How to Make Your ATV Battery Last as Long as Possible
Since childhood, the coolest toys always seemed to require working batteries to function; in adulthood and ATVs, this theme still stands. There are few things more frustrating than going to start up your ATV for a ride, only to find that it’s dead - AGAIN. If you’re fortunate enough to have this happen at home, and not while you’re out on the trails, then you’re somewhat lucky; however, it’s still annoying having to jump the battery time after time. Batteries are expensive, and you worry that you may have to replace yours sooner than expected. Fortunately, there are a few basic maintenance tricks you can perform to keep your battery from dying frequently and to improve its overall lifespan.
Proper long-term storage
If you find that you won’t be using your ATV for a long period of time, it’s important to know that storing it properly can play a huge part in maintaining its battery life. First, you’ll want to be sure that you disconnect the battery when you’re not using it, particularly if it’s the winter and you know that cold weather is coming. The battery should be stored on an insulating material like wood to keep it from losing charge. If you choose not to remove the battery, at least disconnect it - otherwise, you’ll find that it has weakened or died over time.
As mentioned, proper storage is especially important when it comes to extreme outdoor temperatures. You should aim to keep your ATV inside of a garage, shed, or, at the very least, under a patio or lean-to.
Keeping it charged
Another important step in maintaining battery life is, of course, keeping it charged. When in use, the battery should always be charged to 100%. If you notice that the lights are dim or the engine sounds weak, you should charge it as soon as possible.
Even when you’re not using your ATV and it’s sitting in storage, the battery should still be charged every so often. If the battery isn’t charging, it’s discharging, meaning that it’s losing at least 1% of it’s charge every day. During cold months, you should aim to charge the battery once a month; during warmer months, discharge occurs even more, so it’s recommended to charge every two weeks. Keeping your battery charged also helps to prevent sulfation, the most common cause of battery failure.
Keeping it clean
Another key to proper battery maintenance is, of course, keeping it clean and looking new. Corrosion can interfere with electricity conduction, making it hard for the battery to do its job. To clean away the corrosion, remove the battery and scrub its terminals and clamps using a wire brush and a mixture of warm water and baking soda. A softer brush, like a toothbrush, can be used to clean the battery’s frame. This is a good chance to look for any signs of physical damage as well, such as cracks, discoloration, or warping.
If you have a lead acid battery, don’t forget to clean out the its exhaust tube as well. Look out for any waste, grease, or kinks that may be clogging the tube. It’s important to know that liquid spillage can occur often with a lead acid battery, so maintenance and cleaning should be performed more frequently than with an AGM battery.
Jumping the battery
Even with all of the maintenance in the world, you will more than likely experience a dead battery at some point. Fortunately, jump starting it is pretty simple; however, if it’s not done properly, it could be detrimental to the battery’s lifespan. It’s highly recommended that you use another ATV or a jump pack to perform this quick fix rather than using a car. If you have to use a car, however, it’s absolutely imperative that you don’t start the car’s engine or turn on the battery. A car’s battery is extremely powerful compared to that of an ATV, and the overwhelming transfer of energy can seriously damage the ATV’s battery.
It’s also important to let the battery charge for a few moments after you connect the cables and before you start the dead ATV. Once the engine turns over, you can safely remove the cables from the car, ATV, or battery pack. Give it a chance to run for at least 30 minutes before shutting it off; otherwise, you’ll more than likely find yourself with a dead battery again.
When it comes time to service your ATV, Outdoor Powersports has you covered. If you’re in the market for a new ATV, swing by to check out our impressive selection. Visit our dealership in Gainesville, TX; we’re also proud to serve Ardmore, Oklahoma and Sherman, Texas.