How to Test an ATV Battery


Today's ATVs are larger, more powerful, and come with more options than ever before. All of this is great for the ATV enthusiast, but it places a significant load on both the battery and the charging system of the machine. To ensure that you are not left high and dry somewhere with a dead battery, a regular ATV maintenance routine should include the testing of its battery.

Things You'll Need

  • Battery testing hydrometer (measures specific gravity)
  • Digital voltmeter
  • Digital load tester
  • Look over the battery first. If you notice any cracks in the case or damage to the terminals, replace the battery. For non-sealed batteries, check the fluid level and fill as necessary so that all the battery plates are covered.

  • Put a full charge into the battery prior to any testing. Remove the surface charge on the battery by turning on the headlights or some other battery powered application for a few minutes.

  • Get a copy of the battery manufacturer's specifications and have it handy for referral as you test the battery. A copy came with the battery when you purchased it, or you may find one on the manufacturer's website.

  • Take a specific gravity reading of all the cells in the battery with a hydrometer. Do this by squeezing the bulb and releasing it so that it sucks up some electrolyte, and then taking a reading from the scale on the hydrometer. Compare this number to the spec sheet for readings that are acceptable by the manufacturer's standards.

  • Hook up the voltmeter across both battery terminals and take a voltage reading. Compare this also to the manufacturer's specs for a fully charged battery.

  • Perform a load test on the battery using the digital load testing device. Follow the instructions for the type of load tester that you are using. A load test will tell you if the ATV battery has an interior defect. If your ATV battery fails any of the above tests, it needs to be replaced.

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