Can You Jump Start A UTV? 7 Things You Need To Know

can you jump start a utv

It’s finally that day you’ve been looking forward to. You hook up to the UTV trailer and drive out to your favorite trail for a great day of riding. Once you arrive at your destination you jump in your side by side, turn the key and click…. click…. click…. Your battery is stone cold dead!

Can you jump start a UTV with your truck? It is a bad idea to jump start your UTV battery with a car or truck battery as it may cause damage to the battery or the electrical system. If there is no other option then it is best not to start the vehicle you are jump starting your UTV with.

Taking proper care of your UTV battery is a very important to making sure that your UTV stays in tip top shape and ready to roll when you are. In this post we will go over the do’s and don’t of jump starting your UTV as well as the proper care and maintenance for your UTV battery.

How To Jump Start A UTV

As mentioned above you can jump start your UTV with a car or truck but it is not the best option if you don’t want to risk wrecking your battery or electrical system. But If you have another ATV or UTV that you could jump start from, that would be the better option.

Some people might argue that a 12 volt battery is a 12 volt battery, so it really shouldn’t matter if you jump your UTV with a car or truck.

But here’s the thing, the charging system on your car or truck actually puts out 13 to 14 volts and even up to 15 in some cases. And most UTV batteries, starters and electrical systems are not designed to take that kind of load.

If you have no other option and need to jump start your UTV with your car or truck, then it is best to turn off the vehicle that will be boosting your UTV. Ensuring your vehicle is turned off will ensure the charging system is not damaging your UTV’s electrical.

Essential Tools You Should Carry To Jump Start Your UTV

Steps For Jump Starting From Another UTV or ATV

  1. Bring your machines close enough that the battery cables can reach both batteries.
  2. Attach your jumper cables to the good battery.
  3. Attach your jumper cables to the dead battery.
  4. Start the machine with the good battery and let it run for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Start the machine with the dead battery.
  6. If your machine starts, leave it running until you can get it home and charge the battery.
  7. If your machine does not start, check your battery and cables, then follow steps 2 – 6 again
    • Double check that your cables are installed properly
    • Double check the condition of your cables
    • Ensure your battery connections are tight

Jump Starting Your UTV From A Car Or Truck

  1. Bring car or truck close enough that the battery cables can reach both batteries.
  2. Turn of the ignition on your car or truck. (very important)
  3. Attach your jumper cables to the car or trucks  good battery.
  4. Attach your jumper cables to the UTV’s dead battery.
  5. Start your UTV.
  6. If your UTV starts, leave it running until you can get it home and charge the battery.
  7. If your machine does not start, check your battery and cables, then follow steps 2 – 6 again
    • Double check that your cables are installed properly
    • Double check the condition of your cables
    • Ensure your battery connections are tight

How To Charge A Dead UTV Battery

My first choice for charging a dead UTV battery would be to use a battery charger like this smart charger from Amazon. Smart battery chargers are probably the safest chargers on the market and they typically charge 2X faster than a regular battery charger.

In the event that you don’t have access to a battery charger you can get the UTV started by boosting it off another UTV or ATV. Once your UTV is started then the charging system will take over and begin charging your battery.

Keep in mind though, the charging system in your UTV is not designed to charge a battery from the dead state, they are designed to maintain a well charged battery. However it will keep your battery going until you are able to get it home and charged properly.

Can You Push/Bomb Start A UTV?

We’ve all done it with our cars, trucks or even motorcycles. You get a couple buddies to give you a push while hold down the clutch with the transmission in 1st gear, then once you are moving at a decent pace, you drop the clutch and voila… your on your way.

Unfortunately, side by sides and most ATV’s have a centrifugal clutch which makes this impossible to do.

In order for your engine to turn over you would need your primary clutch to engage, which would turn your engine over and of course start it. The problem is, when you push your UTV it will only turn your secondary clutch and the belt would spin freely inside your primary clutch.

There is still a way though, depending on the model of UTV that you own. If you can get at your primary clutch and wrap a strap or rope around it a few times, then give it a pull like you would a typical pull start. See the video below.

Note: If you do try this method DO NOT wrap the strap around your hand. Doing so could cause serious injury if the strap gets caught in the clutch.

How To Store A UTV Battery When It’s Not In Use

If you do not plan to use your UTV for any length of time there are a few preventative maintenance steps that you should take in order to keep your battery in tip top shape.

Let’s face it, batteries aren’t exactly cheap and who wants to be buying a new battery once or twice a year because they failed to maintain them properly.

  • Disconnect Your Negative Battery Terminal – This is the minimum you should do as far as preventive maintenance when you are storing your UTV over any period of time. This will prevent the chance of draining your battery.
  • Store Your Battery In A Warm, Dry Location – One of the worst things for your battery is letting it freeze over the winter months. Once your battery has froze you can pretty much bet it’s garbage. Sometimes a frozen battery will take a charge after it has froze but it won’t be that reliable and very prone to going dead again.
  • Maintain Your Charge With A Battery Tender – This is probably the best option when you are storing your UTV. And the best part is, if you get the Battery Tender Junior (amazon link) it actually has hook ups that will attach to your UTV battery so you never have to pull the battery out in order to use the tender.

It is important not to get a battery tender confused with a trickle charger or regular battery charger. Battery chargers and trickle chargers are not designed to stop charging when they have reached full charge.

However a battery tender has the brains that tell it when your battery is fully charged, it stops charging and periodically “tends” to your battery to keep it fully charged.

Using A Full Size Battery In A UTV

Can you upgrade to a full size battery in your UTV? In short, yes you can. And it can be very beneficial to you depending on why you want to upgrade. But there are a few different things that you should consider before you decide to run a full size car or truck battery in your side by side.

The charging system in a UTV is different than the charging system you will typically find in a car or truck. Your car or truck uses an alternator to charge your battery. However your UTV uses a stator to charge your battery.

With that said, your side by sides stator will not put out enough amperage to properly charge your battery. The simple fix to this would be to either charge it 100% before each ride or hook up a battery tender every time you park your machine at home.

Is the battery your installing a sealed battery? Most full size 12V batteries are not a sealed unit. Which can be both unsafe for the riders as well as non friendly to the environment. If your battery is not a sealed unit you run the risk of spilling battery acid in the event that you flip your machine. Also, just the rough terrain that you could be riding on could cause your battery to leak.


If you need to jump start you UTV while out on the trail it is best to either use a portable jump starter or jump it from another UTV or ATV.

However if you do not have access to either of those, then you can use your car or truck to boost your UTV. It is very important to ensure you turn off the ignition of the car or truck before hooking up cables to your side by side.

Proper maintenance of your battery is key to ensuring that you do not find yourself stranded on the trails with a dead battery.

It is recommended that you use a battery tender whenever your battery will be sitting unused for any extended period of time. Also when you’re charging a dead battery it is the safest option to use a smart charger.


Chris has always had a love for 4X4ing whether it be mudding, hill climbing, trail riding or accessing remote fishing locations that can't be accessed any other way... So, when Chris drove his first side by side he knew that he had found the perfect vehicle for such an occasion! In Chris' spare time, if he is not out riding with his family and friends you will usually find him immersed in further educating himself with side by sides and writing or brainstorming a new post or video for UTV Junky readers.

Recent Posts