The battery is the most important element of any battery-running device. Just like the words “batteries not included” can be devastating to a kid, a dead or faulty vehicle battery have a similar effect on most adults.
ATV or quad bikes also run on batteries and are prone to fizzing out when you need them the most. But the good news is you can extend the life of your vehicle’s battery by following a standard maintenance schedule.
This ensures the bike is always ready for an adventure and will not let you down when you need it the most. We have compiled a user’s guide to taking care of their ATV’s battery using recommendations and suggestions offered by the leading battery manufacturers in the market.
1. Check the Electrolyte/Voltage Level
Conventional batteries contain electrolytes which is why it is important to check on the electrolyte level often to ensure the battery gives the optimal performance.
You can add distilled water to the battery but do not make the mistake of adding acid to the mix. After the water is added the battery should be charged so the distilled water can mix with the electrolyte.
If you have a maintenance free battery then what you need to check is not the electrolyte level but the voltage level. This activity should be repeated after every three months starting from the day the battery was bought.
A voltmeter can be used to check the level but all the caps should be tightened with the fingers before you proceed with this activity. A fully charged battery should give a reading anywhere between 12.8 to 13 volts two hours after charging.
2. Keep the Battery Clean
The battery should look presentable. Apart from looking brand new, it prevents the dirt, dust and grease from hindering the operation. A soft brush can be used to scrub the top of the battery.
If you do not have a grease-cutting soap at hand then baking soda works equally well at cutting the grease stains on the battery’s frame.
The terminals and clamps should be cleaned with a wire brush to remove any signs of corrosion. After you are done cleaning, be sure to tighten he plugs so the cleaning agents do not contaminate the cells and tamper with the acidity levels in the electrolyte.
3. Inspect the Connections
Perform a full and thorough visual inspection of the battery cables, case and clamps to see if there are any loose or damaged connections.
If there are cracks on the case or it has been discolored then the battery may have experienced overcharging or overheated at some point. A raised top or warping are also signs of improper charging of the battery.
4. Check for Sulfation/Sedimentation
Always look inside the battery to see if there is any sedimentation or sulfation. Excessive sediments may get trapped in the battery and negatively affect the performance of the battery.
Sulfation can occur when the battery is continuously discharged or the electrolyte levels are dangerously low. It affects the uptime of the battery and makes it discharge faster than usual.
To prevent sediment from building up or sulfation from taking place the electrolyte levels should be maintained and the battery should always be charged when it has discharged.
5. Keep the Exhaust Tube Clean
The battery exhaust tube can get clogged with environmental waste or grease. It should be kept clean by removing all clogs and kinks inside it. The exhaust tube of an ATV is usually located away from the drive chain and underneath the swing arm of the bike.
6. Charge the Battery Periodically
The battery of your ATV vehicle should always be at 100 percent when it is not in use. For this a good quality charger will be required.
Also if the lights on the vehicle are dimmer than usual or the ignition sounds weaker, the battery should be recharged immediately.
If you have not taken your quad bike out for a spin in a long time (generally more than two weeks) then it should be charged before it is used. Regular charging of the battery ensures it lasts for a long time.
Since the ATV battery is smaller than a car battery it requires a low ampere setting on the charger. The charger can be set anywhere between the 0.6 to 3 amperes range. Car chargers are generally designed to deliver a higher amperage and caution is advised when using them in conjunction with an ATV battery.
7. Store it Safely
The ATV battery should be properly stored not only for your own safety but for the battery’s safety as well. If you do not use the quad bike very frequently then disconnect the battery from the vehicle to drain all charge present in it.
However, the battery should still be charged after every two weeks. To make the battery last longer it should be fully charged after it is removed from the ATV and then charged every month from then onwards.
The recommended ambient temperature for storing batteries is 60° F or lower. You can however store in warmer places too but then the battery should be charged fortnightly.
This is important to remember during the winter season when the low temperatures and colder climate can freeze up an unused battery. It is also common sense to keep the battery stored in a space that is not accessible to little children.
Your ATV’s battery requires monthly maintenance to continue to run smoothly. If you have a proper charger for the battery and continue to charge it regularly then very little maintenance is required.
Yet, it is still important to keep checking the battery every month and following all the steps listed above to extend its service life. Make this maintenance guide part of your monthly routine to ensure your battery lasts longer and performs better.