We hint you prefer not to explode

While I’m taking a course in motorcycle maintenance in April (let’s pause here for a round of “fuck YEAH!”), since April insists on coming after February, that leaves me “winterizing” my bike now like a big ignorant February-era slob.

Yeah. I know. That’s why I put the quotes there. In my defense, first I was cheap, then I was undecided, and then the store screwed up my order of winterizing schtuff. (I choose to blame the last bit.)

My “winterizing” is going to consist of throwing some fuel stabilizer in the tank (if that fuel isn’t already borked), then removing the battery from the bike and hooking it up to a battery tender. I may spray some WD40 in the tailpipe if I’m feeling cuh-razy.

I have seen the battery before, but I have never removed it before. I have actually seen the battery many times, from when I kept taking the seat off to gawk (seat goes on, seat comes off, seat goes on, seat comes off…).

I’m going to go ahead and not pretend I know more than I know. Because when you pretend you know more than you know? That’s WHEN BATTERIES EXPLODE. How do I know that’s when batteries EXPLODE? Because in reading up on how to do this, it is quite clear that batteries EXPLODE. Why are you being careful? Why are you hooking it up in the right order? Why are you connecting an (over)insulated battery extension cable to the negative battery post and not directly to the battery? SO THAT NOTHING EXPLODES*.

Back when I was 16, fresh off my Young Driver’s course, and the principle (um, I mean occasional, I LOVE U INSURANCE GUYZ!) driver of my mom’s circa Cold War Toyota Corolla, one of my favourite things to do was jumpstart the car. Which, given that the only “maintaining” the car got from me was a regularly refilled wiper fluid tank (but maaaan, was that bad boy filled), I got to jumpstart the car all the time. I would regularly stop and offer expert jumpstarting roadside assistance to pulled over cars with their hoods up. You’re welcome stranded motorists of my past.

But then I started driving more reliable cars. And started having to consult the owner’s manual to remember the proper sequence for a jumpstart hookup (“salt is salty!”).

Which leads us to today, when I’ve forgotten everything I ever knew about batteries, yet I refuse to let my Honey Badger sit one second longer un-tended to, now that I have my battery tender (okay, and I also bought a sticker for it because that is what owning a vehicle is about).

And when you’ve forgotten everything you knew, and everything you knew wasn’t enough anyways, you read.

And here I would like to submit for consideration that when potential consequences (however remote) involve the word EXPLODE, one should go ahead and spring for a proper translation of one’s manual. In connecting and disconnecting a battery, sequence counts. So allow me to share in stages how my manual suggests I disconnect the battery:

“Disassemble the front seat, disassemble the (+) positive battery wire…”

(wait for it)

“…after the (-) battery wire. Remove the battery.”


But if you’re really not sure what to do with your battery? You can go straight to the manual’s battery warnings to find out how to keep safe. Ahem:

“Keep after separate at the motorcycle for the minimum of self electric discharge and electric leakage when don’t use for a long time.”

Go on. Tell me that’s not sort of beautiful.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. But you might want to stand over there a bit… Little further…

* Wanna know why it could explode? Apparently a bit of hydrogen gas can collect around the vents of lead batteries (even sealed ones). So when they suggest you use an extension cord to connect to the tender, it’s a precaution against you disconnecting it incorrectly, and causing a spark near the battery. At least with the extension cord, your spark will be far away from the battery. Because spark + hydrogen == EXPLODE! The more you know.

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