Why Your ATV Is Clicking; It’s Usually Simple

ATVs are great vehicles that allow you to travel around your property without the necessity of a big car or truck. Alternatively, ATVs can be used for sports and competitive racing that can be very fun for people who love to enjoy the thrill of riding through nature. 

However, as with any mechanical vehicle, things can always go wrong within the inner workings of the ATV. Clicking is among the most common issues that ATV riders have to deal with. When there is a clicking sound coming from a vehicle, your impulse reaction might be to run as far away as possible - just us? 

If you’re still brave enough to be standing around your ticking ATV, there is some good news. The clicking is usually not as sinister as it might sound, and there are two reasons why the clicking might have started. 

Luckily, these two reasons are easily fixable, so you don’t have to worry about replacing the entire ATV just yet. These two reasons are either a weak battery or a starter motor relay issue. What’s even luckier is that the number of clicks you’re hearing will help you to diagnose the problem easily. 

In rare cases, your ATV could be clicking for another reason altogether. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves - let’s begin with the first question you need to answer. 

How Many Clicks Are You Hearing?

A Single Click

If you’ve heard one singular click, it’s often more of a thumping noise than a click. This noise will often be loud and brief. If it were quieter you might miss the problem, as there is no aftermath or other telltale signs that something is wrong. 

However, if you hear this thumping noise coming from your ATV, it might be the starter motor relay. The starter relay causing problems for your ATV is less common for riders, but it still does happen from time to time. 

The starter relay is a component of the ATVs ignition system and it redirects power from the battery to the starter solenoid, which then allows the starter to spin over the engine. As you can imagine, the more you use your ATV, the more the starter relay has to take a beating.

For this reason, it’s no surprise that the starter relay can become damaged - in fact, it’s a wonder that it doesn’t prove to be a problem more often! To see what to do if you hear one click coming from your ATV, scroll down the article to find the answer.  

Multiple Clicks

Alternatively, if you can hear more than one click, you might have to check the battery as this is the most common area for something to go wrong and produce a clicking sound. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the battery is dead and gone forever, but it might indicate that you have a weak battery on your hands that is quickly running out of life. 

A weak or dead battery is a much more common problem among ATVs and therefore there are much more in-depth ways of fixing the problem. To make sure it is a problem with the battery, you should be hearing quick and persistent clicks after you press the ignition key. 

Dead batteries can either be revived with a good charge or can remain dead and need to be replaced. Weak batteries need to be charged to ensure that they are stronger for your next ride; however, they might need to be replaced if they are failing to hold a charge well. 

What To Do if it’s the… 

Battery

As we’ve mentioned above, the first thing to do when you think that there is something wrong with the battery is to charge it overnight. This will help you to see whether the battery was dead all along or simply weak. 

If the battery was just weakened from a lot of use, the charge should allow it to run smoothly and you won’t be able to hear the clicks again. 

However, if your battery is dead, you need to test it to see whether it is completely dead or not. A load test will allow you to see whether you need a new battery. If you don’t happen to have the correct equipment at home, you can take the battery to an auto parts store and ask them to perform a load test for you. 

Most stores will do this for free and it won’t take much time to complete at all. If you do need a new battery, you’re conveniently in the ideal place to buy a new one. AGM sealed batteries are the best for ATVs, but go with whatever you think is best for your vehicle. 

It’s also worth noting whether the connections to the batteries are dirty. If there is a lot of dirt and debris over the connectors, it might be interfering with the battery’s performance. Clean these off and see whether you can hear the clicking still. 

Starter Relay

If you’re hearing one thumping click rather than multiple different clicks, you should have a look at the starter relay. Before doing so; however, make sure that you disconnect the battery from the vehicle. 

You’ll find the starter relay close to either the battery or fuse box, and you can easily spot it thanks to the two thick wires attached to it. One of the wires will run to the battery and the other will connect to the fuse box. 

Replacing the starter relay is quite simple with the right tools, but it is vitally important that you ensure the battery is disconnected before touching any of the electricals. Before you touch anything, though, make sure that everything is clean and free from debris. 

If anything has become trapped in this area as you’ve been riding, you might find that this is what’s causing the clicking noise rather than an electrical issue. 

Something Else

If you’ve completed both of the above options and still cannot work out where the persistent clicking sound is coming from, then we’d advise you to recheck the battery again. Yes, rechecking things that you’re sure of is tedious work, we know. However, there could be an issue with how the battery is wired up or how clean it is. 

If the battery is fine after this recheck, then you should check the fuses to see if they’re all still in working order. A fuse might have blown or a connector could be dirty or faulty, which could then cause an issue with powering the ATV. This issue is unlikely; however, to cause any clicking noise. 

It is possible that the ATV could have a faulty starter motor rather than the relay, and this could be making the clicking sounds due to not properly engaging and doing its job. This is tricker to check yourself, so we might suggest that you take your ATV to the shop. 

If you’ve been riding your ATV through muddy puddles recently, you might have hydro-locked the engine. This happens when water gets into the engine and ceases it - which would also explain the clicking noises. 

Final Say

We hope that you’ll have been able to diagnose the problem with your ATV and found a way to stop the solemn clicking sound. A bad starter relay or battery is the most common issue that can cause clicking sounds, and luckily they’re easily fixable. 

If you are still having an issue with the clicking noise, we’d advise you to take it to a shop. If you’re playing around with the inner workings too much, you might be causing more damage than good. It’s always to be safe than sorry with something as expensive as an ATV, and if it’s an issue with the engine or starter motor, you want a professional to be carrying out the

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *