Battery options, maintenance tips and more
Your ATV’s battery is a vital part of the machine and something you can’t do without. Just like your battery in your truck, it may need to be replaced from time to time. Picking the right ATV battery is vital to keeping your machine running strong.
Ever get a dead battery in your car or truck? Stinks, doesn’t it? Has it happened with your ATV or UTV? That stinks, too, and it can be harder to deal with than you think. The smaller battery size in your ATV can make charging it, or jumping it a little tricky. If the battery is completely dead, you may need to replace it. That can present a whole other challenge, too, because the batteries in most ATVs are very specific in terms of size and charge. Here’s some tips to getting the most life from your battery, and to finding the right replacement battery should you need to get a new one.
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How Long Does a 4 Wheeler Battery Last?
If you’re going to store your ATV for any length of time, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery and store it in a temperature controlled space, like in your house. This is especially true for those of us that live in cold climates. That’s not always the easiest thing to do, though. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but some manufacturers place the battery in some pretty confined spaces. The solution for any ATV battery storage options, either in the machine, or out, is a battery tender. These devices monitor your battery’s charge and keep it at an optimal level. Del Tran makes a Battery Tender Junior that works great for ATV batteries. Because of its smaller size, it can easily fit into the more confined space of an ATV frame. A battery tender can add years of life to your battery.
There are so-called maintenance-free batteries and batteries that require maintenance. Most modern batteries fall into the maintenance-free category. A maintenance-free battery simply means that the battery is sealed, and you should not have to add distilled water to it on a regular basis. If you have an older battery, you may find that you need to, from time-to-time, add water to it to keep the cells working properly. Even maintenance-free batteries, however, need to be taken care of with proper charging and care.
How To Deal Wtih a Dead ATV Battery
So what to do with the dreaded dead battery. If you ATV battery goes dead and won’t start the machine any longer, there are a couple of things you should do before you simply replace it. A simple battery tester is a pretty handy piece of gear to have on hand, and can tell you if you need to replace your battery, or if it is holding enough charge.
If you don’t have a battery tester, you can most likely take your battery to an auto-parts store, or ATV dealership, and have it tested. Keep in mind that an ATV battery is not the same as an automotive battery, or the same as a lawnmower battery. Make sure it is tested as such.
Also bear in mind that it is quite common for other issues to be the culprit. If you have a winch on your ATV, they can often lead to excess battery drain. Electrical shorts due to loose wires are also common. After all, it’s not as though you don’t encounter rough terrain with your ATV. Less common, but still plausible reasons are mechanical errors, such as a faulty starter. This can make you think your ATV battery is dead, when in fact, you’ve got a costlier repair needed.
If you have a lot of things with batteries, it is worth it to invest in a premium battery charger/tester/maintainer that can handle all of your battery maintenance needs. Optima Batteries makes an excellent one that will work for all kinds of batteries. It’s pricey, but well worth it.
What Kind of Battery Does an ATV Use?
Once you’ve determined that you need a new ATV battery, you need to get the right one for your machine. ATV designers make the best use of the space provided, so getting the correct battery is important, not only for the charge, but also for fitment. Check and double check the battery application to ensure you’re getting the right battery for your machine. From there, you will have some choices, as there is more than one kind of ATV battery.
Standard ATV Battery
Standard lead-core batteries use battery acid and are often what comes standard in your machine. These batteries will either come with the battery acid, or without. Since battery acid is fairly generic, you can buy the battery online without the acid, and save on the freight. You’d then need to pick up the battery acid locally and follow the directions to fill and charge the battery prior to use.
If you don’t want to mess around with having excess battery acid on hand, but still want the economic option of a standard battery, you can buy them with an included acid pack. This gives you everything you need to set the battery up in one package. You’d still need to put the acid in and charge the battery, though. You can get these types of batteries with extra plates that give a slightly higher charge and more amps for starting in cold weather, too.
Maintenance Free ATV Battery
A maintenance-free ATV battery is sealed and doesn’t require you to check levels or do anything other than keep the battery charged. Now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything with the battery when it arrives, should you order it online. Often these batteries still come with an acid pack and need to be assembled, and charged initially, but once set up, there is nothing to do.
High-Performance Maintenance Free Battery
For those of us that have high-performance machines and push the limits, a high-performance ATV battery is the way to go. These batteries have extra charge thanks to additional plates internally, and have more vibration dampening.
Lithium-Ion ATV Battery
Lithium-Ion ATV batteries are really coming on strong with extra power, lighter weight and longer life. They do, however, cost more initially, but it does tend to even out in the long run. They tend to have a life span that lasts 4-5 times longer than a traditional acid-core battery and will often charge faster. One of our favorites has a really sweet feature where the battery senses that it is getting low while not in use and goes into a sleep mode, saving enough power in reserve to start the ATV, which will then recharge the battery. While this isn’t perfect, it is a great backup for you and your ride.
What is the Best Battery for an ATV?
Choosing the best possible battery for an ATV is a bit tricky. If you are willing to eat the extra cost up front, it’s hard to beat a Lithium-Ion battery. If you properly maintain one, it may outlive your ATV and it will come with a weight savings.
But the fact is you can get years of service out of a basic lead acid battery that costs a fraction of the price. You may have to replace it a few times during the life of your machine, but the initial savings are significant.
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