How to Install or Replace an ATV Battery – Guide

Table of Contents

Installing or replacing an ATV battery is simple, but you need to do it the right way. Using a faulty one can cause harm to the vehicle or yourself. This article will discuss how to install an ATV battery or replace it in 8 simple steps. But before we begin on the installation, let us discuss some precautions to take when installing or replacing ATV batteries.

Precautions to take when installing or replacing an ATV battery

Video Credit: Kendall Todd TheSilverGuy

Beware of the Battery acid

Battery acid is dangerous when it comes into contact with any part of the body. You should always wear safety gloves, eyewear, and clothing to protect yourself from the acid. The battery acid contains sulphuric acid that can cause burns and irritate your skin. It can also damage your eyesight if it comes into contact with them.

When replacing a battery, you must ensure that the new one has been seated properly in its case before starting to use it again. If you notice any leaks from the old or new batteries, immediately clean up all leaking acid using baking soda and water.

Protect the terminals

If you are replacing an ATV or UTV’s battery that has been used for some time, the terminals may be corroded. You should clean the battery’s connectors before using it again to avoid any problems with its performance.

Using a power drill, you can remove corrosion by applying baking soda and water on both ends of the wire connector. Then rinse them under running hot water to ensure that all acid is removed from the wiring system.

Watch out for electrical energy

Electrical energy is hazardous when replacing an ATV battery. It occurs when you accidentally touch the terminals of a live wire. It can cause severe injuries and even death if you do not protect yourself from it.

Wear protective gloves and eyewear before starting work on any electrical connections or replacing an ATV battery. Turn off all power sources that may pose a threat to your safety during replacement. You should never touch any wires or battery terminals before disconnecting its power source. If you are unsure how to do it, it is best to let a professional handle the installation and ensure that all wiring is done correctly.

Gas emissions

When an ATV battery charges, it emits hydrogen gas which can combine with oxygen to cause an explosion. It is essential to take precautions when replacing an ATV battery.

It is best to charge your ATV battery in a place with free air circulation to avoid any gas buildup. You should also keep the room well ventilated to ensure that there is enough oxygen in it. If you notice any signs of poring or condensation on your battery, stop using its power source immediately.

Take care when storing ATV batteries.

ATV battery storage plays a vital role in the battery’s service life and safety. Lack of proper storage may lead to safety issues when using it.

You should always remove the battery from your ATV to store it. It is best to store it in a cool, dry place that has enough ventilation. You should also ensure no combustible materials are around because batteries can cause fires when they leak acid or explode.

Keep batteries away from children.

ATV and UTV batteries contain acid, which can cause severe injuries if it is within a child’s reach. It is best to keep them away from kids and ensure no loose wires or terminals. Children may accidentally touch them while playing around the ATV, leading to severe injuries.

Beware of the battery weight when lifting.

ATV batteries weigh around 80 pounds which makes it hard to carry them. When removing or installing an ATV battery, you should avoid lifting more than 25-30% of your body weight. If you are not strong enough, it is best to ask for help from a friend or professional mechanic instead. It ensures that no injuries occur while installing or replacing the battery.

Tools and Accessories for installing or replacing an ATV battery

You need the appropriate tools to enable you to do an excellent job in installing or replacing the ATV battery. The tools include:

Video Credit: Rocky Mountain ATV MC

Safety Gloves 

Safety gloves are an essential tool when replacing your ATV battery. The gloves come in pairs to offer protection to both your hands. They help you avoid injuries and protect your hands from acid leaks that can cause severe burns. There are different gloves available in the market for different jobs. You should be careful when choosing one because they are not all resistant to high temperatures and acidity. The prices of the safety gloves also vary depending on the brand. The best safety gloves are those that fit your hands tightly and have a soft lining. They should be made of materials that are resistant to acid. Also, ensure that the gloves fit your hand properly before you buy them.

Safety goggles 

Safety goggles are a must-have accessory that will keep you safe from acid leaks. The leaks can cause severe damage if they enter your eyes. Safety goggles are also essential when working with ATV batteries because they protect your eyes from flying debris. They differ from ordinary google since they are impact-resistant and have a tight seal around the face. It is also essential to ensure that they fit correctly before using them. The best goggles are made of shatterproof materials that are resistant to high temperature and acidity.

You can purchase safety goggles at any hardware store. They are generally cheap and can be used by anyone to protect their eyes. Also, the goggles are available at different prices and designs that you can select.

