Does A Motorcycle Alarm Drain The Battery? The Surprising Truth


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Many people want to install an alarm on their motorcycle to give them some security for the times it is parked outside somewhere. But most of these alarms are aftermarket and have to splice into your existing wiring, which raises questions for consumers.

Does a motorcycle alarm drain the battery? Motorcycle alarms are constantly pulling current from the battery so it is possible to drain it. If you frequently ride your motorcycle, battery drainage shouldn’t be a problem since it gets recharged during every ride. However, if you let your motorcycle sit for weeks at a time, battery drainage is more likely to occur with an alarm installed.

Having owned several motorcycles while attending college with no garage, I had to get creative with how I secured my motorcycles. Using an alarm was one of those ways. Here’s what I know about using an alarm on a motorcycle from personal experience and here’s what you can do to optimize using a device like this.

Why An Alarm Can Drain A Battery

So, why does a motorcycle battery get drained by an alarm? There are several different reasons why this may happen. The drainage is largely dependent on the type of alarm that you are using. Many different types of alarms function very differently.

Many different aftermarket security systems are available. Many of which will use proximity sensors in order to know when someone is getting too close to your bike. If they get too close or start touching the motorcycle, it can set off an alarm that will hopefully scare them away and bring attention from others.

If you use a security system that utilizes a proximity sensor, the sensor itself will require a constant voltage in order to power it. This will be a small power draw on your battery constantly. While this may not drain your battery immediately, over time this can drop your battery voltage too low for the motorcycle to start.

Many alarms systems are also what are known as two-way systems. This means that there is a transponder that you would keep on you. This would allow you to press a “panic” button if you wanted to. These systems will send out a signal to the transponder on a predetermined interval just to verify communication. This will also draw some power as your motorcycle will constantly have to be powering the alarm system.

Depending on the type of alarm system, there could be other things drawing on your battery. If you are looking into purchasing a new alarm system, it is good to understand how that specific alarm system works. This will give you an idea of the power draw that you can expect and ways to get around that if necessary.

If you leave your motorcycle parked out in public, you might start to worry about it when you are not around. People can easily damage your motorcycle or vandalize it. You may want an extra level of security to give you some extra piece of mind.

How To Prevent Battery Drainage From An Alarm

So how can you prevent your battery from draining when you have an alarm connected? There are actually a couple of tricks that you can use to still utilize alarm systems without worrying about the drain on your battery.

The first trick would be to use a battery tender when you are not riding your motorcycle. These devices will slowly charge the battery as it is being drained to keep the voltage up. One major con to this is that it must be plugged into a power outlet somewhere. If you are out somewhere where you cannot plug it in, there is not really any benefit to this.

Another helpful trick is installing a simple toggle switch from your battery to the alarm system. This will allow you to essentially turn the alarm system on and off when you want to. That way if you go downtown for the night, you can leave your alarm on. Then if you head back home and will not ride your motorcycle for a few days but you are sure it will be safe; you can just turn the alarm off. Since I’m a bit tech-savvy, I opted for this option a lot with my motorcycles and it worked great.

Lastly, it’s good practice to not let your motorcycle sit for more than a week or so without riding it. Take it for an occasional ride, even for just a few minutes, to restore that current the alarm was using.

Other Ways To Keep Your Motorcycle Safe Without Installing An Alarm

Taking extra measures to secure your motorcycle is always a smart idea not only for your motorcycle, but also for your wallet. Motorcycle insurance companies will often give discounts when motorcycle riders take these extra measure to secure their motorcycles. You can see our other page here that lists insurance companies near you and compare quotes that work with your budget.

Perhaps you want to secure your motorcycle but do not want to deal with the hassle of an alarm system draining your battery. What can you do? There are quite a few different types of motorcycle security devices out there that you can use instead of an alarm system. These will make sure that no one takes your motorcycle without the possibility of draining your battery.

The first of these is a ground anchor. This is a strong thick strap that goes through the wheel of your motorcycle and anchors to various surfaces. They make anchors that connect to walls, into concrete, and that bolt into various surfaces. This system can be installed to make sure that no one ever steals your motorcycle from your house. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use these systems anywhere else that you go.

Something similar that you can use out in public is a chain with a padlock. This is something that can easily be taken with you no matter where you go.

Another cool invention is a disk lock. These are locks that connect to the brake disk on your motorcycle and prevents the wheel from turning. These are convenient because they are very small and simple to install and remove as well as easy to store when not being used.

You can learn other ways to prevent your motorcycle from getting stolen by reading our other article here.

Conclusion

It is possible for a motorcycle alarm to drain the battery, though the motorcycle would have to be sitting for a while. There are certain ways to combat this, including using a battery tender, installing a toggle switch, and ensuring the battery’s charge is restored during routine rides.

Luckily there are additional ways to secure your motorcycle if you feel that an alarm isn’t for you, though I still do find a lot of worth in using a contraption like this. Have you guys ever used a motorcycle alarm? Which one worked best for you?

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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