The Cost of ATV Batteries Is Getting Expensive, 8 Reasons for the High Costs

I never thought I would have to write a post like this, but battery prices are getting out of hand. I know it a stupid hill to die on, but it’s been bothering me for some time now. Why are these things getting so costly?

I dug in and did some research and listed what I’ve found that makes these “simple” things cost so much these days. A lot of it seems to be regulations, but that is a debate I’m not willing to have right now.

  1. Specialized: More often subjected to harsher conditions – including mud, water, and rough terrains – which requires the battery to be more durable. Designing a battery to withstand these conditions will increase the cost.
  2. Size and Power: Although their batteries are smaller than car ones, they need to provide a significant amount of power to start and run, especially in cold conditions. This demand for both compact size and high power can make these batts more expensive. With more and more people adding more electrical accessories, these little batts really need to keep up.
  3. AGM Technology: Many modern quad batts use Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) tech, which is more costly than the traditional flooded lead-acid batts. AGM are sealed, maintenance-free, and can handle vibrations better, making them ideal for off-road vehicles.
  4. Scale: The production volume of theirs is lower than that of a standard car battery. Economies of scale play a role here; when products are produced in larger quantities, the cost per unit often goes down.
  5. Heavy: They have lead in them, which makes them very heavy. When things are heavy, it costs more to ship them, so a lot of the cost of the battery comes from it being costly to ship.
  6. Replacement Market: 4-wheeler batteries, like all of them, have a lifespan. Given the rough use cases, these things will need replacement more frequently. Manufacturers may price them higher in the replacement market, knowing that owners have fewer options when they need a specific battery.
  7. Supply and Demand: If there’s a higher demand and a limited supply, prices will go up. Additionally, any disruptions in supply chains, such as transportation issues, raw material shortages or shutting down the economy, can increase costs, and it’s the customer who pays for it.
  8. Regulations and Environment: The production and disposal of them have environmental implications that also have regulations to deal with. The customer pays the cost of the regulations, which increases the costs.

You can still find some batteries at great deals if you know where to look, let’s talk about how to save money.

How To Find Affordable Batteries

With enough research and patience, you can find many affordable batteries that will work in your quad.

  • Online: You’ll be amazed at how many online websites have batts at a great price compared to brick and mortar stores. One example is Amazon ATV-batteries (ad), or even eBay.
  • Local Dealership: Usually, your local power sports dealership will be the most costly option, but if it’s the off-season, or they’re overstocked, they may be willing to sell it for cheaper. Throw the line that you bought the machine from them to see what discounts you can get.
  • Used-Batteries: Not many people know this, but you can buy used-batteries from people who recondition them. They may not last as long, but they’re cheaper and work. You could even try bringing your battery back with a smart charger that has a desulfator built in (ad). Don’t be afraid to ask your local dealership for used-batteries, they usually get $5-$10 for a core, so offer them more than that and many will let have the used battery, then desulfate it at home to try to bring it back to life. You’ll be amazed by how many batteries just need a charge or desulfated.
  • Check the Warranty: Make sure your battery is not still under warranty, as it could mean a free or reduced cost replacement.
  • Avoid AGM: If you don’t go hard, you can get away with flooded lead-acid batteries. You will need to fill these batteries and charge them, but they have a lower cost than sealed batteries.
  • Check Autoparts Store: You can get batteries for your 4-wheeler and side by side from the same place you buy parts for your cars. These stores may have your battery in stock, but don’t sell enough of them, so they may want to move them. Many of these autoparts stores have loyalty programs where you get cash back on purchases which you can use towards your battery.

Battery Lifespan

You can expect an quad battery to last 3 to 5 years if properly taken care of, or less than 1 year if you don’t take of it.

Taking care of your battery simply means keeping it charged when you’re not riding it for months. I go over how to that by solar or wall chargers.

Ideally, you take the battery out and keep it on charge. You could also take the battery out the night before you ride to charge it. If you’re not using your machine for many months, it’s best to keep it on charge.

4-wheeler batteries tend to die due to inactivity, it’s why desulfating used batteries can be so effective, as you’re reversing the sulfation that kills batteries.

Lithium Battery

Lead-acid batteries are not your only option, you can also buy lithium ATV-batteries (ad).

Lithium ones tend to cost more compared to lead-acid, but hold up better and last longer. You also save weight with lithium ones, and can handle power draw a lot better if you have many accessories.

The thing you need to watch out for when it comes to lithium batteries is that they have a BMS (battery management system) as they’re picky about charging. If the lithium battery has a BMS on board, then it’s good, and you can use a regular 12-volt battery charger. While not always the case, there are a few lithium batteries that can charge quickly, often enough to crank the engine over after 10 minutes of charging; you don’t see that on lead-acid batteries.

Lithium batteries are worth it and vastly better than lead-acid batteries. Here is just a short list of the pros:

  • Lithium batteries hold their charge better, so no need to keep it on a charger as much as you do with lead-acid batteries.
  • Handles the rough vibrations better.
  • Have smart chargers built in that balance the power between the cells, giving you better battery life.
  • Weigh less.
  • Sealed up.
  • Still works in whatever position the 4-wheeler is in; still supplies power even if upside-down.
  • No maintenance.
  • Longer lifespans. You could get 10 years or more if nothing majorly goes wrong with the lithium.
  • Less messy; lead-acid batteries can leak, which corrode parts.

The Battery You Use Matters

It does matter what battery you use in your ATV or side by side, especially if you have accessories that draw power.

Sure, you can find smaller lawn mower batteries that can fit in some ATV’s battery holder, and it will start the engine, but it’s not ideal. Batteries are rated in amps, and your machine is expecting certain amps and will be putting out a certain number of amps from the stator. So, you need a battery that can handle it, or you run the risk of damaging your ATV or having a check engine light on.

You’ll be amazed by how many people I see complain of starting issues, and it’s because they used the wrong size battery.

How Many CCA Do Need?

ATVs need at least 200 CCA (cold cranking amps) to start the engine, with over 300 being more ideal.

4-wheeler batteries are also measured in Ah (amp hours), and 10 to 20 Ah is fine.