How To Make An ATV Battery Last Longer: Maintenance Tips


Battery technology has improved over the last few years. But still, ATV batteries are expensive. There’s a few things you can do though to keep your battery running as long as possible to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Under normal conditions, an ATV battery will typically last for about 3-4 years. With proper maintenance and care, you could see an ATV battery last for more than 5 years. If your battery is lasting less than 2 years, you may have an electrical problem or your not maintaining the battery properly.

The quality of battery you use will also play a big role in how long it will last you. If you try saving a few bucks by getting a cheap battery, it might end up costing you more in the long run because you’ll end up replacing it sooner.

Get The Right Type Of ATV Battery

Most ATV batteries you find are lead-acid batteries, whether it has battery acid or AGM, they are still lead-acid batteries. The older battery is made up of plates surrounded by battery acid to help carry a charge. The newer battery types (AGM), have fiberglass surrounding the plates.

The absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries have battery acid still, it is just abosrbed into the fiberglass material. There’s less to deal with because you don’t need to worry about changing and refilling the battery acid constantly, but they do need to be charged and maintained just the same.

If you go to your local parts store, or an ATV dealer, you might notice they charge around 100 bucks for a new battery. Let me tell you now, the ones you can get online are just as good of quality for way cheaper than that.

Now I’m not saying go out and get the 20 dollar knock off battery, but if you look around you can find a good deal on a decent battery. I recommend starting your search with this Weize YTX14 BS ATV Battery High Performance from Amazon.

If you live somewhere that is very cold for most of the year, you’ll want to look for a Cold Weather Gel Battery instead. These are the go to options for cold weather starting, you will probably also need a battery warmer, unless you can keep your quad stored in a temperature controlled garage when not in use. I talk more about battery temperature later on in this article.

Keep ATV Battery Clean

One of the main reasons an ATV battery will stop working is because the terminals have gotten corroded. You may see gunk start to build up on the terminals of the battery where the leads are connected.

After a while this build up can prevent a good connection with the wires to the terminals. If that’s the case, the ATV won’t be getting power and won’t start up. It can also reduce the life of the battery if these terminals aren’t cleaned and kept in good working order.

To clean the battery terminals, remove the leads connecting to them first. Use a wire brush to remove all the corrosion and build up around the terminals. A good battery cleaner will help with this part.

After you’ve cleaner the terminals and connections nice and thoroughly, apply a battery terminal protective solution to prolong the life of the battery. You can usually find this stuff online pretty cheap, or if you don’t have time to wait for shipping, a local auto-parts store usually carries it.

I use this Battery Cleaner with Acid Indicator and Terminal Protector Package from Amazon. I like the acid indicator feature the battery cleaner has. The cleaner will actually change color from yellow to pink if it comes in contact with battery acid. Your battery should not be leaking acid so if you see that happening, it’s time to replace your battery.

Keep The Battery Charged

When your quad is running, the stator will do its job and keep the battery from draining. But when the engine is going to sit for anywhere past a couple weeks, you should be putting the battery on a charger to keep it topped off.

The constant drain and recharge of a battery will wear it out over time. If you don’t keep the battery charged, you’ll be lucky if it lasts you past two years. The more time the battery can spend on a full charge, the longer it will last.

I go into more detail about this in my article How To Charge An ATV Battery. But basically, you’ll need a good trickle charger to plug into whenever your not riding the ATV. It’s not a big deal if you don’t plug it in over night, but like I said, if it’s going to sit for more than a couple weeks, you should put it on a charger.

I use this Ctek Smart Charger from Amazon, and I’ve never had problems with it. I like this charger because it will charge the battery til full and switch over to maintain mode, where it keeps the battery topped off until you need it again.

Also, the cool thing about the Ctek charger is you can get this Ctek Comfort Indicator Connector that you can hook up to the battery and leave it connected. That way you can easily hook the charger up when you’re done riding without having to remove the seat or any battery covers to get to it.

Battery Temperature

This is only something to really worry about if you live in cold areas, or like to ride often during winter. Extreme heat is a problem too don’t get me wrong. Most batteries are only rated for charging or using in temperatures under 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you’ll be riding around in a 120 degree desert, maybe take it easy.

But the cold is a lot more likely to be the problem is most areas. A standard ATV battery is rated for charging and using as low as -4 degrees F. If you plan on riding in temperatures even close to that range, read my How To Prepare Your ATV For Winter Riding article.

I want to talk about battery temperature because it’s not just what the battery is rated for use. Sure your battery will work when it zero degrees, but the performance of the battery drops drastically the colder the temperature is.

The colder outside it is, the faster your battery will discharge. A battery can also drain power over time if it sits in cold weather for too long. Even if you don’t ride in the cold, letting the battery sit out in cold temps will diminish the battery life.

Your best bet is to take the battery inside to leave on a charger, or keep the ATV stored in a heated or temperature controlled garage. If you don’t like either of those options, you could always get a battery warmer.

You will need to plug it in, but if you can get the warmer under the battery or snuggly on one side of it, you won’t have to remove the battery to bring it inside on a cold winter night. You’ll just have have an extension cord nearby that you can plug the battery heater into.

I would have a look at this Zerostart Wolverine Silicon Pad Battery Heater from Amazon if you decide this is the route you want to take. Living in cold areas can make taking care of a battery a pain.

No one wants to have to take the battery out of their machine every single cold night throughout the winter. A battery warmer can help with that. Do not use a battery heater if the temperature is above 50 degrees F.

Rob

That's me sinking another ATV. I love to ride no matter what it is, snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, and anything else off-roading. I've experienced my fair share of machines, and like to share that experience here.

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