A constantly on neutral light is a pain in the ass, I understand exactly what it’s like. Sooo frustrating, but not to worry, this post will have you in the right gear.
The top 2 reasons an ATV or Motorbike neutral light stays on, include:
- Ground wire fault
- Faulty or sticking neutral switch
By the end of this short post you’ll understand why your neutral warning light stays on, how to diagnose it and how to fix it.
What’s It For?
Neutral warning light was designed initially to simply help the rider find neutral when pulling to a stop.
It’s a simple and effective way to prevent unintended in gear starts. Not all bikes use the neutral switch in the same way. Your bike could instead use a safety switch fitted to the clutch lever to prevent unintended in-gear starts.
Whichever safety system your bike has, the neutral switches them selves all work pretty similar.
How It Works
The neutral safety switch is a simple on off switch that’s fitted to the transmission. The most common type is the electro/mechanical ball switch.
The shift lever acts on the ball sensor and completes a ground path to the transmission casing through the body of the switch itself, but only when neutral is selected.
The components of the system include:
- Power supply to dash neutral warning light
- Dash mounted warning light with replaceable bulb
- Ground supply to dash mounted warning light
- Transmission mounted neutral switch providing a ground path for the neutral dash warning light
Ground Wire Fault
The most common cause of a neutral light staying on is a short to ground. A short to ground is where the wiring simply rubs off a engine or chassis component, providing a shorter path for ground. The result is the dash light illuminates and remains on, no matter what gear you’re in.
How to find it and fix it? If you have done any work recently on the bike, check that area first.
- Your neutral switch will be mounted at the transmission, google your make and model to locate.
- Remove the wire from the switch and check dash bulb (if already disconnected, see short to ground below).
If it’s still illuminated, you have a short to ground (see below).
If the neutral light does go out, go ahead and replace the neutral switch, it’s faulty.
Find short to ground
Follow the single wire from the switch, (or it may be detached and grounding) backwards to the dash mounted light. Somewhere along the way the wiring is rubbing off chassis or another ground wire.
It’s not uncommon to pinch the ground wire when working other components, pinching the wire will cause it to ground.
As the switches are mechanical, they wear out and before they stop working altogether, they stick. Depending on how your switch works, removing them and freeing them with a little tap of a plastic screwdriver handle will solve the issue short term, but the permanent solution is replacement.