One often-overlooked ATV accessory is the battery disconnect switch, a device whose usefulness can be significant.
This simple and helpful feature is not standard on every ATV, and it should not be confused with the kill switch.
The purpose of a battery disconnect switch is to shut off ALL power to your ATV with a turn of a switch or a push of a button. There are several reasons why you might want to add one to your ATV, which I will cover in this post.
There are also a few things to keep in mind, as the switch may not be the best option for what most people use it for.
What Is An ATV Battery Disconnect Switch?
A battery disconnect switch for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is a part that allows the owner of the ATV to completely disconnect the battery power from the vehicle.
It kills all power from the battery if properly installed.
The most common battery disconnect switch is a turn option, but you also have a push button or a physical disconnection key.
The Most Common Reason People Install A Battery Disconnect Switch
The most common reason ATV owners install a battery disconnect switch is to prevent their batteries from dying while the vehicle sits for a long time.
Although this may be the most common reason people install them, and it can work in some situations, it may not be actually solving the problem.
If you’re using a battery disconnect switch to stop a parasitic or slight power draw from your ATV battery, then you need to investigate what’s causing it. Often, the culprits are aftermarket parts, a bad ground, damaged wires, or other factors that can cause a slight power draw. These issues need to be fixed, or the problem will worsen.
Also, don’t confuse the battery dying from inactivity with a parasitic power draw. Lead-acid batteries will go flat and die if you’re not using them for months, and adding a battery switch will not resolve this issue. What will help is using a solar battery charger or a smart charger to keep the battery active and in good condition.
Reasons To Install Battery Switch On Your ATV
While a battery disconnect switch should not be used in some situations, there are still a few reasons you may need one that I’ll list below.
- Theft Prevention – You’ll be amazed how a simple battery switch can slow down someone trying to steal your ATV. Most people know where the key goes and the kill switch, but you can hide the battery switch. You can even buy battery switches that are removable, like a key*, and will need to be inserted to start the ATV.
- Maintenance – When working on a machine, you should disconnect the battery just to be extra safe. With a battery switch, it’s super easy to kill all power to the ATV, so you can work on it, but removing the battery is even better.
- Reset Problems – Sometimes, problems can be fixed with disconnecting the battery for a few minutes. As ATVs get more complex with computers, the simple solutions of turning it off and back on again will resolve many odd problems.
- Safety – You may never need to, but if something goes wrong, a wire touching the wrong area and heating up, or for whatever reason you need to turn the ATV off, you can kill all power with the battery switch.
- Aftermarket Parts – Some aftermarket parts don’t tie into the ATV’s accessory electrical or there is no more room, so you’ll have to hook directly to the battery. This should be the last resort thing, but it may be the only option, so a battery switch that kills power to everything is a must.
- Keeps Others From Turning The ATV On – Whether it kids or your buddy, a master switch that kills all battery power will keep others from messing with your ATV. Kids like to turn switches and keys they can reach, and with a battery switch, you can keep them from turning your ATV lights on while you’re away, which drains the battery.
- Protects From Mice And Bugs – Mice love to eat rubber and plastic, which ATVs wiring has a lot of. It’s not common, but mice can eat the wrong wire, ground themselves to the metal of the frame, and catch on fire along with your ATV. A battery switch can stop this from happening.
- Prevents Battery Drain – As covered, using a battery switch to keep your battery from dying is not always the best answer, but in some situations it’s a must.
Where To Put Battery Switch?
Ideally, you want to install the battery switch near the battery.
The battery switch becomes your new battery connector for one side, and you tie everything off that, if not, you defeat the whole point of having the switch.
You want to avoid long wires, as the more wires you have, the more resistance and more hard it is to start and the more warning lights you’ll run into.
Battery Switch Considerations
When getting a battery switch for your ATV, there are a few things to consider.
- Amp rating on the switch.
- Keep it dry.
- Use dielectric grease on the connections.
- Cover the connections.
- Avoid touching the ground or metal parts of the ATV when working near the switch.
- Avoid hot areas of the ATV.
Safety and understanding the surroundings of where you keep the battery switch is important. Not taking these things into consideration can cause a fire, keep your ATV from working, or even worse.
The battery disconnect switch is an important accessory for an ATV, offering solutions ranging from safety to theft prevention.
While it’s an often-overlooked part, its importance cannot be understated.
However, it’s crucial to recognize that this switch is not an end-all-be-all for all electrical issues. Proper understanding of its functions, careful consideration of its placement, and awareness of when to use it (and when not to) are essential.
Whether for maintenance ease, prevention of unexpected power drains, or adding a layer of security, a battery disconnect switch can be a valuable addition to your ATV setup. Its proper install can provide peace of mind and enhance your overall ATV experience.