Behind every ATV engine, is a battery that gives it the power it needs to come alive. Not just the engine, but also every other electrical component found in an ATV.
Albeit, ATV batteries aren’t immune to going bad over time. So it is important to keep in mind that the strength of your ATV’s battery will not always be in top shape; someday, it would need a replacement.
There is a silver lining to this cloud, however. Your ATV’s battery will not go bad without giving you a heads up; if you pick up the signs in time, you will be able to avoid waking up to a deceased battery without a replacement ready to carry on in its stead.
What Could Possibly Make ATV’s Battery Go Bad?
From a technical angle, the ultimate cause of a bad Atv battery is a chemical process known as ‘SULFATION’. This occurs when there has been a formation of lead sulfate crystal in the battery, caused by an imbalance of electrolyte mixture, which then coats the battery’s lead-acid cells, causing obstruction to the flow of electricity through it.
But ‘SULFATION’ isn’t the only threat to the exuberance of your ATV’s battery. Other factors
Extreme temperature, over/under charging, poor maintenance, corrosion on the battery’s terminals, leaving it out of juice for too long, and using a battery with a capacity that’s too much or too little for an ATV’s electrical needs, are some more factors capable of making your ATV’s battery go bad over time.
Despite doing everything right, there exists no means of avoiding wear and tears, caused by old age.
10 Symptoms That Your ATV’s Battery Might Be Going Bad
When a battery begins to supply an insufficient amount of power to your Atv, it would cause its electrical components to struggle or sometimes completely fail to work.
Components such as fuel injectors, lights, starter motors, switches, relays, etc are reliant on power from a battery to function properly, and in a situation where you experience
malfunctions with these components, there is a huge possibility that your battery may be in bad shape.
Labored/Slow Engine cranking
For an Atv engine to start promptly – depending on the size and amount of electrical on such Atv – there is a required amount of power it needs to receive from the battery.
A bad or failing battery will not supply a high current to the starter motor, causing a drop in voltage. Therefore, an engine taking forever to start or ‘painfully’ laboring through the process of cranking could be another symptom pointing to a bad battery.
Swelling or Leaking battery
A crooked or cracked battery casing is an obvious indication of a swollen battery. If you ever wondered why batteries swell, the simple answer is; gas builds up inside them.
Apart from a cracked or crooked casing, another indication of a swollen battery is leakage of electrolyte fluid from your battery.
It is important to immediately remove a swollen/leaking battery and stop usage because; batteries in this state are unstable and may become a safety hazard.
When rust or discoloration appears on your battery terminals or on surrounding metal parts and cables, what it means is, there has been a leakage of battery acid. The chemical reaction between the acid and surrounding metal is what causes corrosion.
If you notice that connection cables on your battery have become weak and seem to break, resulting in loss or shortage of power supply to the Atv, there’s is a high chance that battery corrosion has occurred and will need to be checked by an expert to determine the extent of damage caused.
However, if you have some basic knowledge of handling minor automotive issues and feel like taking care of the battery corrosion at home; here is how to remove the battery corrosion on your own:
- Identify where corrosion appears on your battery and surrounding components
- Make a solution of baking soda and water; mix the solution and scrub the corrosion off with a wire brush
- Dry the area thoroughly to prevent corrosion from building up again
- Clean off corrosion from the battery terminals and connection cables with a wire brush or sandpaper
- Now, you need to prevent future corrosion build-up by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the battery terminals and surrounding connections.
- Make sure to check your battery for any leaks. You have to replace the battery if you find any.
- After all of these, go ahead and test the battery.
- Keep in my mind that, cleaning battery corrosion won’t revive it if it has gone bad.
Check Engine Light
The check engine light (CEL) on your Atv functions as an alert/warning system, which illuminates whenever the onboard computer finds a problem with the engine.
Though, most ATVs do not have a special battery warning light that directly signifies if your battery has gone bad, it would certainly suggest for you check your engine for a malfunction, possibly caused by your battery.
Short Battery Life
Losing charge quickly can be a sign that your ATV’s battery is closer to retirement. Though it is a normal phenomenon for the strength/capacity of a battery to dwindle over time; sometimes, internal damage, Sulfation, and overuse may also cause your battery to lose charge fast.
The drop in capacity is presented in a number of ways, which include; Inability to hold a charge, constant or intermittent power failure, requiring charge more often than normal, and losing charge despite being left inactive. etc.
If your battery is no longer able to hold a charge, the next course of action is to replace it.
Hearing weird noises coming out of a battery may not necessarily mean it is going bad, but certainly is a sign that something isn’t right somewhere.
A rattling or buzzing sound means you need to check if the terminals or connections are loose, if they are, you have to fasten them properly.
Overcharging could make your battery let out a gassing or hissing sound. Avoid overcharging as much as you can, to prevent gradual damage.
Dim or Flickering Lights
What dim/flickering lights clearly indicate is, your ATV’s battery is not providing adequate power needed for your lights to function properly.
Low battery voltage, corrosion, and faulty alternator are some factors that may inhibit an adequate supply of power from your battery.
Needing to jumpstart or refuel your Atv after only traveling a short distance could be a sign of a problem with the battery. Typically, this is what results from your battery not being able to hold a charge anymore, and usually, a replacement would be the right option.
