If your ATV won’t start, your first instinct might be to treat it like a car. ATVs and cars are very different types of vehicles but they may actually be able to work together.

A car can be used to jump-start an ATV, but there is a risk of damage to the ATV due to different battery sizes. Following a specific procedure will reduce the risk of damage and will likely help the ATV battery recharge. It is important to avoid starting the car while the vehicles are connected.

Here is a step-by-step guide to jump-starting your ATV with a car. Make sure you completely understand the process and your options before attempting a jump start.

How to Jump Start an ATV with a Car

Jumpstarting an ATV with a car is a very similar process to a regular jump start, but there is one crucial difference.

  1. Position the vehicles: You will want the car and the ATV to be very close to each other. The jumper cables need to reach from the car battery to the ATV battery without being pulled taught. An empty parking lot or driveway is usually the easiest place to get the vehicles into a good position.
  2. Expose the batteries: Pop the hood of the car and locate the battery. Car batteries are typically on the right side when you are looking under the hood, but this may vary by car. ATVs can store their batteries in numerous locations. It is easiest to look up your make and model to figure out where the battery is located if you don’t already know. You may have to remove the seat or a plastic cover to get access, or it may be accessible already. Both vehicles should be turned off at this point for the next steps.
  3. Locate the positives and negatives: Each battery will have a positive and negative terminal that should be very clearly labeled. You will likely have to remove plastic caps that are covering these terminals. Underneath the cap should be a small metal post or bolt. If there is any corrosion on the post, do not touch it, use a rag or wire brush to remove any residue. The jumper cables also have positive and negative ends, labeled by color. The red clamps should be attached to the positive terminals and the black clamps should be attached to the negative bolts. This should be done in a very specific order.
  4. Connect the jumper cables: First, attach a red clamp to the positive terminal on the ATV. Then, attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal on the car battery. Next, clamp the black cable to the negative post on the car battery. To ground the connection, attach the other black clamp to the negative end of the ATV battery. While you are connecting the cables, be careful to not allow the metal parts of the clamp to touch anything else.
  5. Do NOT turn on the car: If you have ever jump-started a car before, you may remember starting the car with a healthy battery to help get the dead car going. You should NOT do this when jumpstarting an ATV with a car. Since the batter sizes are incompatible, you will want to just leave the batteries attached with both vehicles turned off. The connection between the batteries can still transfer a little charge to the dead battery. Leave the vehicles connected for about five minutes before moving forward.
  6. Try starting the ATV: After a few minutes, start your ATV as normal, with the cables still attached. Hopefully, enough charge was able to transfer and the previously dead battery should turn over.
  7. Disconnect the cables: Once the ATV starts, you can disconnect the jumper cables. You should disconnect them in the opposite order you connected them. Start with the black cable on the ATV, then the black cable on the car, the red cable on the car, and then finally the red cable on the ATV. Just like when you were attaching the cables, you will want to be careful not to let the clamps touch anything else, especially anything metal in the car.
  8. Allow the battery to recharge: Don’t turn off the ATV just yet, you will want to leave it running for about 30 minutes. While it is running, the Alternator recharges the battery. You will want the battery to be full before turning it off so that you can start the ATV normally next time.

Risks of Using a Car to Jump-Start an ATV

Car batteries are much larger with a much higher power capacity than ATV batteries. If you were to start the car while the cables were connected, you would likely damage the whole electrical system of the ATV. If all of the power in a car battery was accessible to the ATV battery, it could permanently damage the battery.

With that level of damage, you would not be able to jump-start the ATV anymore, you would have to completely replace the battery. The method described above will help you lower the risk of electrical damage, but there is no guarantee. Jumpstarting an ATV with a car is not the best or safest option, but can be possible if you are in a pinch.

Alternative Options

Since jumpstarting your ATV with a car is not the best option, explore some other options first. The easiest method is an ATV-to-ATV jump start. If you are riding with a buddy or have access to another ATV, you can quickly and easily jump-start your dead battery. You would follow the same process for normally jumpstarting a car and just start the ATV with a working battery to get the dead battery to start. There is essentially no risk of battery damage because the two ATVs will have the same capacity of battery.

The other option is to essentially trick the engine into starting to that it can run long enough to charge the battery. This is called a compression start. Turn on the ATV so that you can put it into first gear, pull in the clutch, and start moving. You will probably need a buddy or a downhill slope to help you push the ATV and get it to about 10 MPH. When it is moving fairly quickly, it is much easier for the engine to turn over. At this point, you can let out the clutch and add gas to hopefully encourage the engine to turn over and get going.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *