A multimeter is the best tool for testing the battery on your 1999 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
The electrical system on a 1999 Harley-Davidson motorcycle is comprised of a number of parts and components, such as the ignition, lighting, and charging systems; these systems allow the motorcycle to operate. The motorcycle relies on a fully-charged battery to power these components. However, if the battery is not sufficiently charged, or has lost its ability to maintain a charge, the motorcycle will be incapacitated. Checking the battery often, with the aid of a multimeter, can prevent problems before they arise.
1. Locate the battery on your motorcycle. Softail and touring models house their battery under the rider’s seat, requiring you to unbolt the seat from the frame. Use an Allen socket to remove the bolts, and lift the rear of the seat upwards. Pull the seat towards the rear of the motorcycle to disengage the seat tabs, then pull the seat away.
Alternatively, Sportster and Dyna models place the battery in a tray on the left side of the motorcycle. Pull the frame’s side cover away from the motorcycle to access the battery.
2. Prepare your multimeter. Set the multimeter to DC (Direct Current) at an “X1” range. Connect the red lead to the multimeter’s “V” or “+” port. Connect the black lead to the multimeter’s “COM” port.
3. Place the ignition switch in the “Off” position. Connect the multimeter’s red lead to the battery’s positive (+) terminal, followed by the black lead on the negative (-) terminal. The multimeter should indicate a voltage between 00.00 and 13.00 volts. An adequate voltage for a Harley-Davidson battery is 12.2 to 13.00 volts. Remove the black lead from the battery first, followed by the red lead.
4. Charge the battery with an automatic battery charger if the battery’s voltage is less than 12 volts. Test the battery with your multimeter again. If the battery’s voltage remains below 12 volts, replace the battery.