How To Bypass A Harley Ignition Switch

How to Bypass a Harley Ignition Switch

Harley Davidson motorcycles are known for their powerful engines and iconic style. However, like any mechanical device, they may encounter issues from time to time. One common problem Harley riders experience is a faulty ignition switch that prevents the bike from starting. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re eager to hit the road. Fortunately, there are ways to bypass a Harley ignition switch temporarily to get you back on your ride. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of bypassing a Harley ignition switch.

Preliminary Steps

Before attempting to bypass the ignition switch, it is essential to take some precautions and gather the necessary tools. Safety should always be your top priority. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Disconnect the battery: Ensure the motorcycle’s battery is disconnected to avoid any accidental electrical issues or sparks during the process.

2. Gather the tools: You will need a suitable wire cutter, electrical tape, and a wire stripper to complete the bypass procedure.

Bypassing the Ignition Switch

Step 1: Locate the ignition switch: The ignition switch is typically mounted near the handlebars. It’s usually located on the right side, making it easily accessible. Examine your bike’s manual if you’re having trouble finding it.

Step 2: Disconnect the ignition switch: Once you’ve located the ignition switch, use your wire cutter to cut the wires connecting it to the bike’s electrical system. Make sure to leave a sufficient amount of wire connected to the switch as you will need it for the bypass process.

Step 3: Strip the wires: Strip the insulation off the ends of the cut wires using a wire stripper. This will expose the bare metal underneath, allowing proper connection during the bypass.

Step 4: Connect the wires: Twist together the exposed metal ends of the wires that were previously connected to the ignition switch. Ensure a tight and secure connection to maintain electrical flow throughout the bypass process.

Step 5: Secure the connection: Wrap electrical tape tightly around the twisted wire connection to insulate it and protect against any potential short circuit.

Testing the Bypass

With the ignition switch bypassed, it’s important to test whether the Harley starts up successfully. Follow these steps to verify the effectiveness of the bypass:

Step 1: Reconnect the battery: Reconnect the battery to the motorcycle, ensuring a secure connection. Double-check for any loose wires or connections.

Step 2: Turn the key: Insert the key into the ignition switch and turn it to the “on” position. This will engage the electrical system.

Step 3: Start the engine: Once the key is turned on, attempt to start the engine. If the bypass was successful, the motorcycle should start up without any issues.

Step 4: Seek professional help: While a temporary ignition switch bypass technique might get you back on the road, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance to resolve the underlying ignition switch problem. Continuing to rely on a bypass method is not recommended in the long term.


Learning how to bypass a Harley ignition switch can be a valuable skill for motorcycle enthusiasts. However, it is a temporary solution and should not replace proper repairs or maintenance work. Ignition switch issues should be addressed by a certified Harley technician to ensure optimal performance and prevent any safety risks. Remember, safety always comes first when dealing with electrical systems. Avoid attempting the bypass if you lack experience or are uncertain about any step. Visit your local Harley service center for professional assistance in resolving any ignition switch problems you may encounter, allowing you to enjoy a smooth and trouble-free ride.

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