Can You Charge ATV Battery with a Car? (Guide Included)


It can be quite scary to run out of battery on your four-wheeler in the middle of nowhere. On the bright side of things, you can quickly jumpstart an ATV battery with a car if there is no other option.

You can charge an ATV battery with a car. However, this is not advisable because the car battery provides a bigger charge than the ATV battery requires, leading to overheating. You should only use a car to jumpstart an ATV battery and then charge it by running the four-wheeler for 30 minutes. If you use the car battery for more than to jumpstart the ATV, you will end up frying the four-wheeler’s battery because it receives too much current.

While charging an ATV battery with a car is not a good idea, you can still use the car to jumpstart the four-wheeler and get it running. Today I’ll show you how.

guide to charging ATV batteries

Can You Charge ATV Battery with a Car?

charging a dead ATV battery

There is a long list of reasons why your ATV battery might die. It can happen anytime, and if you are lucky, the battery will die when the ATV sits in your garage for too long. Unfortunately, it can also happen on the trail where you don’t have too many options to charge the battery. This is when you can use a car to jumpstart the ATV battery.

It’s important that you should try and avoid charging the ATV battery with your car. You should only use the car to jumpstart the four-wheeler and then ride it until the battery is filled up. The reason behind this is that the car battery has a higher amperage than the four-wheeler’s battery, and it will cause it to overheat. In general, a car battery has around 10 amps or more than an ATV battery.

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Therefore, you can use your car to charge the ATV battery. However, you should disconnect the car from the ATV right from the moment that the four-wheeler turns on. You can now start riding the four-wheeler until the battery reaches maximum capacity. The best way to avoid dealing with battery problems is to know how to spot the bad ATV symptoms. I wrote a guide that tells you everything there is to know about bad ATV battery symptoms and how you can fix them.

Sidenote: Make sure only to use the car to jumpstart the ATV. Do not try and charge the ATV battery to maximum capacity because it will overheat.

How to Jumpstart an ATV with a Car Battery

If you are stuck with your ATV offroad and don’t know how to jumpstart it with a car battery, you should be pleased to know that it’s not very complicated. Just follow the steps below, and you will have the four-wheeler running in no time:

  • Put the car and ATV in neutral;
  • Push the ATV close the car’s hood;
  • Attach the jumper cables to the good battery;
  • Attach the other ends to the dead ATV battery;
  • Turn on the car and let it run for 3-5 minutes;
  • Turn on the ATV (while the jumper cables are still connected);
  • Remove the jumper cables;
  • Ride the ATV for around 30 minutes to fully charge the battery.

It’s essential to have a pair of jumper cables in your trunk. You never know when you (or a friend) might need them. The great thing about jumper cables is that high-quality pair is quite cheap and it works for both quads and cars. I like using the ones made by Energizer. They are available on Amazon and you can usually get them for less than $20.

Another essential item for people who love riding ATVs outdoors and don’t want to get stuck due to a dead battery is a jump starter kit. What’s great about jump starter kits is that you don’t need to have an extra battery around. You can just hook it up to the dead ATV battery and get it fully charged by pressing a single button. You can read more about jump starter kits and how to use them on ATVs in this article, where I showcase a full guide to jumpstarting Polaris ATVs.

Conclusion

As a final thought, I need to highlight that while you can charge an ATV battery with a car, it’s not a good idea. Car batteries have a higher amperage; therefore, they will overheat ATV batteries if left connected for too long. You don’t want that to happen! This is why you should only use your car to jumpstart the ATV and then charge the battery by riding the four-wheeler. If you want to learn more about ATV battery voltage, you should check out my ATV battery voltage guide.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at bobtheatvguy@gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

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