Learning how to tie down an ATV is one of the most important parts of all-terrain vehicle safety. After all, if you can’t reliably get your rig to the trail, you’re not going to have a lot of fun during the ATV season. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to properly secure your four- or six-wheeler to a trailer, provided you have the right gear and a few minutes to double-check your work.
Use the Right Straps
If you want to learn how to tie down an ATV properly, you’ll need to invest in a quality set of hand ratchets and straps. For most vehicles, you’ll want to find straps that are one to two inches wide, depending on the weight of your quad. You’ll also need to make sure that you have tie-downs attached to your trailer at the appropriate spots. Whether you’re hauling straight-on or perpendicular, you’re going to need four tie-downs per ATV to make sure everything is snug and secure.
Straps can become worn out, dirty and ragged with time. If you suspect that one of your straps is on its last legs, it’s worth it to spend a few bucks to replace it rather than risk it snapping out on the road.
Attachment Points Matter
There are two schools of thought when it comes to learning how to tie down an ATV with straps. The first is to run the straps through each of your quad’s wheels and ratchet them tight to the closest tie-downs. The second, for those who may be concerned about scuffing their ATV’s rims, is to run the straps inside the vehicle’s frame and then cross the straps in an X-pattern when attaching them to the front and rear trailer tie-downs. Either way, the ATV should always be put in neutral with the parking brake on before you get underway.
Never attach your straps to your vehicle’s bumper or luggage rack or to the axles of your ATV. Any of these components will move with the vehicle’s suspension system when the trailer goes over bumps. This can loosen your straps and create a potentially dangerous situation.
Consider a Specialized Solution
If you feel that safety straps are insufficient for securing your vehicle, then you can try out one of the many custom systems designed specifically to secure ATVs. Some safety systems consist of chains that fit over your vehicle’s tires, while others include a set of curved metal bars mounted on your trailer that lock into place over your ATV’s front tires. If you are worried about theft, or if you only use your trailer for hauling your quad or side-by-side, then you might want to consider one of these custom-built tie-down solutions.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.