Will An ATV Run Without A Battery? Save Money On Batteries!

In ATV Setups by Kevin

Will An ATV Run Without A Battery?

A long time ago, the battery of my quad died and I had no replacement nearby. it was a bummer because it was the only quad that I had at that time and I thought that I won’t be using it for a while until I got a replacement battery. interestingly, the quad still started (with a bit more effort but it started).

And it wasn’t limping either, it had pretty much the same power as always. then my friend told me that using the quad without a battery hurts the engine and the components. this is not universal though, It depends on which quad you have. some fancier quads depend on electronically assisted units that tell the engine what to do. some fuel injection systems in quads are also dependent on electronics. however, there are 4Wheelers that don’t have such systems and the battery is more reserved for the lights etc…

Yes, some ATVs will run without a battery, some won’t. however, even if your quad can run without a battery that doesn’t mean that you should! when you rev the engine, it will generate voltage, which is transmitted to the regulator, and since it doesn’t have anything to transmit the voltage, it will probably hurt the electrical system, especially if the engine is revved a lot.

If you really want to use it without a battery though, make sure to go easy on it and avoid going too fast.
ATVs have several electric and mechanical components that work together to make the quad work. and obviously, the electricity comes from the battery. It is involved in several engine processes and it powers other things like the lights and more. but as you know, the primary part of the quad is an ICE (internal combustion engine) and that doesn’t need any electricity.

So It Runs, What’s The Problem?

Like I said in the last paragraph, you can easily fry the components of the quad by not having a battery. some of you may know that many newer quads will need a closed circuit for it to work. so that means that some quads that need electronic assistance to start might be able to work with a mostly depleted battery. if that’s the case you are good to go.

There are some older quads that have carburetors instead of using fuel injection, and that means that it’s much easier on the electrical system. so using the ATV for a day or 2 without a battery is fine with the carburated models.

Another good sign that your ATV might work without a battery is if it comes with a pull starter. that makes starting the quad a mostly mechanical endeavor. you might notice that the quad might stall once in a while if you used the pull start without the battery, which means that it’s not made to be used without electricity. in this case try to get some charge on that battery asap or better yet, a new one.

Avoid Damaging Your ATV

One of the best things to do if you are going to use the ATV without a battery is to just leave the old battery connected even though it doesn’t have any charge. the reason for this is that it avoids a short circuit in vulnerable models. a short circuit is when electricity flows to a component that it shouldn’t be flowing to. some quads (pretty much all modern ones) have built-in short circuit protection that solves this but some older ATVs don’t have it and that’s when engines start malfunctioning etc…

Not having any battery connected also has the added disadvantage of reducing engine performance. some of the engine work is lost on the open circuit which reduces speed and torque of your ATV.

But the best way to protect your ATV if don’t have a new battery is simply to recharge the old one. that way you don’t use the ATV in a way it’s not supposed to and also avoids limpness because of no electricity.

I Don’t Want To Risk It, What Are The Alternatives?

If you don’t want to take any chances, try buying a battery recommended in the manual of the ATV. like I said in the first paragraph, I was having issues with the battery of the quad. I toiled around with the old one connected for a few weeks but I just decided to buy a new one instead. so I went into Amazon and got this great battery from them. quad electric systems work better with different batteries so it might be wise to shop around to find the best one. If you don’t have the money for that, just buy a used battery. this is better than riding with no battery and it’s cheaper.

Car Batteries On An ATV: A Good Idea Or A Ticking Time Bomb?

I have heard this one before. some people say that it works and that nothing smells like smoke (lol) and others say that you will hurt the ATV by using a battery with the wrong amp rating. they also usually don’t fit in the ATV, so you are gonna have to make some homemade mods to make sure it fits.

I would only recommend doing this for old models that you don’t care about. if you can’t make sure that the amp config of the battery/ATV is the same, then you might destroy the internal components!


Like I have said, yes. for most ATVs, you can ride for a while without a working battery. not all ATVs are able to do this, some quads have electronically controlled components which means that they need batteries no matter what. there are some older models which use carburetors which reduces reliance on electricity and thus, batteries.

Just because you can use it without batteries doesn’t mean you should! a good tip is to research your particular model on ATV forums online to see which can be used with no batteries.

Another thing that ATV enthusiasts are doing is installing a car battery to replace the old one. doing this without knowing about the kind of battery you are using can destroy your ATV so tread carefully! it’s better to be safe than sorry so avoid doing that.