What Kind of Battery Does a Snowmobile Use? [Buying Guide]


Snowmobiles use 12V powersport batteries. The typical OEM snowmobile batteries are sealed lead-acid YUASA batteries, which usually last 2-3 years with proper maintenance. If you are looking for a replacement battery for your sled, you can’t go wrong with a sealed AGM or even a lithium battery.

Although the cost of a battery is only a small fraction of the thousands of dollars that a snowmobile costs each year, selecting one still requires consideration.

If you want to find out which snowmobile batteries are the best ones on the market, this post is for you.

You not only can find out which battery is the best for your sled, but you can also learn how to replace and maintain it!

Which is the Best Snowmobile Battery?

The best snowmobile batteries are arguably the lithium and sealed AGM (absorbed glass-mat) batteries. Unlike conventional lead-acid batteries, they are maintenance-free, more powerful, and last much longer. Moreover, you don’t have to be afraid of leaks or spilling as they are completely sealed. One of the best snowmobile battery manufacturers is Earth X, which offers a few different batteries for sleds:

These batteries stand out from the crowd as they are lighter, more durable and powerful than most of the competitors.

Drawbacks?

Mainly their prices, as Earth X batteries are among the most expensive snowmobile batteries on the market!

How Long do Snowmobiles Batteries Last?

Snowmobile batteries last around 2 to 5 years depending on the type and how it is maintained. Conventional snowmobile batteries typically last 2-3 years, while higher-quality lithium and sealed AGM snowmobile batteries last around 3-5 years.

It also has to be mentioned that the life span of a snowmobile battery strongly depends on how you maintain it.

To get the most out of it, you may want to know how to charge a snowmobile battery.

How do You Charge a Snowmobile Battery?

To properly charge a snowmobile battery just follow these five simple steps:

  • Keep the terminals and the top of the battery clean
  • Check the voltage regularly (every 2 months)
  • Make sure you use a smart charger
  • Recharge if voltage is below 12.5V
  • Remove the battery for the offseason and keep it on a battery tender

Keep in mind that snowmobile batteries are self-discharging over time. That’s why you should always check the battery if you don’t ride your sled regularly.

The leading reason why batteries need to be replaced so often that they don’t get the required regular charge.

It’s also very important to keep the battery clean. If you see some build up on the terminals, clean them carefully. If the terminals are corroded it not only can shorten the battery’s lifespan, but it can also keep your sled from starting. Aside from the terminals, you may also want to keep the top of the battery and the connectors clean.

To charge a snowmobile battery, it’s recommended that you use a smart charger. These chargers switch into “maintenance mode” immediately when the battery is fully charged. The main benefit of this feature is that you don’t have to worry about overcharging.

If you regularly ride your sled in very cold weather, you can also consider using a battery heater. This unit can keep your battery warmer, which results in easier starts in the morning. It’s good to know that snowmobile batteries are prone to losing half of their strength because of low temperatures. And as we know, cranking a cold engine requires a lot of power.

When it comes to off-season storage, best practice is to remove the battery from your sled and store it in a cool and dry place. If you hook it up to a battery tender, you can forget it until the next season.

The other way is to periodically charge the battery with a regular charger. If you set a reminder on your phone, you are less likely to forget this!

For further snowmobile battery maintenance tips we highly recommend this informative video:

Can a Snowmobile Run Without a Battery?

Many snowmobiles can run without a battery. Generally, older carbureted snowmobiles don’t feature batteries at all. On the other hand, newer fuel-injected and 4-stroke sleds usually come with a battery. This is because these sleds already have a bunch of electronic parts like electric starts, fuel injection systems, fuel pumps, computers, and so on. And these systems need a steady 12V to run properly and safely!

You probably want to know if your snowmobile is equipped with a battery and whether you can ride it without the battery or not.

As a rule of thumb, if your snowmobile features a battery, you shouldn’t ride it without one. Contrary to popular belief, the battery is not just for an electric start! Although snowmobiles generate electricity while their engines run, this is not as steady as a battery can provide. Thus, if you ride these sleds without a battery you risk damaging its sensitive electric parts. Finally, it may end in costly repairs.

As it’s simply not worth the risk, it’s highly recommended not to ride your sled without a battery!

Can you pull start a snowmobile without a battery?

In many cases, it’s possible to pull start a snowmobile without a battery. But as you already know, even if a snowmobile starts without a battery, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to ride it! There are mountain sledders who are considering removing their batteries to make their snowmobiles lighter. It’s a risky way to make a sled lighter, thus it’s not recommended at all.

How do You Install a Snowmobile Battery?

You can install a snowmobile battery in 12 easy steps:

  • Select and purchase the right replacement battery
  • Turn off the engine and open the hood
  • Remove the parts blocking the battery
  • Disconnect the negative (black) cable first
  • Disconnect the positive (red) cable
  • Remove the old battery from its compartment
  • Clean the connectors
  • Install the new battery
  • Reconnect the positive (red) cable first
  • Reconnect the negative (black) cable
  • Replace the parts that have been removed
  • Close the hood and test the systems

If you are unsure of how to remove your snowmobile battery, don’t hesitate to check the owner’s manual.

And as a last word, be very careful to not confuse the wires when you install the new battery. It can damage your sled’s electronic parts!

FAQs About Snowmobile Batteries

How many volts is a snowmobile battery?

Snowmobiles feature 12V batteries. This means that if they are fully charged, the nominal voltage of these batteries is 12.8 Volts. If you notice that the battery’s voltage is less than 12.5 Volts, you should hook it up to a charger immediately!

How does a snowmobile charge its battery?

Snowmobiles charge their batteries with a stator, which is known as a magneto as well. Simply put it’s a magnet that is rotating around a bunch coils. Some coils generate the electricity for the ignition system, while other coils feed the other electronic parts. It’s safe to say that a stator does the same job in snowmobiles as the alternator in your car.

This means that if you use your sled regularly it will charge its battery during your rides.

How do you test a snowmobile battery?

You can test a snowmobile battery with a multimeter. First, switch the multimeter to DC voltage and the dial has to be set to 20 volts. In this way, you can accurately measure between 0 and 20 Volts. Then, you have to touch the red probe to the battery’s positive terminal, then the black probe to the negative. You can read the voltage on the screen of the multimeter. If your battery is in good condition, the voltage should be around 12.6-12.8V.

What does a voltage regulator do on a snowmobile?

Snowmobile voltage regulators have two functions. First, they generate a predetermined output voltage, which is typically cut off at 14V. To achieve this, voltage regulators usually feature a transistor. The second function of these parts is that they turn the AC to DC, by using a bridge rectifier.

How much do snowmobile batteries costs?

Snowmobile batteries cost around $50-$400 depending on the make and model. The price of the conventional batteries range from $50 up to $100. In contrast, AGM snowmobile batteries costs around $100-$150, while you should be prepared to pay no less than $150-$400 for a lithium battery.

Conclusion

Snowmobiles use 12V batteries, which results in 12.8V when they are fully charged.

There are many different types of batteries on the market to choose form. New sleds come with sealed lead-acid batteries, however these are not the best options available.

Instead, the lithium and sealed AGM batteries are currently considered to be the best snowmobile batteries. They last longer, are maintenance-free, and offer more power even at extremely low temperatures. Unfortunately, they are the most expensive as well.

But finally, they are worth every penny, as it is always a hassle if your sled won’t start due to a weak battery!

References:

https://blog.batterysharks.com/snowmobile-batteries-faq/

https://blog.kimpex.com/2016/09/3-useful-tips-to-make-your-snowmobile-battery-last-longer

https://northeastbattery.com/replace-snowmobile-battery-guide/

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