It’s one of the worst feelings when your ATV won’t start because of a dead battery. That’s why I recommend you always hook your battery up to a charger if it’s going to be sitting for more than a couple weeks.
There are a few reasons I hook my battery up to a charger.
1- The battery died because I left the key in the on position.
2- During the winter or long periods of no use.
The battery could die from leaving the key on or maybe a power wire is shorting somewhere draining the battery. I hook my battery up to a smart charger throughout the winter to keep the battery fresh, that way my ATV will start right up in the spring.
To charge your ATV battery. Pop off the side panel protecting your battery from the elements, and then connect your smart charger to the battery terminals. To fully charge, leave the charger connected for about 4-5 hours.
Get A Smart Charger
Once you have your ATV and riding gear, the very next thing you should get is a smart charger. If you have a kick start or pull start, this won’t be as important. But for me, my ATV is electric start and having a good battery is essential.
The charger I use and recommend is a Ctek Smart Charger found here on Amazon. It’s sold at a good price (around $60-70) and has all the connections for any brand of battery your ATV has. I chose this battery because of its price and how easy to use it is. This charger will turn itself off when the battery is full saving you costly damage that can occur from leaving a battery on a charger for too long.
There are plenty of cheaper options you can find for ATV battery chargers. But, most of them are simple trickle chargers that you have to make sure you unplug as soon as the battery is done charging. I found it to be a big hassle having to set an alarm and run out to check on the battery all the time. With this charger I was able to set it and forget it. Which I love for leaving the battery on the charger all winter.
Getting a good charger will save you money in the long run anyways. If it saves you even one dead battery it basically paid for itself already. It’s definitely worth the money to get a decent charger, and you’ll be glad you have it when you need it.
Some people prefer the Battery Tender 1.25 amp found here on Amazon, which is fine, they work great too. But I’ve had no problems with my Ctek Smart Charger and I would buy another one when the time comes.
How To Charge A Battery
This part is easy and can be done with a few simple tools. Take a wrench or screwdriver and remove the side panel of your ATV. Some ATV’s require that you remove the seat first, sometimes when you remove the seat, the battery is easily accessible right from there. You should be able to easily see where the battery is at this point.
Once you know where the battery is and can access it easily, you will just remove it from the ATV. To remove the battery just unhook the wires connecting the battery to the rest of the ATV, and sometimes there is a strap that holds the battery in place that can be easily removed. If you don’t want to remove the battery from the ATV to charge it, that is fine, just make sure you unhook the wires from the battery to the rest of the ATV.
To make leaving the battery on the ATV a little easier I got this Ctek Comfort Connector found here on Amazon. This has made charging the battery so much easier for me. And, it has a fuse to protect from power surges. Now I don’t even unhook the battery, I just plug the charger right into the connector and it’s done. I also got a similar setup for my motorcycle I liked it so much.
If you don’t get the quick connector, that’s ok, the smart charger has clamps that will connect to any style battery like jumper cables would. Simply connect the charger to the battery terminals and plug it in to charge the battery.
Here’s a helpful video to show you how to charge the battery.
Does My Battery Need To Be Replaced?
The quickest easiest way is to try charging the battery and see if it takes a charge. If it does, great! If not, you might need a new battery. If they battery was left out all winter, you probably need a new one. It is worth seeing if the smart charger will charge it, but it’s not likely.
I don’t recommend getting a battery from a local parts store unless they have multiple options to choose from. A lot of the time the price is just too high. Our local parts store was selling a simple ATV battery for almost $100. After looking around online I found the same exact battery for half the price. If you can wait a couple days for shipping, just get yourself an ATV battery on Amazon.
How Fast To Charge The Battery
It is always a better idea to charge the battery slowly. Charging slowly will extend the life and quality of your battery. When you charge a battery too fast, it could damage the battery and affect the retention rate. What I do I charge my ATV batteries at .8-1 amps, which takes longer, but ensures my battery will last longer.
A normal charge time should be around 5 hours to get a full charge. If you have a smart charger you can just leave it overnight and not have to worry about it.
Prevent Battery From Dying Over Winter
If you don’t charge your battery throughout the winter, you will likely have a dead battery come spring time. Simply take your battery out of your ATV and hook it up to a decent smart charger throughout the winter. This way you won’t be buying a new battery every year.
You could use trickle charger for this as well, just make sure you get one that shuts off when the battery is charged or you could damage the battery.
Getting a good charger and taking care of your ATV’s battery will save you more money in the long run, and you will be happy you did.