How to Fix Dead ATV Battery in 8 Steps

Last Updated on November 19, 2023 by ATVNotes

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As ATV owners, it’s all too common to start with a strong battery only to have it degrade over time. However, this doesn’t mean you need to buy a new one when one dies. A dead battery is one that has been drained of its charge and can no longer provide enough power to start the engine. In that case, you can easily revive your dead ATV battery with a few simple steps. 

Fortunately, fixing a dead ATV battery is a simple process that you can do yourself. The first step in fixing a dead ATV battery is to charge the battery using an appropriate charger. If the battery doesn’t have the minimum charger to get recharged, you can also jump-start the battery using another vehicle’s battery.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the detail process how to fix a dead ATV battery and the options available for an easier and more cost-effective solution. We’ll cover the different methods of fixing your dead battery and tips that will ensure it stays healthy for longer. So read on and get ready to bring your ride back to life.

Symptoms of Bad or Dying ATV Battery 

If you own an ATV, keeping track of its battery health is important. Over time, the battery can become weak or damaged for various reasons. But there are signs that you can become forewarned at the sight of them. Here you find the most common symptoms of a dying ATV battery. 

Difficulty Starting the Engine: One common symptom of a dying ATV battery is difficulty starting the engine. If your ATV starting seems difficult or requires multiple attempts before it turns over, it could be a sign that the battery is on its last legs.

Dimming Headlamps & Electronics: Another symptom of a bad or dying ATV battery is dimming headlights or other electrical components. As the battery begins to lose its charge, it may not be able to provide enough power for all of the vehicle’s electrical systems. This can result in dimming lights and weaker performance from electronic features like the radio or GPS.

Acid Leakage: A failing ATV battery may sometimes leak acid onto surrounding parts and components. This can cause corrosion and damage over time if not addressed promptly. If you notice any signs of leakage around your battery, it’s essential to have it inspected by a professional as soon as possible. 

How To Tell If Your ATV Battery is Restorable or Not 

ATV batteries are a necessary part of owning an all-terrain vehicle. However, they can also be one of the most frustrating parts, especially when they die unexpectedly. If you find yourself with a dead ATV battery, there are a few things to note so that you can understand whether it is revivable or not.

Firstly, check the voltage of the battery using a multimeter. A fully charged 12-volt lead-acid battery should read around 12.6 volts. If it reads significantly lower than this, there may still be hope for restoration with a proper charger and desulfator.

Another way to tell if an ATV battery is restorable is by checking for signs of physical damage, such as cracks or leaks in the casing or cables. If there are any visible damages, it may indicate that the battery needs replacing instead of restoring.

Lastly, consider how long you’ve had your ATV’s current battery and how often it’s been used before determining if restoration is possible. Generally speaking, batteries (Lead-acid) have a lifespan of around three years before they need replacing; therefore, if your current one has exceeded its lifespan and shows signs of wear and tear beyond repair – replacement might be necessary rather than trying to restore it into working condition using charging methods alone. 

Crucial Pre-charging Checks

If your ATV battery is dead, there are a few things to check; fixing those is crucial to restoring the battery.

First, check the battery terminals to ensure they are clean and corrosion-free. If they are dirty or corroded, clean them with a wire brush and/or terminal cleaner. 

Next, check the battery cables to make sure they are in good condition and not damaged or loose. If the cables are damaged or loose, replace them.

Finally, check the charging system to make sure it is working properly. If the charging system is malfunctioning, you may need to replace the stator, rectifier/regulator.

Make sure the charger’s voltage matches your ATV battery’s voltage rating. Using a charger with an incorrect voltage can damage the battery and even cause it to explode.

What You Will Need

To fix a dead ATV battery, you will need the following materials:

  • One voltmeter
  • One pair of pliers
  • One set of jumper cables 
  • One 12-volt battery charger 
  • One can of Coca Cola

How to Charge/Revive a Dead ATV Battery?

You have two popular options to charge or revive a dead battery: a manual/standard/traditional battery charger and an intelligent charger. Traditional and smart chargers differ in two aspects, as the smart charger can automatically set compatible charging modes and monitor the charging level. But the charging process is the same for both. 

Charging with a Standard charger 

When charging a dead ATV battery with a standard charger, keep in mind that charging times may vary depending on several factors, such as current capacity and temperature. Avoid overcharging by monitoring the progress periodically using a voltmeter until the recommended charge level has been reached. 

Conventional & Smart Battery Charger

Charging with a Smart Charger 

Charging a dead ATV battery with a smart charger is relatively straightforward. First, you need to ensure that the charger is compatible with your ATV battery. You can do this by checking your battery’s voltage and amperage requirements and comparing them to the specifications of the smart charger. 

So far, ATV battery charing is concerned; the standard power outage of a charger should be 3amps. That’s why charging an ATV battery with a car battery charger having a 10amps power outage amounts to inviting disaster. The thumb rule is that charging amps should be one-tenth of the number of battery amps.

Set your smart charger to its appropriate charging mode for ATV batteries. The latest smart chargers come with automatic modes that detect what type of battery they are connected to, while others require manual adjustment. The upside of a smart charger is that it will neither overcharge nor undercharge your ATV battery, as this could reduce its lifespan significantly.

