Tips For Riding your ATV in Cold Weather
When snow descends on the landscape, ATV owners know that one of the best times of year for riding has started. ATVs are unique in that they can handle snow pretty well as long as the powder isn’t too deep. That being said, there are still some basic things you’ll want to know about riding in the snow that you might not have considered before.
Below, we discuss our best tips for equipping your ATV for the snow. If you’re new to ATV riding, these tips could prove very helpful to you! If you need accessories for your ATV or riding gear, stop by Gordon Bay Marine Yamaha. Our team of powersports experts will help you find everything you need for winter ATV riding. We’re located in Lake Joseph, Ontario, and we proudly serve the Muskoka and Toronto, Ontario areas.
Any time you’re going to be out in the snow for any extended period, it’s wise to dress appropriately. But when riding an ATV it’s even more crucial because the windchill and potential for getting wet can lead to hypothermia. If you get your core wet in sub-freezing temperatures, hypothermia can come on in a matter of minutes. Having the right gear will prevent this from becoming a problem.
A riding suit is a great place to start in your search for riding gear. Contrary to what you might think, having the maximum amount of insulation possible isn’t necessarily the goal of riding suits. It’s much more important to have windproof and waterproof qualities because if you have too much insulation, you could start to get so hot that you’ll sweat. In snow, sweat can lead to hypothermia. It’s best to use a combination of a quality riding suit and multiple under layers.
Make sure to pick up some quality gloves or mittens, waterproof boots, and good goggles, too. Protecting your extremities is very important because these are the areas that will drop in temperature first.
Prep Your ATV
While ATVs are designed to handle just about any terrain you’ll throw at them, a few improvements will help them perform to their best capabilities in the snow. If you still have the stock lead-acid battery, consider upgrading to a lithium-ion model. This type of battery performs much better in colder temperatures and will give you the spark your engine needs to roar to life. During the coldest Ontario winters, it’s helpful to have engine oil that can handle a wide variety of temperature extremes. A synthetic 0W-40 is a good alternative to the standard 10W-40, which is common in warmer climates. Of course, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re using actual antifreeze and not water in your coolant system. If possible, try to go with a fuel that has a higher octane and lower ethanol content as ethanol contains more water which will rob your engine of power in cold temperatures.
Accessories & Gear
If you simply want your ATV to function in the snow, changing the battery and fluids will help. But if you want your ATV to dominate the snow, consider picking up some ATV snow riding accessories. Gauntlets and hand warmers will help to shield your hands from icy wind and precipitation. If you’re having traction problems, consider upgrading to some more aggressive tires and chains. Or, if you really want to make a difference in your traction, buy a track kit. These kits replace your tires with rubber tracks that significantly increase your ability to handle in the snow.
A windshield will help to block the worst of the wind and snow as you ride and it will also help to reduce riding fatigue. You might also want to consider investing in some brighter LED lights. LED lights are inexpensive and efficient, drawing a minimal amount of electricity from your electrical system while providing a high degree of brightness.
Stop by Gordon Bay Marine Yamaha for all your ATV and powersport needs. Our Lake Joseph, Ontario location proudly serves the Muskoka and Toronto area, and our team of powersports experts will help you find exactly what you need to ride in the cold and snow.