Wrench set 

One of the essential tools you need when replacing or installing an ATV battery is a wrench. It helps in loosening and tightening bolts to enable easy removal or installation of your new battery. Different types of wrenches vary according to their size, shape, length, and uses. The commonly used sizes for ATV batteries include 13 millimeters, 21 millimeters, as well as others. They should be made of high-quality materials so that they can withstand acidity and heat from the battery. It is also essential to note that the best wrenches are those that fit your hand perfectly.

Brushes and rags 

A brush or rag will help you to clean off any dirt on the battery before installing. You can also use them when filling in water during installation. They help remove dirt from the area, thereby preventing corrosion of bolts and terminals. They are available in different materials and shapes. The best brushes for ATV batteries should be rust-resistant to withstand acidity from the battery, which is very harmful to metals. Without the brushes and rugs, you can easily damage the bolts and terminals during installation or replacement.

Replacement Brush Caps 

Did you know that you need to replace the old caps with new ones to keep all connections and terminals sealed adequately? The replacement brush caps materials should withstand high temperatures and chemicals like lead-acid batteries. They also need to be resistant to vibration and mechanical shocks from the ATV. Some of the best brush caps are made of rubber, plastic, and brass materials which you can use to install or replace an ATV battery.

Replacement Battery 

You need to find a replacement battery that matches the specifications of the one in your ATV before installation. It ensures that it will function properly with all electrical components without any problems. You may have to ask for assistance at an auto parts store if you are unsure of the right type to use. They are available in different shapes, sizes, and designs which you should carefully select for proper installation. 

Vinegar or Baking soda

When replacing an ATV battery, you will need vinegar or baking soda to neutralize the acid on your skin. The acids can cause severe damage if they come into contact with the eyes and mouth. Vinegar and baking soda work by breaking down the short molecules and preventing penetration through human cells. They also help in neutralizing the acidity of spilled battery acid. The two are widely available and affordable to purchase. They should be used as quickly as possible when acid comes in contact with the skin. When purchasing either of them, it is recommended to use a sealed container to be stored for future use.

When is the Best Time to Replace the ATV Battery?

Verifying the condition of your battery is vital to determine whether to replace it. The first step is to bring your battery to full charge using its external charger. Then, allow your battery to sit for twelve hours to see if it discharges. Doing this prevents you from getting the wrong readings.

Using a voltmeter or multimeter, read the battery charge. Ensure that the multimeter is set to direct current voltage. Also, confirm that you attach its red clip to the battery’s positive clamp. 

What are Your Readings?

If the reading is below 12.4V, that battery is in bad condition, and it needs a replacement. Also, replace a battery whose current drops when it is not in connection.

Performing a load test could also enable you to determine your battery’s condition.

Which is the Best ATV Battery for You?

ATV batteries differ from one to the other. It could be due to

  • Varying sizes
  • Different capacities
  • The type and location of the battery clamps.
  • The type of battery(AGM, Lithium-ion, lead-ion, and GEL)

To determine which battery is best for your vehicle, you should:

  • Check your old batterys’ model number to know the exact battery to get to replace the old one.
  • Read the service manual of the batter to gather more information. It will give you the batteries specifications to get as a replacement.
  • You can also search and shop online. Using the specifications, for example, the battery type, you will have a variety to select. Consider their quality, price and read reviews to select one that suits you most.
  • You can also carry that old battery to your nearest auto store to show them the type of battery your ATV uses. Also, you can take a photograph of the battery as the reference of the battery that suits your ATV.
  • Another alternative is to request your dealer if they have your battery type in stock. But, take note that dealers’ prices are often higher than the online stores.

How to Install an ATV Battery

To start the process, you need the following tools and equipment.

  • 10mm jerk for disconnecting the batteries terminal connectors. You can also use a Phillips screwdriver instead.
  • To reach the battery, get equipment for removing plastic coverings
  • It would help if you also had a tool for removing the battery’s bracket
  • Have sunglasses for eye protection.

Remove the battery from the vehicle

1. Accessing Your Battery.

The batteries are in different locations on the ATV. While some are on the rear, others are on the front and middle of your vehicle. Also, some of them are accessible and visible when you are next to your bike. But, for others, you must remove covers made from plastic, the ATV seat, or different parts to access them.

