On a Four Wheeler, there are a few simple functions that you need to know what they are. Once learned, driving an ATV could become second-nature.
Throttle – Pushing and releasing controls how fast or slow you drive. Located on the right hand steering wheel.
Brakes – Most ATV’s have three different brakes. The parking brake, right-hand brake, and the foot brake. The parking brake is obviously used when you park your ATV. The right-hand brake stops the front wheels, and the foot brake stops the rear wheels. If you’re driving up a hill and need to stop, pull the right-hand brake to stop the front brakes. If you’re coming down a hill and need to stop or slow down, use the foot brake to stop or slow down the rear wheels. Don’t worry too much about flipping unless you’re coming down a steep hill. If you’re coming down a steep hill fast and pull the right-hand brake, your ATV could flip forward.
Gear selector – Switching up or down with your foot controls which gear you’re in only on manual four wheelers. If your ATV has a clutch, you need to learn how to switch gears properly. Basically, you have to hold the clutch in when shifting from neutral to first gear, but, it takes some practice. You also have to pull the clutch in each time you switch from gear to gear.
Lights – A switch that controls high or low beam, and off and on. Only if your ATV has lights.
If you have an automatic Four Wheeler, you don’t have to worry about any of this, it’s automatically done.
Shifting is a smooth process. You need to shift when the time is necessary. At all times, you want your engine to be running at low rpm’s. You don’t want to be revving your engine all the time; it will last longer if you don’t. Shift when the engine’s rpm’s are high, not low. Before you shift, take your thumb off the gas quickly and shift up. Then your engine should be running at lower rpm’s. Keep repeating this process when your engine is running at high rpm’s. When shifting down, you want the engine to be running at low rpm’s. Then when you shift into a lower gear, the engine will be running at higher rpm’s. Shift down when you’re climbing hills or when you feel the engine losing power. Lower gears are designed for more power and less speed. Higher gears are designed for more speed and less power.
Basically, shift up when your engine has a high hum to it. Shift down when you feel the engine lose power. Try to keep your ATV running at an average rpm level.
1 – Strongest gear, great for going up hills.
2 – Slow Trail Riding.
3 – Good gear for slowing down and speeding up.
4 – Great for cruising on a nice road.
5 – Racing through the mountains, also the weakest gear.
While driving, you will almost always run into ruts. Ruts can be very dangerous and could tip your ATV over. When you come to a rut, put both wheels on the edges of the rut, and drive slowly following the path of the rut. Some ruts are straight, and some have a lot of turns and curves. If you’re straddling a straight rut, just keep both tires on the sides of the rut and follow it until the end. If you run into a rut with curves, be careful and try to keep both tires on the edges of the rut. Follow the rut and turn the direction of the rut as you go. Always look down and be sure you still have both tires on each side of the rut. While driving on ruts, there may be times that it feels like you might tip over. Most of the time it’s okay. But, if it feels or looks like you’re going to tip over, stop. Either back up carefully, or get off the ATV and decide what you need to do. Sometimes I’ve jumped off my ATV because it really feels like it’s about to tip over. Once I’m off, I try to steer the ATV from the ground and into a better position. This way if the ATV does tip over, I’m not on it getting crushed. Whenever you are driving, always try to keep your ATV level!
To sum up everything, here’s a video of how to handle ruts;
When your ATV breaks down, most likely you won’t have the items you need. In some cases, people just run out of gas. They thought they could have made it, but ended up short. And, others didn’t even realize how much gas they had left until it was too late. So, for these kind of break downs, I think it’s necessary to always bring an extra small gas can with you – just in case. But, for those of you who have enough gas, you can also easily get a flat tire. You could be driving on the trail and all of a sudden run over a nail or a sharp object and either pop your tire, or deflate them. Then you’re really in a big fix. You shouldn’t be riding on a flat tire because it ruins the rims. So when you go ATV Riding, make sure you know what to do if any kind of event happens. It’s better to think about what you’re going to do beforehand than wait until it actually happens. Take a look at the list below, and think about which items would be best for you.
Things to Have on the Road
On ATV trips, you should always have a few things with you. In case you ever break down, these items can be useful.
Wrench (a size that fits the bolts on your ATV)
Extra gas can
Map, compass, or GPS
Consider a flat tire patch kit