ATV Battery Maintenance
When you own an all-terrain vehicle, you understand there are certain elements of maintenance and upkeep that are non-negotiable. While we all know to get an oil change and check the air in the tires regularly, the matter of ATV battery maintenance is often overlooked. Here are a few things you need to know about this aspect of vehicle care to ensure a long life of riding fun.
Don’t leave it hooked up when not riding
The biggest element of ATV battery maintenance is to make sure you aren’t losing current when you aren’t riding. A battery that is left hooked up during the offseason of riding will quickly drain itself and lose battery life. Make sure you remove the battery from the ATV to avoid this scenario. You can also use this time to charge the battery so it’s ready when the time to ride comes again. If you ride your ATV year-round, you should still stay vigilant against a weakened battery. A sure-fire way to tell your battery needs to be recharged is if the lights seem dimmer than usual or the vehicle seems to shudder during ignition.
Clean the terminals on a regular basis
The terminals are prone to build up which may seem harmless but can actually shorten the lifespan of your battery. The terminals connect to the battery to pull the power your vehicle needs to operate. When there is a buildup of crud in the way, the battery is most likely losing current and working overtime to get the job done. To clean the terminals, you should use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean it. Make sure the vehicle is turned off and the battery is disconnected before cleaning with your mixture and a toothbrush. Take extra care to wipe them dry when finished before connecting the battery again.
One of the easier tasks of ATV battery maintenance is to simple inspect it on a regular basis. An ATV rides over rough terrain on a regular basis and experiences shocks, and batteries are not immune to this fact. ATV batteries can crack and show signs of damage on the exterior that are worth inspecting for on a regular basis. Aside from checking the exterior of the battery, you should also check the condition of the terminals and any areas surrounding it to make sure you don’t have signs of a leak or any other battery-related damages in need of repair.
Check the electrolyte and voltage levels
Most ATV batteries contain electrolytes which help the battery to perform at optimal levels. When the electrolytes get too low, the battery will not perform at the same expected level. This is why you need to check this on a regular basis depending on how often you ride your ATV. A battery that is low on electrolytes is relatively easy to fix by simply adding distilled water to the battery to raise the electrolyte levels. Just make sure you only add water (unless otherwise noted by the manufacturer) to avoid any serious consequences to the battery.
If you have a battery operating without electrolytes (often called a maintenance free battery), you will want to check the voltage regularly. You can check this with a voltmeter and if its anything lower than 12 volts, you may need to change it back up. You should check the voltage every two to three months, depending on how often you ride the ATV.
Care for the exhaust tube
The battery exhaust tube is prone to getting clogged by environmental waste, grease, and dirt. It is also prone to kinking. You should regularly inspect this past cot make sure it's clean and in good condition to ensure your vehicle isn’t working overtime to get the power the battery delivers.