Can You Pull Start An ATV Without A Battery?

Your worst fear has been realized; your ATV battery is dead, flat, broken, kaput. Whatever word you want to use, the battery is not working, and your beloved ATV will not start. 

You start to panic; how can you fix it? Can you pull start, even without a battery? Your mind starts racing at 100 miles per minute, thinking of possible solutions, dreading the cost of a new battery. 

But before you give yourself a headache, spend five minutes with us today. We will find out if you can pull start an ATV without a battery and answer all of your four-wheeler battery-related queries! 

Keep on reading for all the information you will ever need! ATVA is here for your outdoor riding questions.

What is a pull start?

Before we get into pull starts without batteries, let’s have a little refresh for those newbies in the room. A pull start is a lever usually located on the lower half of the engine.

They are commonly used in ATVs, go-karts, and lawnmowers. 

A pull start will be attached to a starter recoil, which usually appears as a round component with the pull mechanism attached. Its job is to turn the engine over manually.

When the mechanism is pulled, it usually looks like a handle; the attached cable or rope and internal springs will cause the recoil assembly to rotate. 

Next, the tabs inside the recoil catch the notches inside an internal cup connected to the crankshaft.

The notches catching inside the cup rotate, rotating the crankshaft, and turning the engine over. You will hear the all too familiar sound, and voila, your engine has started! 

It sounds like a handy feature, doesn’t it? Let’s look at its function now when you have a defective or dead battery!

Can you pull start an ATV without a battery?

Yes, you can run your ATV without a battery! Providing that your ATV features a magneto and a pull-start, you can run your ATV without the battery.

As long as your ATV does not rely on electronics to run, then you can run the ATV without a battery, fantastic news for some ATV users! 

There are some exceptions that you will need to be aware of, though. ATVs such as the Outlander will not work without a battery.

Modern, computerized ATVs are also unlikely to work, as they need the power from the battery to power everything from the fuel to the spark. In these cases, you will need to replace the battery, or if the battery is flat, look into repair or jump-starting it. 

Can you pull start an ATV with a dead battery?

Yes, you should be able to pull start an ATV with a dead battery! As we have seen earlier, ATVs can operate without a battery, providing they do not require an electronic system to run.

Operating the pull start will engage your engine and allow you to use your ATV as usual. 

Some users do find pull starts difficult to operate depending on the ATV they have.

They can sometimes require several pull attempts to turn the engine over, depending on how difficult the cable is to pull and how strong you are. 

Those with computerized ATVs might struggle, especially if their engine relies on the battery or other computer systems to operate.

However, for those with a pull switch and a dead battery, it is often the only way to start your ATV. 

How do you start a four wheeler with a screwdriver?

Using a screwdriver to start your four-wheeler is quite a simple process. Hammer the screwdriver into the ignition, and use the handle of the screwdriver to turn it as if it was your usual key.

The screwdriver will break the pins in the lock, allowing you to turn the ignition on. 

From then, you can drive your four-wheeler as usual. Be careful with this method, though.

Using a screwdriver to start a four-wheeler is a popular method used by thieves, so you might have some explaining to do should anyone see you driving with a screwdriver sticking out of your ignition! 

The screwdriver might not work in some cases and leave you with broken pins and a screwdriver sticking out of your ignition!

It is best to save the screwdriver as a last resort when you need to get your ignition going, and your key has failed. 

After using a screwdriver, you will also need to replace the ignition at some point, so be mindful of that.

How do you start a four wheeler without a key?

There are a few different methods you can try to start a four wheeler without a key. The first is to try the pull or kick start depending on the ATV that you have.

You can also try any of the following methods to start your ATV without a key: 

  • Hot wiring 
  • Disassemble the ignition to start the ATV manually
  • Scissors or a screwdriver in  the ignition slot 
  • Jump the starter relay or solenoid wires with a wrench
  • Have a replacement key made 
  • Replace the ignition switch

These methods all pose a risk of damaging your ignition, especially the scissors or screwdriver in the ignition.

When it comes to using these methods, be sure to weigh up the outcomes before attempting any of these. 

While a replacement key or new ignition switch seems the easiest, these can be costly compared to homemade attempts.

However, they are the smoothest option to choose as they are unlikely to damage your bike or the ignition itself. 

Be mindful that once you insert a screwdriver or scissors into the ignition, it will be damaged. You will probably need to replace the ignition later down the line or drive with scissors or a screwdriver hanging out! 

The same applies to hot-wiring! It might be worth taking relevant documentation when driving an ATV that you have started without a key to prove that you haven’t stolen it!

Several of these methods, particularly hot wiring and using a screwdriver, are popular with thieves, be mindful of some looks you might get!