Preparing your ATV for transport

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated: March 8, 2023 / Published: April 18, 2021

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV)  is defined as a small motor vehicle that travels on low-pressure tires and is designed for use on various types of terrain. The operator straddles the seat, and handlebars are used for steering control. Unlike motorcycles, it is not legal to drive an ATV on streets in most states. This article provides some guidelines on how to prepare your ATV for transport. 

Essential  preparation tips for transporting your ATV

The preparation for transport will differ depending on if you will transport the vehicle yourself or use a contracted transportation company. Whether you are transporting your ATV yourself or you are getting professionals for the job, there are several essential steps you need to take to prepare your ATV for transport. 

  • Turn off the fuel valve and empty the fuel line by running the engine until it stops. Check if the battery is fully charged and that the tires are inflated.
  • Empty the fuel tank fully if you are transporting your ATV long distance. If you are hiring professionals, the transporter will let you know if your tank can be a quarter full or half full. Make sure that there are no fluid leaks. 
  • Remove personal items and accessories such as removable ATV gas cans to ensure that they do not get lost during the transport or damage the transportation vehicle. 
  • Tuck in any side mirrors and lower antennas or remove them altogether. 
  • Remove additional radio equipment.

Preparation for using a transporting company

If you opt to hire a transporting company to transport your ATV, you are handing control of your vehicle over to a third party and so must take some extra steps for preparation and make sure you fully fulfill your insurance requirements.

First, determine with your shipping provider the extent of their insurance and also if your own insurance covers the ATV during transport. You need to make sure that the insurance is adequate to cover the vehicle’s full replacement cost in case of a severe accident. To be able to make a claim on damages incurred during the transport, you are going to need to have proof of your ATV before it starts its journey. 

First, give your ATV a thorough clean. Next,  take a series of photographs documenting the ATV from all sides. You may even use video for this step. Make sure to document any marks, dents, or other damage your ATV already has. Make sure these videos and photographs are date stamped and store them with a third party. You should also document any performance or mechanical problems your vehicle has. If there is something that may impact the ATV’s transportation, it doesn’t run. Let your transporter know. Ensure they have the right set of keys for your vehicle and inform them of any performance quirks. 

Preparing your ATV for transportation using a trailer

If you opt to transport your ATV yourself using a trailer, follow these steps to make sure the ATV is properly secured on a trailer. First, use ramps or loading sleds to get your ATV up on the trailer. Set the parking brake on the ATV and perhaps also use brake chocks to minimize rolling. Use tie-down straps to secure the ATV to the trailer’s rails. Ropes should not be used, as they can stretch during transport. 

Where possible, use straps with a ratchet and hook system so that you can get the straps as tight as possible. Secure the remaining part of the strap so it doesn’t blow around or get caught in the wheels. Three straps across the ATV should be enough to secure it well, but if you have a long journey, a large ATV or expect windy conditions consider using additional securing devices such as trailer tray hooks or wheel chains. It’s important to take the secured ATV out for a small test run before getting on the highway – check there is no movement of the ATV, that the excess straps are secured and that the trailer lights are working. 

Weather conditions and protection

An open-air transport, such as a trailer, can save you some money. Nevertheless, this way of transportation can expose your ATV to road debris or the corrosive salt used on roads during the winter. If these things are a concern, you want to consider using an appropriate ATV cover during transport.  This may be a tarpaulin or a large piece of canvas. Ensure its secure well and won’t flap or create annoying noise during the trip 

Alternatively using a crate for your ATV provides further protection. The preferred option is to use your ATV’s original crate, but if that is not possible, you can either buy a crate for your ATV or check if the transportation company of your choice can provide one.  

Making the right choice for transportation

Choosing either a contracted transporter or moving your ATV yourself has pros and cons. Some factors that will influence your choice include your budget, your timeline, and the distance. Handing over your ATV to a shipping company can feel daunting, but having the responsibility to transport it yourself safely can also be a big challenge. Another option is to use a marketplace shipping such as CitizenShipper. CitizenShipper allows you to place your transportation needs on a platform and then experienced drivers can bid for your job. You can browse driver profiles and look for someone familiar with moving ATVs or a person from your local area. 

Good luck moving your ATV!