Bad Stator: Will An ATV Still Run?

ATVs are fun machines that can take you many places that you normally won’t go with your car or truck, until an unexpected issue puts a halt to your journey.

One such potential troublemaker is the stator, a important part of your ATV’s electrical system.

If something does happen to your stator, will your ATV be able to run and if so, for how long? In this post, I want to answer what a stator is, can your ATV run with a bad stator, and all the other questions you may have when it comes to ATV stators.

What Is A Stator In An ATV?

The stator in an ATV is basically the alternator, or the thing that charges and maintains power for the ATV to operate.

The battery on your ATV is used to start the engine, and once started, the stator keeps the battery charged up so other parts can draw power, like the fuel injectors, headlights, power steering and anything that needs power.

The stator in your ATV or side by side is very important and is needed to keep them running like it should.

What makes a stator different from an alternator is the magnets. A stator uses fixed magnets and an alternator uses electromagnets, this allows alternators to produce more power at different RPM ranges. The stator is a simplified alternator made for simpler and less needy engines.

If a stator is a simpler alternator, will your ATV still run without the alternator?

Will An ATV Run With A Bad Stator?

If your ATV’s stator goes out, will your ATV still run?

An ATV will still run with a bad or malfunctioned stator, but it won’t run for long. When the stator goes out, the electrical parts of your ATV will pull power from the battery and keep doing so until the battery dies.

Without the stator, all things will pull power from the battery and eventually the ATV will stop working once the battery is fully drained. How long it will take depends on the size of your battery and what load you’re pulling. It could be minutes to hours before your ATV stops running due to a bad stator.

Signs Of A Bad Stator

There are several things to be on the lookout for when you think the stator in your ATV is bad.

  1. Incorrect Voltage When the Engine is Running – If your ATV has a voltmeter, or if you’re using a separate one, you should be reading between 13.5 and 14.5 volts when the engine is idling. If the reading is lower or higher than this range, it indicates that something is wrong with your charging system.
  2. Frequent Battery Drain – If your ATV’s battery is consistently dead, it could be a sign that your stator is malfunctioning and not maintaining a good charge.
  3. Check Engine Light – Many modern ATVs will trigger a check engine light if the battery isn’t charging properly or if insufficient power is being generated while the ATV is running.
  4. Difficulty Starting – If your ATV is hard or weak to start, it could suggest that the battery is drained and your ATV’s charging system is not working properly.
  5. Poor Performance – The stator supplies power to the spark plugs, which ignites the fuel in the engine. A bad stator could lead to weak or no spark leading to poor engine performance, misfires, or the engine not running at all.
  6. Damaged or Melted Wires – The stator uses 3 yellow wires, give them a good once over to make sure they’re not melted or damaged. The heat from the engine and the environment your ride in can affect these wires and get damaged overtime. You may see a check engine light when the wires get damaged.

What To Do If You Think The Stator Is Bad?

If you think the stator is bad in your ATV, here are a few things to try to confirm it.

  1. Check the Battery – You need to ensure that the issue isn’t due to a bad battery or one that requires charging. A good battery will read between 12 and 12.8 volts when the engine is off. If it reads lower than that, it may be bad or in need of a charge.
  2. Inspect the Battery Cables – Sometimes, the problem could be as simple as a loose battery cable. To address this, use a 10 mm wrench to tighten your ATV’s battery cables. Avoid using a screwdriver, even though these cables often come with Phillips-head screws.
  3. Examine the Charging System – Turn on the engine and let it idle. Using a voltmeter, you should be getting readings between 13.5 and 14 volts. If the reading is higher or lower, then the charging system, which includes the stator, might be faulty.
  4. Inspect the Stator Wires – You can check the resistance of the stator wires to confirm whether they are damaged. Every ATV and UTV model is different, so you should consult your repair manuals for the exact readings.
  5. Check the Rectifier – The rectifier in your ATV converts the AC from the stator into DC to charge the battery. Given the heat and stress they endure, rectifiers tend to wear out. If your ATV is NOT charging the battery while running, it’s more common for the rectifier to fail before the stator, so consider replacing it first.
  6. Consult a Professional – Dealerships and ATV repair shops deal with these issues regularly, and they may even recognize the problem based on your ATV model. You can call them and ask if there’s a common problem or recall for your model. If you can’t fix the issue yourself, don’t hesitate to take it to them for repair.

Is A Stator Hard To Replace?

The difficulty level of replacing an ATV stator can vary depending on the model and your level of mechanical skill and experience.

For someone comfortable with ATV repair and who has some mechanical knowledge, replacing a stator can be a moderately hard. It generally requires several steps, including disassembly of the ATV body parts and the engine.

The stator is located inside the engine block, which means you’ll need to take apart a portion of the engine to access it. Replacing the stator is not for everyone, and why I would try to replace the battery, rectifier and check the battery cables first before messing with the stator.

For most ATV owners it’s best to take the ATV into the dealership or repair shop and let them do it for you once you know 100% it’s a bad stator.