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River Valley Outdoors
ATV trailer tips
Most ATV riders don’t give a whole lot of thought to the purchase of a trailer for their ATV. The main focus always falls on the machine itself; what size engine, what color, accessories, wheels, etc. Thoughts of a particular trailer for hauling the ATV come last.
The first consideration should be whether or not a trailer might be needed at all. Some folks simply cart their ATV around in the bed of their pickup truck. A couple of loading ramps and ratcheting straps take care of everything for carrying the ATV in the bed of the truck.
Personally, I don’t like carrying such a load in the bed of the truck – it blocks vision, making travel unsafe. An ATV in the bed usually puts quite a strain on the gate of the truck, also. And does anybody really feel safe driving a four-wheeler up a ramp into the bed of a truck?
Purchasing a trailer makes a lot of sense. For one, a trailered ATV allows for packing the bed of the truck with the rest of the gear. Also, some pickup truck owners prefer to install a cap over the bed to provide a spacious gear-hauling area that remains waterproof – this would force an ATV rider to go the trailer route.
So, now that an ATV rider has decided to go the trailer route, what’s next?
To Cover, or Not
Although covered trailers cost more, they really do pay for themselves in the long run.
How many of us could use a little extra room in the garage? A covered trailer acts as storage space for the ATV during off season, keeping the machine dry and dust free. Just put the ATV in the covered trailer and block the axle to take the load off the tires – instant storage space for the machine.
Another advantage covered trailers offer happens to be the protection they give an ATV during the hours of travel on the road. Hauling an ATV around on a trailer without a cover exposes the machine to flying stones, airborne dirt, and the damage that extra sunlight can cause on the paint job and seats.
I used to own a treated canvas cover that worked out great. I hauled my ATV around on a snowmobile trailer without a cover for awhile, so I used a canvas cover made specifically for that machine. The canvas cover had numerous straps to help cinch the whole rig down tight. Dirt, sun, and rain never bothered the machine, but I still stored the ATV in the garage during off seasons.
Several suggestions might keep ATV riders from getting in to trouble while hauling their ATV on the road.
Of course, always do a final check before departure. Make sure straps are tight and not flying loose. Do a double check on the hitch to make certain the tongue holds tight to the ball by attempting to lift the whole rig off the hitch. Check to make sure the light connections work, and that safety chains are in place.
Always carry a spare trailer tire, or two, and a good jack comes in handy when that flat tire needs changing. Make sure to carry a lug wrench to fit the wheel nuts – lots of folks only have the size that fits the wheels on their vehicle.
Finally, adjust the rear view mirror and side mirrors to allow complete vision of the trailered ATV. Purchasing extra large mirrors for hauling trailers makes a lot of sense.
Good luck hauling those ATV’s. Done properly, the trailering process won’t cause any more trouble than riding the machine. After a while, safely loading and unloading an ATV becomes second nature and allows the rider to focus on the enjoyment of trail riding rather than the task of traveling with a trailered ATV.