If you cannot view it from outside, remove its seat and coverings on the front to check.

For example

  • The Textron TBX 700 Alterra is easy to access from the rear of an ATV. You only need to lift the cargo area.
  • For the Polaris 570 Sportsman, its battery is below the frame on the front of the vehicle.
  • The Polaris XP 1000 Sportsman is below your bike’s front rack. It is underneath some cables.

2. Disconnect the Negative Cable.

The negative cable is black, and it is best to disconnect it before the positive one. Disconnecting the negative plug fist is vital. It prevents igniting a shock as it connects with the chassis.

Disconnect the Positive Clip

3. Disconnect the Positive Clip.

The next step is disconnecting its positive cable that has ( +ve) or (POS) symbols.

Please note:

You should go through the user manual and follow the instructions. It will guide you in the process of disconnecting your battery’s terminals. It would be best to disconnect the black(negative) cable before the red(positive) one.

While disconnecting the red clips, ensure you do not contact the black one or the frame. It can result in a short.

4. Remove the Strap that Holds the Battery.

Every ATV battery has a different system that holds it in position. The majority of them have a strap that holds them down using one bolt. When undoing the straps, unscrew the bolt to loosen the battery.

Be cautious when unstrapping. Being careful will prevent the positive clamp from coming to contact with your unscrewing tool.

5. Remove Your Old Battery.

Your next step is to remove your old battery. Before lifting it out, check the wiring to enable you to install your new battery. It will help if you detangle the wires to create room for removing the battery. You can recycle instead of disposing of it.

6. Activate and Start Charging Your New Battery.

You should activate your new battery before you install it. Most ATV charging systems cannot charge a low battery. Also, your battery is bound to lose its charge if it stays inactive for an extended period. Thus, the excellent decision is to use an external charger. It ensures the battery reaches its total capacity before installing it.

The battery comes with a container that has the battery’s electrolyte. It will help if you read the instructions on activating the battery. Then, follow them word by word.

For example, some batteries usually come ready for installation. They do not need you to activate them. But, it is best if you also top-off its charge before you install it to your ATV.

7. Position the Battery and Strap It

Position your battery on its tray on the ATV like the old one was before you lifted it out. Ensure the red wire is in line with its positive clamp while the black with its negative terminal.

Install the retainer, ensuring the bolts are tight enough. Also, avoid over-tightening the bolts. The pressure may cause its battery housing to crack.

8. Connect Your Battery Connectors to Their Terminals

When connecting terminal connectors, attach the red wire to its positive terminal. Then, the black one to its negative terminal. To Install the terminals, ensure you reverse how you remove them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it matter what battery I put in my ATV?

Yes, the type of battery you put in your ATV matters. If it is not compatible, you can damage or destroy your ATV. You should purchase the one to match the specifications of the old battery in your ATV. It ensures that it works properly with all electrical components without any problems. Using any type of battery can have consequences. The faulty battery may not fit your ATV, damaging the electrical components and mechanical parts. If you are not sure what battery your ATV uses, it is best to check the user’s manual for the exact specifications. You can also consult your local dealer for professional advice.

How do you change a battery side by side?

When changing your battery side by side, you need to remove the old one first and then put in a new one. If it is an ATV with removable batteries, they should be removed carefully using wrenches before replacing them. It is also essential that the terminals on top of the battery are correctly covered not to cause any short circuit after installation. You also need to ensure that the area is clean and dry before installation not to cause any corrosion of bolts or terminals.

Read Relevant Guide – The Best Way of Charging Your ATV Battery

How many cold cranking amps do I need for my ATV?

The Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) for an ATV battery is coined to measure its performance under cold weather. It refers to the number of amps it can produce at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The power rating you need depends on how your ATV functions and what type of use it will receive. Generally, a low-end vehicle like a golf cart requires a CCA of about 500-550 amps, while high-end ATVs need around 1000 or more. You can use an online calculator to determine the number required for your ATV.

Can I put a larger battery in my ATV?

It can be possible to put a larger battery in your ATV. However, you may have problems with fitting it properly, and the electrical components might not function optimally or even start up at all. You need to ensure that there is enough space for its proper installation before doing so. Otherwise, it will lead to poor performance of your vehicle after installation. You should also check the shape of your battery to ensure that it will fit into the bay designed for its installation. If you are unsure if you can install a larger battery, you need to consult an expert or dealer before proceeding with such modification.