Battery Over 3yrs old
Unfortunately, batteries do not age like fine wine. It is expected for the life and capacity of a battery to diminish with time.
The lifespan of an ATV’s battery usually ranges from 2 – 5yrs. Factors such as; maintenance, usage, temperature, and battery type are some of the determinants of how long your battery will last for, but you are advised to carry out checks regularly once your battery crosses the 3-year mark.
Can A Damaged ATV Battery Be Fixed?
Depending on the nature and extent of the fault, there are a few possible remedies you can explore to improve the performance of your battery. Thoroughly cleaning battery corrosion may improve the flow of power to components that need it.
Desulfation could be a remedy to fix issues caused when lead sulfate crystals build up on your battery’s plate, restricting current flow and making it difficult to hold a charge.
What Is A Battery Desulfator & How Is It Used For Desulfation?
A battery desulfator is simply a device used to remove a buildup of lead sulfate crystals from a battery’s plate.
Here’s how to use the device:
- Detach the battery from your Atv and connect the desulfator to the battery terminals
- Turn on the desulfator and leave it to run for the stipulated amount of time as specified in the user manual; usually for several hours
- Disconnect the desulfator after the specified time has lapsed
- Connect the battery to your Atv and give it a charge, if necessary
- Note that, the desulfator may not fix the problem, in which case you will need to visit an expert
Some Battery Desulfator options you can select from are;
- Battery tender plus
Compatible with all 12V lead-acid, flooded, AGM, and gel cell batteries. Complete 4-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Float Mode) allows for optimization of battery power, without overcharging.
- Optimate 6 Desulfator
The world’s most advanced 12V & 24V battery charger! OptiMate 6 12V-24V is perfect for high-performance starter & deep cycle batteries that demand temp. controlled charging & long-term maintenance!
Low Volt Start of 0.5V (12V) + 1-step SAFE pulse recovery.; CHARGING AMPS : 5A @ 12V / 2.5A @ 24V (Ampmatic).
- Noco genius2
One of our most powerful, highest-performing, energy-efficient, and compact portable universal battery chargers yet.
The GENIUS2 is a 2-amp (30-watt) – 100-240VAC 50-60Hz – 6-volt and 12-volt heavy-duty battery charger, battery maintainer, trickle charger, float charger, and battery desulfator for up to 40 amp-hours.
It’s designed to charge and maintain all types of sealed lead-acid and lithium-ion (lifepo4) batteries, including flooded, gel
- WirthCo 20090 Battery Doctor
75/100 peak ampere is a state-of-the-art, fully automatic, dual battery controller that is suitable for any vehicle with an auxiliary battery.
Smaller and lighter than other standard battery isolators, the battery isolator employs electronic switching control technology.
A high-performance electronic isolator allows you to charge two batteries from a single alternator and keeps the starting battery isolated from the second battery.
How Do I Protect My ATV’s Battery From Damage?
The right maintenance practices will generally contribute positively to the health and performance of your ATV’s battery.
Here are some helpful tips for you:
- Do not cover the charge. Leaving a battery connected to its charging source after a full charge can cause damage to its internal components. Make sure to always be available to disconnect your battery from its charging source as soon as it has fully charged.
- If you need to take the battery out of your Atv, make sure to store it in a cool and dry place, away from heat sources.
- Always keep the battery clean; especially its terminals, to prevent dirt from accumulating.
- Check the battery’s connection frequently to ensure they are secure
- Do not always wait for your battery to die completely before recharging as this may shorten its lifespan. Charge, whenever you detect the battery, is low
- Always use the right charger for your battery
Remember to read and follow manufacturers’ recommendations for more specific safety instructions.
What Factors Affect the Life Expectancy of an ATV Battery?
Take care of your battery like it’s a fragile treasure. Keep it charged and stored in a cool, dry place. If you’re leaving it unused for a while, don’t forget to check on it and give it a boost with a battery maintainer.
The weather can be harsh on your battery, so watch out for extreme temperatures. Too much heat can evaporate the fluid inside, reducing the battery’s charge and causing damage.
And, if it’s too cold, the battery will struggle to start your engine and take forever to charge.
If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, you might want to invest in a better battery – especially if you have a flooded battery.
AGM batteries can handle the heat, but if you plan on using your ATV in winter, you should go for an AGM battery. On the other hand, lithium iron phosphate batteries are great for hot weather, but not so much for the cold.
Can An ATV Run With A Bad Battery?
An ATV can still function even if its battery is not in good condition.
The ATV’s charging system supplies enough power to key components such as the ignition, power steering, and lights.
If you forget to turn off the headlights while camping and drain the battery, you can still start the ATV by jump-starting it and riding back home.
How Do I Charge My ATV Battery?
ATVs come with their own charging systems, but don’t expect them to do all the work.
The charging current is limited, so you might need a little extra help from an external battery charger. Before you buy a charger, make sure it matches the voltage and chemistry of your ATV battery.
It’s necessary to avoid overcharging or undercharging your battery, as both can shorten its lifespan. How long it takes to charge your battery will depend on the type of charger you have and the battery itself. So choose wisely and keep your battery healthy!
Wrapping it up – ATV’s Battery Bad? Symptoms To Look For
Atv batteries are susceptible to damage over time, making it important to know what to look for as an indication of impending damage.
In this article, we looked into symptoms that may mean your Atv battery is going bad and needs minor repairs or outright replacement.