Everyone who owns anything with a motor has experienced that sinking feeling when you hit the ignition button and things don’t go quite as planned. While you’re ready to load up and hit the trail, your quad isn’t ready to go anywhere. So what’s up?
While ATV troubleshooting there are a few common issues that should be your first line of investigation. Here are three things to especially keep in mind.
If your ATV doesn’t turn over when the ignition is engaged, or only tries lazily to do so, your battery may be low on juice. Fortunately, battery issues are some of the easiest to fix. To test the battery, use a multimeter (which can be purchased on the cheap at any auto parts store) to check for an output of 12V. If a lesser reading is present, it’s time to charge your battery. Do so by hooking the terminals to a battery booster via alligator clips on the charging cables and go make yourself a sandwich while you wait. If the battery doesn’t charge, or continues to lose a charge time and time again, it may be time to install a whole new one.
Where there’s fuel, there must be spark in order to get your motor running. If an ATV motor turns over, but doesn’t start, and the battery seems to be fine; it’s time to check out your ignition system.
First, check out your spark plugs via a physical inspection. Look for any corrosion or gunk on the plug itself, and ensure that there is a small gap present in the spark gap of the plug. If the plug looks out of sorts, replace it. Otherwise, you can use your multimeter to test the plug and see whether or not a spark is present. Other parts of the ignition system, including the ignition coil and capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) can also fail, however are far less likely to. Refer to your owner’s manual for the best methods to troubleshoot these components.
Failures within the engine system can be tougher to put your finger on due to the high volume of mechanical parts required to make it all run. Starts and stalls, or a complete lack of engine action could be caused by simple fixes like a clogged air filter or exhaust, or more in-depth issues such as blocked fuel lines or over-fueling causing carburetors to flood.
Do-it-yourself’ers may be comfortable checking for issues within the engine system, while others may find that a trip to a mechanic is better suited for their needs.
Regardless of whether you choose to take care of the most common ATV issues yourself, or seek the help of a professional, it’s always handy to have an owner’s manual and be familiar with the basics of how your machine operates. A basic understanding of what makes your machine tick will ensure that you’re armed with the knowledge to figure out mechanical issues in your garage, or out on the trail!
2016 Can-Am Outlander L Mossy Oak Hunting Edition
Getting into a more purpose-built ATV can be a wise choice, especially if you’re looking for versatility. The 2016 Can-Am Outlander L Mossy Oak Hunting Edition is the perfect fit for hunters both for its purpose-built accessories and camouflage exterior. With the power of the 48 horsepower 570cc engine and all terrain tires, this ATV can get out of anything. Package includes a 3,000 pound winch and a spotlight for your backcountry hunting needs. MSRP $9,649
2016 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS
The 2016 Kawasaki Brute Force is powered by fuel injected 749cc engine with the ability to switch between front and all-wheel-drive by a switch on the handle bars. This model also features electric power steering and automatic transmission for an ultra-smooth ride. The attractive six-spoke cast aluminum wheels give this ATV an appearance that matches its rugged performance. MSRP $10,599
2016 Polaris Sportsman XP
For an ATV that’s made to drive through mud, Polaris partnered with High Lifter to offer the Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 Stealth Black with 85 horsepower. This high-performance ATV just looks like it can handle anything. And it can, equipped with 29.5 inch High Lifter Outlaw tires, a rack-mounted radiator, snorkeled engine ducting, high-mounted bumpers and a 3,500 lb winch. MSRP $13,999
2016 Yamaha YFZ450R
The Yamaha YFX450R might sound spectacular, but it’s the most technologically advanced ATV on the market today. It’s quick revving titanium 5-valve 449cc engine with a lightweight cast aluminum/steel chasis, this ATV is quick and agile on just about any terrain. MSRP $8,899