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How To Jump Start An ATV Battery: The Ultimate Guide

How To Jump Start An ATV Battery: The Ultimate Guide

If your ATV battery is dead, your engine won’t turn over. If you’re at home and have a charger, it’s not a big deal. However, dead batteries can be a real pain if you’re out on the trail or don’t have a battery charger. But don’t worry, because you’re in the right place. 

Knowing how to jump-start your ATV battery can save you a major headache while out on the trail. It’s a valuable skill to have, and it can save you from having to push your ATV back to camp or ask for help. If you’re willing to learn this skill, then look no further! I’ll guide you through the process step by step.

The quick answer is this! Once you confirm the battery is the issue, there are several methods you can use to jump-start it. You can try charging the battery directly using a Ctek Smart Charger if you have one available. Alternatively, you can use jumper cables by connecting the positive and negative terminals between a working ATV or car battery and your dead ATV battery.

Another method is the compression start method, where you push the ATV to gain momentum and then quickly release the clutch to start the engine. I’ve tried this method on my quad before and it does work. Lastly, if you have a battery pack specifically designed for jump-starting, you can connect it to your ATV battery using the included cables. 

Whatever method you pick, it is important to be cautious and adhere to the proper procedures when jump-starting a battery.  Read on to gain more information on the subject. 

How Can I Jump Start My ATV Battery?

Before proceeding with jump-starting your ATV battery, it’s important to determine if the battery is the actual issue.

Is it the Battery?

If your push button start or key turn start does not respond, it could indicate a dead battery. Ensure that your run switch is turned on and your ATV is in neutral. If you have a key, make sure it is in the run position. You can try turning on your headlights to further assess the battery’s condition. If the headlights or other lights don’t turn on, it is more likely that the battery is dead.

In some cases, the engine may turn over but at a slow pace, suggesting a weak battery. The battery might have enough power to initiate the engine’s rotation but not enough to start it. You may hear the motor spin briefly before slowing down and stopping.

Also, if you hear a clicking sound but the motor doesn’t engage or respond, it could be a sign of a dead battery or a loose connection between the battery and the starter. Check and tighten the connections to the battery terminals and the starter.

Key points!

  • No response when using push button start or key turn start
  • Ensure the run switch is on and the ATV is in neutral
  • Check if headlights or other lights fail to turn on
  • The engine turns over slowly or stops after the initial spin
  • Clicking sound without motor engagement

 Jump-Starting Methods for a Dead ATV Battery

Once you have determined that the battery is likely the issue, you can attempt to jump-start it. 

If you have a charger at home, you can first try charging the battery directly. A recommended option is the Ctek Smart Charger found here on Amazon, which is user-friendly and compatible with various battery brands. This is the charger I use.  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 charger because of its price, and how easy it is to use.

However, if you are out on a trail without access to a charger or don’t have one at home, you can still jump-start your ATV using jumper cables or the compression start method. Keep reading to learn how. 

Take away!

  • Charging the battery with a Ctek Smart Charger
  • Using jumper cables for jump-starting
  • Trying the compression start method when no charger is available
  • Exercise caution and follow proper procedures for jump-starting

How can I use the compression start method to start an ATV battery?

This method is commonly known as bump starting an ATV, or popping the clutch. You have to push the quad fast enough so that when you let the clutch out the engine turns over and starts. Most ATVs are light enough to be pushed by a normal-sized adult on flat ground. If you can get going downhill, it makes this a lot easier.

Your starter motor is usually what’s used to start the engine. It draws power from the battery to turn the engine over, which fires the spark plugs and gets the engine running. With the compression method, you are using the tires and momentum to turn the engine over.

Here is a step-by-step of how to do it

  • Turn on the key and run the switch if you have them
  • Get the quad into 2nd gear.
  • Hold the clutch in and get the quad rolling as fast as you can (around 10 mph)
  • Hop on and quickly let out the clutch

That’s it! You should hear the engine turn over when you do this. If you’re having a hard time you can try giving it some gas as it starts to turn over. The engine should fire up, and when it does, pull the clutch back in. That will prevent the machine from taking off on you as soon as it’s running. It might take a few tries to get it done this way, but it does work.

If the tires skid instead of turning the engine over, try going into 3rd gear and repeating the steps. If the tires still skid, try on more solid terrain or somewhere where the tires have better grip. Once the engine is running, it should charge your battery back up.

