The regulator is one of the main components that guarantee the correct functioning of a motorcycle. When this component fails, multiple situations can occur where the vehicle may stop working properly and other engine components may be affected. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the symptoms of failure in the regulator of a motorcycle.

However, before mentioning these signs, it is important to explain what the regulator is and what its function is.

What is a motorcycle regulator?

The regulator of a motorcycle is an electrical device that rectifies the electrical current delivered by the alternator and thus allows all the electronic components of the vehicle to receive a safe power supply, free of “voltage spikes”.

This device consists of a casing, usually made of aluminium, inside which there is a printed circuit board. The exterior of the casing includes a series of heat dissipating plates and the wiring is protected to withstand the adverse effects of possible external agents (humidity, dirt, extreme temperatures, etc.).

The regulator is usually located under the vehicle chassis at the front of the engine, and another function is to convert AC voltage (alternating current) to DC (direct current). If this function is not fulfilled, faults may occur in the regulator itself or in the other related components.

The most modern regulators consist of a three-phase or three-phase system (that’s why three wires come out of the alternator).

Symptoms of a motorbike regulator failure

In the event of a fault in the AVR, two situations may occur: the AVR does not allow the current received from the alternator to flow or the current received from the alternator is not processed correctly by the AVR and therefore provides incorrect power supply.

The following are the most relevant symptoms of failure in the regulator of a motorcycle:

  • The engine of the motorcycle stops running. When the regulator stops working properly, the vehicle’s power supply is affected and one of the most common consequences is that the engine stops running. Other electrical components may also be affected.
  • The motor of the motorcycle does not start or develops a poor start. Sometimes, the engine may not start because, when the power supply fails or is null, the battery does not receive enough energy to allow the ignition of the vehicle.
  • The battery overheats. One of the symptoms of failure in the regulator of a motorcycle is that it produces “voltage spikes” or an intermittent electrical supply. This can cause the battery to overheat or even explode.
  • Control panel failure. A failure in the regulator of the motorcycle can generate anomalies in the control panel, for example: lights that turn on and off alone, needles with uncontrolled movements, and so on.
  • The motorcycle’s short and long range lights flash or do not come on. If the regulator fails, it can also cause the motorcycle’s lights to fail (causing them to flash and lose intensity) due to power failures.
  • Excessive internal temperature of the regulator. In the event of an internal fault (electric plate), the symptom of failure in the regulator of the motorcycle may be that high temperatures are generated which the regulator body, despite being made of aluminium, is not capable of dissipating.
  • Abnormal engine noise (cylinder failure). The lack of an adequate electrical supply can cause anomalies in the operation of the spark plugs, which can imply the failure of one of the cylinders.
  • Switching on the electric fan. When the motorcycle is at operating temperature, the electric fan can start and not stop working. This symptom of a failure in the regulator of a motorcycle can indicate that the installation is short-circuited, sulphated or damaged.
  • Battery indicator light on the panel. If an anomaly is detected in the electrical system, the corresponding indicator light on the instrument panel illuminates. This indicates that an electrical component is malfunctioning.
  • Engine pulls. As the regulator does not work properly, the optimum power supply to the combustion system does not arrive and tironeos can occur during operation due to small explosions of the engine, which can affect other components of the same one.

In the same way that it is essential to react to any symptom of failure in the motorcycle regulator, correct maintenance, as recommended by the manufacturer, is essential to prevent this type of breakdown.

Here are some basic recommendations:

  • Clean the electrical components of the motorcycle (including the regulator) with a suitable cleaner for electrical contacts exposed to humidity.
  • Maintain and periodically check the state of the battery to ensure its optimum condition.
  • Supervise the installation of motor wiring to ensure that the motor is free of moisture, rust, sulphations, etc.
  • If a bulb melts, it is important to replace it as soon as possible as this will prevent fluctuations in the voltage of the motorbike’s electrical system.
  • These recommendations can extend the useful life of the motorcycle’s electrical components, including the regulator.

As you can see, the regulator is a fundamental component of the vehicle. This is because, as they require the proper electrical voltage, most motorcycle systems depend on their proper functioning.