Jump Start Your Dead Battery with a Healthy One

Jumpstarting means to charge a battery without a charger. If the target battery to revive is completely discharged or drained, it may not be recognized by any charger – manual or smart. In this case, you need to charge to the minimum required level using a healthy donor battery. Then, the battery charger will charge it to its capacity.

This trick is advisable only if the battery is revivable. To be precise, if the battery is fully discharged and drained but is in good condition, it can be revived. But if it is left uncharged for longer than usual, it has likely caused sulfation to the point where it is impossible to restore.  

Charging a Dead ATV Battery

Here you go with the charging process broken into 8 steps so a novice can perform the revival method. The first three steps show how to jumpstart a battery that is drained to zero charge left. Next, five steps show how to charge the dead battery using a charger.  

Step-I: Locate and Disconnect the Battery

Disconnecting the battery and removing it from the ATV is a crucial first step in charging a dead ATV battery. This allows for safe handling of the battery while it is being charged. It also ensures no risk of electrical shock or damage to the ATV’s electrical system during the charging process. 

To disconnect the battery, you must first locate it on your ATV. Once located, use a wrench to loosen the negative cable clamp and remove it from the terminal. Be sure to note which cable goes where, as this will be important when reconnecting later.

Once disconnected, carefully lift out the battery from its compartment in your ATV. Avoid dropping or mishandling it, as this can cause damage or acid leakage. Place your battery on a flat surface away from flammable materials before charging. 

Doing this will ensure that you are off to a good start when charging your dead ATV battery and helps prevent any unwanted accidents during this process. 

Step-II: Connect the Dead and the Healthy (Donor) Battery

After preparing the healthy battery, it’s time to connect it to the dead one. First, locate both batteries and ensure that they are not touching any metal surfaces or each other, as this can cause a spark. Next, connect the positive cable (usually red) of the healthy battery to the dead battery’s positive terminal. Then, connect the healthy battery’s negative cable (usually black) to a grounded metal surface on your ATV, such as a bolt.

Make sure that when you connect these cables, you do so in this order: positive first, then negative. This will protect your batteries from any sudden discharge or sparks which may damage them further. 

Step-III: Leave the dead and donor Batteries Connected for an Hour

Once you have connected the dead and donor battery, leaving them connected for an hour is crucial. This allows the donor battery to \transfer enough energy to revive the dead one, so it can hold a charge again.

During this hour-long period, make sure that both batteries sit securely in place and that no wires or cables are loose. You should also keep an eye on the batteries’ temperature because they may get hot during this time. If either of them becomes too hot, disconnect them immediately and wait for them to cool down before continuing the process.

Once an hour has passed, check your ATV battery’s voltage levels using a multimeter. Ensure it has reached at least 12 volts; otherwise, repeat steps 2 and 3 until you get a satisfactory reading. 

Step-IV: Disconnect the Jumper Cables from both the Battery

Once the dead ATV battery has been sufficiently charged, it’s time to disconnect the jumper cables. This step is crucial in ensuring that both batteries are safe from any damage caused by overcharging or short-circuiting.

Start by removing the negative cable from the donor battery, not letting it touch any metal parts of either vehicle. Next, remove the negative cable from the dead battery. Again, be cautious to avoid contact with exposed metal surfaces as you lift off each clamp.

Step-V: Now, Connect the Battery Charger to the Dead Battery

Once you have selected the appropriate battery charger for your ATV’s dead battery, it’s time to connect it to the battery. First, ensure the charger is unplugged from any electrical source, and wear protective gear before handling the battery. Locate the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals on both the battery and charger. 

how to revive dead ATV battery

Connect the red (positive) cable from the charger to the positive terminal of your ATV’s dead battery. Ensure a secure connection by tightening any fasteners or clamps holding it in place. Next, connect your charger’s black (negative) cable to a grounded metal surface on your vehicle, away from your battery.

Once all cables are connected securely, plug in your charger according to manufacturer instructions and turn it on. 

Step-VI: Get It Charging

Once you have connected the charger to your ATV battery, it’s time to initiate the charging process. This step involves checking the settings on your charger and starting it up. Make sure that you have set the right voltage and amperage for your battery type.

You should also ensure the charger is properly grounded before turning it on. Once everything is set up, please turn on the charger and let it run until the battery is fully charged. Check on it periodically to make sure that everything is going smoothly.

Step-VII: Charge It for 24 Hours

Let it charge for up to 24 hours. This length of charging a battery may seem like an overnight wait but is necessary for a complete and thorough charging process. Leaving the battery on charge beyond this duration can lead to overcharging and eventual damage to the battery. Stopping before it amounts to undercharging it. 

During the charging process, you must monitor your battery charger from time to time. A good indication that your dead ATV battery is charging properly is when you see bubbles forming in each battery cell. Once all cells have started bubbling, leave it for another hour before disconnecting your charger.

