positive terminal on your battery. Do the same for the negative terminal. The negative cable is black, and you will see the negative sign on it. So, it is easier to know where you should install it on your battery. The cable installation has to be right; or else, the battery will not recharge at all and might cause an electrical outbreak.
  • Turn on the starter pack: Now that the cable is all set and you have confirmed the connection, you need to start the starter. To do this, you just need to set the jump starter to the correct voltage. Check the voltage of your battery and set it accordingly. i.e., if your battery voltage is 12V, you should set the jump starter voltage to 12V.
  • Start the motorcycle: You should then start the motorcycle, and once the bike starts, remove the negative clip first from the negative terminal of your battery and then the positive clip. If, after trying this method, your bike will not start, it might indicate that the battery cannot hold any charge and needs replacement.
  • Ride around: Once the bike starts, pack the jump starter and then ride the bike around for some minutes to have the battery charged so it can store some energy.

3. Using Another Car Battery

In the absence of all the methods above or with abortive trials, you can try to revive the battery of your dead Harley using another car battery. Mind you, you need jumper cables, and I’d recommend using the TOPDC Jumper Cables.

  • Expose the two batteries: You need to expose the two batteries to easily do the task. Ensure you open the car’s bonnet to have access to the battery and then remove the cap on your motorcycle battery as well.
  • Install the cables: Next is to install the jumper cables on both the batteries. First, locate the positive terminals on the two batteries and connect the red jumper cables’ positive ports. Do the same for the negative and then move on to the next step.
  • Start the car: The next step is to start the car and then leave for 45 minutes or more for the battery to hold a charge. After that, disconnect the cables and start the motorcycle. Keep in mind that you need to disconnect the negative cable first and then move on to the positive.
  • Keep the motorcycle running: You should keep the motorcycle running for a longer period to ensure that it can keep a charge for you to start it easily on the next attempt.

4. Using Another Motorcycle

This method I mentioned just above isn’t always limited to car batteries. You can use another bike to charge your dead Harley battery if that’s what the situation demands.


At first, it might seem a difficult task for you, especially if it is the first time experiencing a dead battery situation. However, with this page explaining how to start a Harley with a dead battery, you can always find it easy to get your motorcycle to work without stress. You can use any of these four methods, but I would suggest starting with a bump start as it’s the most accessible and hassle-free way to start a Harley with dead battery.

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