Learn how to do some basic ATV troubleshooting, and you'll spend more time on the track and less time in the garage. Like any vehicle, ATVs can have problems, hopefully when you're close to home or close to the tow trailer. Even if you are not mechanically inclined, you may be able to diagnose the problem and fix it yourself, possibly saving you some money on repairs. If you suspect that you've got a serious mechanical problem, check your ATV insurance to see if it's covered before you head to the repair shop.
Engine Turns but Won't Start
If the engine turns over, but does not start, check the fuel. If there is fuel in the tank, make sure there is no dirt in the fuel line or in the fuel filter. If the fuel line is clean, check the on-off valve, also known as the petcock. If the petcock is dirty or broken, clean or replace it. If the fuel tank vent is clogged, clean or replace the vent system.
Other problems related to the no-start situation include the carburetor starter circuit, a flooded engine, low compression or no spark. In the case of a flooded engine, remove the spark plugs, clean them with carburetor cleaner and dry them off completely before re-installing them. If the engine has low compression, the engine must be rebuilt.
Engine Won't Turn Over
If the engine won't turn over at all, it means that one of the ignition components is not working. Check the plug wires and the coil in the distributor. You may need to bring the vehicle to a shop to help diagnose the electrical components.
If the engine does not turn over, and either makes no noise or just clicks, you may have a dead battery. Try to charge the battery. If the battery will not hold a charge, replace the battery.
A click might also tell you that the starter is not working. If the battery is fine and the battery cables are not loose, check the starter for power, using a voltometer. If there is no power at the starter, check the starter relay or fuse. If the relay is good, the starter may have to be replaced. You should always have a no-start problem diagnosed at a reputable shop, as there is a chance that wiring could be the culprit.
Changing ATV batteries is a simple process, once you've got the right kind of battery and know where to look in your ATV.
If recreational riding appeals to you, an electric ATV may have some strong advantages over a gas-powered model, even though you'll be sacrificing some speed and power.