Step-VIII: Reinstall the Fully Charged Battery

Once you have fully charged your ATV battery, the final step is to install it. You know that it is usually located underneath the seat or near the front of the vehicle. Insert your fully charged battery into its compartment. Ensure you correctly line up the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals before securing them with screws or clips. Double-check all connections to ensure they are tight and secure before closing the cover again.

Ensure that you securely reinstall it onto your ATV and regularly check its voltage levels using a voltmeter or multimeter. This process should only take a few minutes and requires basic tools like a wrench and screwdriver. 

Do not forget to Charge the Donor Battery 

After jumpstarting a dead battery, it is important to charge the donor battery to ensure that it is fully charged and ready for use in the future. This is because when jumpstarting a dead battery, the donor battery gets drained significantly in order to provide enough power to start the other vehicle. 

Charging the donor battery after jumpstarting ensures that any lost charge is replenished and the battery remains healthy. A partially or fully discharged battery can cause damage and decrease its lifespan. 

In addition, charging the donor battery helps maintain its overall performance and prevents malfunctions during use. It’s important for your safety and for anyone needing assistance with their vehicle in the future. By taking good care of your batteries, you ensure they will be reliable when you need them most. 

Sulfation in Battery

Can You Revive an ATV Battery Plagued by Sulfation? 

Sulfation is a common problem affecting your ATV batteries‘ performance and lifespan. This buildup of crystals on the plates can dramatically reduce the performance and lifespan of a battery over time, which is why it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible. It happens naturally over time due to normal use or as a result of improper maintenance.

The primary cause of sulfation is when lead-acid batteries are not fully charged or discharged regularly. When charging irregularities – repeated overcharging and undercharging – happen, sulfate crystals form on the lead plates, which reduces their effectiveness in converting chemical energy into electrical energy. Also, sulfation can occur if a battery is left sitting for an extended period without being used or charged.

Sulfation can also be caused by overheating or exposure to extreme temperatures. When batteries are exposed to high temperatures, it causes them to release gases that create pressure inside the battery’s casing. This increase in pressure leads to an electrolyte imbalance and promotes crystal formation on the battery’s plates. 

Whatever the cause, can you revive a sulfated battery?

Normally, any battery having sulfation build-up to a severe level is considered beyond revival. But if sulfation didn’t reach a point of no repair, a smart charger with a desulfation feature can do magic by restoring your dead battery to its former glory by breaking down the harmful crystals formed over time.

A desulfation charger is specifically designed to remove lead sulfate crystals from the plates of a dead or dying battery. If you suspect your battery might suffer from sulfation buildup, it’s worth investing in a quality desulfating charger to help rejuvenate its performance and extend its lifespan.

Just be sure to follow proper safety protocols when working with electrical equipment, and always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on handling and maintaining your particular make and model of battery.

But how does a desulfation battery charger work?

Desulfating battery chargers use high-frequency pulses to break down the sulfate crystals that form on the surface of a battery’s lead plates over time. When a desulfating charger is applied to a battery, it sends short bursts of high-frequency energy through the cells.

Battery Desulfator

This energy creates shock waves that help break apart and dislodge any sulfate crystals formed on the lead plates. Over time, this process can restore lost capacity and improve the overall performance of your ATV battery, awaken from a long slumber.

Take note that desulfation chargers are not a cure-all for every type of battery. They are especially useful for batteries that have been sitting unused for long periods or repeatedly subjected to deep discharge cycles.

By helping to rejuvenate these batteries, desulfating chargers can save you money on replacements and keep your equipment running smoothly for longer periods between charges. 

Maintenance Tips to Avoid Future Dead Batteries

Your ATV battery is what gives your four-wheeler the power it needs to start up and keep going. When it starts to die, you’ll notice that your ATV doesn’t have the same get-up-and-go as it used to. If you let it go too long without fixing the problem, you’ll end up with a dead battery – and a four-wheeler that won’t start at all.

To avoid this fate, there are a few maintenance tips you can follow to keep your battery healthy and prevent future problems:

1. Check the water level in your battery regularly. The water should be just above the lead plates inside the battery. If it’s low, add distilled water until it reaches the correct level.

2. Keep your battery clean. A dirty battery can cause many problems, including decreased performance and shortened lifespan. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or grime on the outside of the battery, and use a toothbrush or other small brush to clean any deposits off of the lead plates inside.

3. Keep an eye on the electrolyte level. The electrolyte is what allows current to flow through the system and is essential for proper battery operation. If it gets too low, add more distilled water until it reaches the correct level.

4. Avoid excessive vibration or shock. This can damage delicate components inside the battery and lead to premature failure. If you notice that your four

Fixing A Dead ATV Battery: A Recap

So, fixing or restoring a dead ATV battery is something that can be easily fixed with the right tools and a little patience. With a few simple steps, you can get your ATV back up and run quickly.

First, check the battery terminals for corrosion. Then, make sure all connections are tight before starting the revival. Once that’s done, use a multimeter to determine if it’s still able to hold a charge. If it’s not, jumpstart the dead battery using a healthy donor battery and then charge it with a smart charger.

Furthermore, ensure that the revived or fully charged battery is properly stored and maintained throughout its lifespan. Because learning how to fix a dead battery is half-done if you do not main the battery properly.

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