7 tips for preparing your ATV for winter riding

men with atv winter

Riding an ATV in the winter can be a great way to have fun in the snow, but only if you prepare your quad for colder weather. Freezing temperatures, ice, and snow can do a number on your vehicle, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Riding in the winter comes with added risk, so you need to make sure your quad has everything it needs to get from point A to B without breaking down along the way. If you break down, you’ll need to use helmet communication to connect with the outside world.

There are so many things to keep in mind when prepping your ATV for the winter. Use this guide to get your quad ready, so you can keep riding all year long.

Fuel Additives

The main challenge of riding an ATV in the winter is keeping your fuel the right temperature. As the temperature drops outside, the fuel in your tank will start to condensate. If water gets into the fuel line, it might prevent the engine from starting all together. The water can also freeze in the fuel line, which could lead to a rough start or no start.

That’s why it’s best to use a fuel stabilizer in the winter. Use the directions on the bottle to add just the right amount to your fuel. If you add too much, you could dilute the fuel, leading to a loss of power. Let the engine run for a few minutes so the additives have a chance to run through the fuel lines. These stabilizers will keep fuel fresh for at least two years, so you don’t have to worry about draining the tank.

Battery Storage and Charging

Cold weather is like cancer for ATV batteries. They use an electrochemical reaction to issue a charge. But the cold weather slows down the reaction, forcing the battery to work harder than it normally would. Experts say the freezing weather drains your battery power by 30-60%.

To solve this issue, you can buy a smart charger that continuously feeds small amounts of electricity to the battery to keep it from freezing. You can also bring the battery inside to keep it warm, but this can be a hassle if you plan on riding every other day.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs provide a jolt of energy to the engine to help it start. However, cold weather can damage these essential parts, leading to a rough start or no start. It’s best to change your spark plugs every few years and swapping them out in the winter will help your ATV power through the cold weather. If you don’t change your spark plugs, inspect them regularly for damage and corrosion.

If you have a two-stroke engine, it’s best to replace your plugs more often. Make sure they are spaced apart correctly, so the engine can start.


Don’t neglect your oil when riding your ATV in the winter. The engine needs oil to lubricate essential parts and components. The cold weather can cause the oil to gel, so it won’t move as fast through the engine. This can lead to clogs and excess wear and tear if your parts don’t have enough lubrication.

Change your oil regularly during the winter and top off your tank as needed.

Take a look at the oil to see how well it performs in cold temperatures. Every type of oil comes with a viscosity rating. The number is listed right before the letter W. The lower the number, the thinner the oil, and the better it will perform in the cold.


It’s best to take a little air out of your tires when riding on the ice and snow. This increases the amount of surface area of the tire, so it has more room to collide with the snow, which leads to better traction. Having more surface area also distributes the weight of your vehicle, so you can sit on the snow without sinking to the bottom. Start with 4 PSI and see how that affects your ability to ride.

Additional Accessories

You can never be too careful when riding your ATV in the snow. Whether it’s a quick trip around the block or a long day of crushing the slopes, there’s always a chance you could get stranded in an unfamiliar location. Time is of the essence when you’re outside in the cold. You need to get back inside quickly to prevent hypothermia when the temperature is below zero.

Use a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet to stay in touch with your loved ones and companions along the way. The speakers fit into your helmet, so you can make a call or check for directions hands-free. You can relax and focus on the road knowing you have a way to contact the outside world.

Shop for Bluetooth motorcycle helmet speakers based on the make and model of your helmet.

When riding in the cold, consider installing hand warmers on your handlebars for a more comfortable trip. You need to keep your hands warm, so you can easily adjust the controls. If they freeze up, you might have trouble controlling the steering wheel.

Don’t forget to dress properly when riding an ATV in the winter. Wear plenty of layers, stay hydrated, and eat plenty of complex carbohydrates to keep your energy up. With a little bit of prep, you can put your ATV to work all year long.

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