If your ATV is an automatic, you won’t have a clutch, and may not have a way to select which gear you’re in. The bump start (compression start) method won’t work the same for you. I have seen people put the ATV into neutral, get it rolling, and drop it into the drive to start the machine. But I think doing it this way could damage the transmission. I would only do it that way on an automatic as a last resort.

How to Jump Start An ATV With Jumper Cables

This is pretty straightforward and is the same method you would use to jump-start a car. You can use another ATV battery or even a car battery if that’s all you have. It’s a good idea to wear rubber-soled shoes when you work on anything with electricity. The voltage and amperage of car and ATV batteries aren’t enough to cause serious damage, but it’s a good idea to be careful around the terminals to avoid damage to your vehicle or ATV.

How to Jump Start An ATV Battery From Another ATV

For this method, all you need is a simple set of Jumper Cables like the one I found on Amazon and another ATV. First, remove the seats to gain access to the battery. Some quads require that you also remove a battery cover. Connect the jumper cables to the good battery first, making sure the positive and negative of the other end of the cables aren’t touching. Then connect to the bad battery.

You should notice a plus sign or red flag on the battery indicating positive, and a minus sign or black flag indicating negative. Connect the negative (black) first, then the positive (red). You can hook the negative (black) end directly to the frame of the ATV, just make sure it is grounded. This can also help prevent a surge in the electrical system that could damage your machine.

Once you have both batteries connected with the jumper cables, you can start the ATV with a good battery. Let the ATV run for a few minutes. This charges your battery a little bit and helps when you try to start it. Now you can try starting the other ATV. If it starts up, remove the red cable (positive) and then the black (negative), do this for both ATVs.

You should leave the engine running for a while after a jump start. That will let the battery charge back up a little bit. If you immediately shut the ATV off, you will need to jump-start it again. I’d let it run for a good half hour, I usually go ahead and ride it around for a little while, so why not?

How to Jump Start An ATV Battery From A Car

The hook-up for this method is the same as ATV vs ATV or car vs car using jumper cables. Hook to the good battery first, negative (black) then positive (red). 

The car battery and charging system are much stronger than an ATV battery and could cause damage to the ATV’s electrical system if you turn on the car. This is because the alternator in your car charges batteries at a higher rate than your ATV battery can handle.

For this reason, Do Not turn on the car at any time during this jump start. The car battery should have more than enough juice to start an ATV.

After you have the jumper cables hooked up, simply wait a minute, and try turning on the ATV. If it starts up, then you know the battery was the problem. Once the ATV is started, remove the cables from the ATV first, positive (red) then negative (black), and then from the car. I have done this with my truck, just to make sure it will work for you, and it works well.

How To Jump Start An ATV With A Battery Pack

This is one of the simplest most straightforward methods. But it’s more expensive because you need to have a battery pack to jump-start the ATV. This method is similar to using jumper cables except instead of hooking your ATV to another ATV or a car, it’s hooked to a pre-charged battery pack. If you don’t want to carry an extra battery pack with you on your quad all the time, this method may not be for you.

The battery pack we use can also charge our smartphones and tablets, so it’s nice to have on a camping trip anyway. And if my four-wheeler’s battery ever dies, it’s a super convenient way to get back riding again.

The battery pack I use is called a Portable Jump Starter found here on Amazon. It has a built-in flashlight and USB ports to charge phones tablets, or anything that can charge through a USB port. All the cables and things you will need to hook up to your ATV battery are included.

If you have the extra money or go camping a lot with your four-wheeler. This is the best way to get your battery charged again without needing to pop the clutch, or needing another ATV or car nearby. You simply hook the included alligator clips to your battery and then hook the cable to the battery pack. Once everything is connected, try to start the engine. The engine should start right up. You may have to wait a couple of minutes to let the battery charge a little bit.

It’s always best to never need to jump-start your ATV, but it happens sometimes. Taking care of your batteries and keeping them properly charged will save you a headache in the long run. To learn more about how to charge a battery and keep it charged while not in use, check out my How To Charge An ATV Battery article here.


Knowing how to jump-start your ATV battery is an invaluable skill you should have as a rider. This guide has provided you with various methods to jump-start your ATV battery, including using jumper cables, the compression start method, and battery packs.

However, it’s essential to exercise caution and follow the proper procedures when jump-starting a battery to avoid any damage to your ATV. By being prepared and having the necessary tools, such as jumper cables or a battery pack, you can confidently handle a dead battery situation and get back on the trail quickly.

Remember to prioritize battery maintenance and charging to prevent such issues in the future.

Thanks for reading to the end! 

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