If you’re noticing your ATV battery is not lasting as long as it used to, or you feel you’re always buying a new one every year, then this post is for you.
With proper care and maintenance, you can expect your battery to typically last 3 to 5 years. While rare, they can last over 5 years, but to be honest, I find it best to replace it at that point to avoid future problems.
The single best thing you can do to get the most life out of your battery is to keep it on a smart charger when you’re not using it.
The reason your battery dies after just a year is due to insufficient usage of the machine. Many people use their ATVs only a few months each year. If a battery is not regularly used, it gradually deteriorates because of sulfide buildup on its plates. The greater the buildup, the less power the battery retains, increasing the likelihood of it going dead.
Since the batteries are so small, this build-up happens quicker than say for your car.
This is why your ATV battery keeps draining; I go over this in more detail here.
What Chargers To Use
How you charge and what you use to charge your battery are very important.
You’ll want to use a smart charger like this one here (ad).
You can use a regular car charger, but it’s more beneficial that it’s a smart charger. A smart charger can turn itself on and off as it’s needed so it won’t overcharge the battery.
How To Charge an ATV Without a Battery Charger
If you keep your ATV far from a power source, you can use a solar panel charger like this one here (ad). If you go with solar, stay under 5 watts.
When picking out a smart charger, you’ll want to stay under 2 amps of charging. Anymore, and you run the risk of cooking the battery and killing it.
It takes several hours to charge an ATV battery. For best results, I recommend letting it charge overnight or until the charger says it’s done.
If the battery is new and this is the first charge, you don’t want to rush it. The first charge is the most important charge for lead-acid batteries.
How To Properly Charge
You may have to remove a seat or pull off some cosmetic panels to get to your battery.
This video below does a great job showing you how it’s done.
Tip: If your battery wires on your ATV are dirty like the ones in the video, clean them with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will help make a better connection to the battery.
You must follow this order when hooking up a battery charger.
- Plug in the charger to the wall outlet.
- Connect the red positive (+) cable of the battery charger to the red positive (+) of the battery.
- Connect the black negative (-) cable of the charger to the black negative (-) of the battery.
- Wait for the battery charger to let you know it’s charging.
If the charger gives a fault or never charges, then the battery is dead and must be replaced.
How To Remove Charger From Battery
When you remove the charger from the battery, make sure to disconnect the negative cable first to reduce sparks and keep from screwing up the charger and the ATV electronics.
How To Fix A Dead Battery
There is no magic cure to bring back a dead battery. But there does exist some battery chargers that can pulse it back to life.
To be honest, these pulse chargers don’t always work, and when they do, it can take days. It’s not worth the effort, especially when you can go to Walmart and get a cheap battery.
For those that want to fix a dead battery, this video will show you how.
ATV Charging System
Unlike a car, an ATV does not have an alternator.
There is only a stator, the difference is that a stator only generates enough energy to maintain power, whereas an alternator will generate more to charge a battery. An alternator is bigger and adjusts to the power needs whereas a stator is smaller and gives the best it’s got (which is usually only enough to keep the engine running).
So riding your ATV in the hope to charge its battery won’t actually charge much. If you leave it for a few hours, the battery will be flat again.
The only way to charge an ATV battery is to use a battery charger.