My Honda ATV Has Battery Voltage But Won’t Start

What does it mean when the red light on a Honda ATV turns on for a couple of seconds and the battery shows it has voltage but the machine won’t start? 

Partzilla’s Honda ATV expert John Talley livestreams on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern to answer your motorcycle and ATV repair questions. In this session, John was asked why the battery on a Honda Foreman 450 shows voltage on a meter but the ATV won’t start.

Honda ATV battery no-start

Honda ATV Battery Voltage Problem Q&A

I have a Honda Foreman 450 that I turn the key and the red light comes on for about 2 seconds and it acts like it has a dead battery, but it has 13.04 volts. Any thoughts? 

John Talley: That tells me you have checked it with a voltmeter. But I’m questioning that it’s a tick high, and I’m wondering if that’s just a surface voltage. It’s not a real charge. You’ve got the voltage there but it doesn’t have the ability to back it up with the starting amperage. But, before you throw the battery away, do a test on it. If you can get your hands on a battery tester, and if it tests right, what you’re describing may be, I don’t want to say a faulty ground, but an inefficient ground. I mean, I’ve seen plenty of ground wires going to the frame hooked up to the battery where you think it’s fine. But then you pull it apart and it has this little white dust in between the terminal itself and the wire coupling, if you will. Clean that off with a wire brush, put it back together, and then it has the ability to ground it properly. My bet on this one, hmm, 13 volts, that’s high for static but hey, put a test on it and take a look at that grounding circuit and make sure that terminal is cleaned up properly.  

Buy an ATV battery tester

Buy an ATV battery

Watch the video below to see how to test the charging system on a Honda ATV.

Watch the video below to see how to test and replace the battery on a Honda ATV.

Watch the video below to learn about what to check first when a Honda ATV won’t start.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.



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