6 Reasons Your ATV Won't Start: What You Need To Do | Hunt or Shred

Nothing can ruin a day like an ATV that won’t start after you have prepared to spend an afternoon riding and exploring, but oftentimes it can be a quick fix.

ATVs can be tricky machines and if you are not savvy with repairs, identifying the issue could be tough. The two most common reasons your ATV won’t start are because the engine is not getting any fuel and a dead battery. Both of these issues could be minor or severe but they tend to happen often.

One of the most common problems with ATVs is that they don't start on the first try. There is a list of common reasons why this can happen but there are ways to identify the issue and fix it promptly. In this guide, we explain in detail all of the reasons why this might happen to your ATV.  

As an ATV owner, nothing can frustrate you more than unexpectedly not being able to start your ATV. We have worked in the industry for years so we understand the issues that can occur. The information provided as you keep reading helps you take better care of your ATV.

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6 Reasons Your ATV Won't Start

Not all problems with your ATV are as simple as a loose battery cable. There could be a variety of issues that could be causing your ATV not to turn on. If you're driving an ATV and it won't start, many different potential issues could be the problem.

As your machine gets older, it becomes less reliable, which makes it more difficult for you to start the car. Some of the common reasons are related to overheating, low voltage, dirty fuel injectors, worn-out spark plugs, and the ignition coil.

With this in mind, if you are not able to start your vehicle on your own or if it has become too expensive to repair due to age or mileage issues, then you might need to upgrade or seek professional help to fix it.

Below are six of the most common reasons why an ATV won’t start. They can be easily identified in a few steps to help make fixing the problem a bit easier.

1. Engine Not Getting Fuel

One reason your ATV won't start is that the engine is not getting fuel. The first step in fixing this issue is making sure that the fuel filter is correctly installed and working properly.

To do this, you will need to take off the front panel of your ATV while it's still running and check if there are any clumps of dirt or other debris in between it and the frame of your vehicle. If there's anything in-between them then clean up that area before installing a new one.

You should also check the fuel pump and carburetor to make sure they are running smoothly. These are two common places that go first as a sign that your engine can’t get enough fuel.

The fuel injectors are another place to look to see how it is flowing through your engine. All of these issues are potential reasons why your ATV won’t start and the reason for not enough fuel reaching the engine.

2. Battery Is Dead

When an ATV's battery dies, it’s not uncommon for the vehicle to stop working altogether. The problem with dead batteries is that they can be extremely hard to start back up again. This means that you will either have to wait for a battery replacement or get assistance from a professional.

One reason why ATVs don't start is that the battery dies and then stays drained after getting help from a professional. This leaves the owner with no other option than to wait for the battery to be replaced, which can take days sometimes and cause inconvenience and frustration.

You will need to try and jump the battery first to see if it works. Typically, the battery will kick on quickly and you will need to let the machine run for a while to allow the battery to charge up.

However, if a jump start doesn’t work this is typically a sign that the battery no longer works. This means you need to completely replace it with a new battery to get your ATV to start up successfully again.

3. No Power From the Kill Switch

The kill switch is your ATV's power control mechanism. The kill switch allows you to turn off your ATV, even if it is on, with the push of a button.

The kill switch is designed to shut down your ATV if the engine stalls or fails to start. It uses the keyless ignition system found in most makes of ATV to prevent misuse.

This is because when you turn off the ignition without shutting down the engine, it could cause damage or cause harm to others if it started running while you were stopped.

The kill switch is designed to make sure that your ATV doesn't start accidentally when you are stopped and also prevents misuse of an ATV by preventing it from starting up when not in use.

If you are having issues with the kill switch, you will either need to repair or replace it. A common sign it is no longer working effectively is if the machine shuts off after the key turns the opposite way slightly. Keep an eye out for signs like this when analyzing the kill switch.

4. Not Enough Air Flow

The ATV will not start because there is not enough airflow into the engine area. If you are trying to start your ATV and it's taking too long, check your air filter first - maybe you need a new one. Air filters are one of the most common issues to occur.

The ATV will not start because there is too much airflow into the engine area. If this happens, try to turn the throttle stop screw on the carburetor until it's almost closed all the way or until you see less white smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe.

This should help reduce airflow into the engine area and make it easier for compression to ignite fuel to make a spark.

When this happens, you could be out on a ride and not even know it. Many instances of vehicle issues are caused by an insufficient amount of airflow into the engine area, which causes overheating and choking or stalling.

5. No Compression Occurring

If your ATV won't start because there is no compression occurring, you need to check your spark plug wires. These wires cause the compression of the fuel in the carburetor.

When there is low compression, it can lead to poor performance or even a lack of power. This is why you must check your wire's connections on each side of the spark plug.

If these connections are loose, they can cause some compression issues which could be fixed by tightening them up before any more damage occurs. The compression is needed to run the engine properly too.

The lack of compression could be a sign that you blew a piston ring or you have a leaky gasket somewhere. This can happen from dirt or water getting into an area it shouldn’t have to short circuit these critical parts.

6. No Spark From The Spark Plugs

The spark plugs will sometimes stop sparking and when this happens, the ATV won't start. Spark plugs are designed to create an electrical spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture to start the engine.

One reason for this is when the cap on one of the spark plugs is damaged and needs to be replaced. Other reasons include when the coil in one of the spark plugs is damaged when one or more ignition wires are not connected properly or if there is a condition that prevents fuel from reaching the engine.

Without a working spark plug, your ATV will not be able to do much. It needs this power to execute many different tasks like starting up. If these have gone bad, you will need to replace them right away to get your ATV running again.

How To Identify The Reason Why Your ATV Won’t Start

ATVs are great for exploring new places but they can be quite dangerous to drive without knowing how to take care of them properly. You should also make sure that your battery is fully charged before driving off in an unfamiliar area.

A wide variety of things could cause an ATV not to start. If it won't turn on after charging it up, there are several things you should check out before taking it in for repairs. You should also check if any cables are loose or disconnected. It is a smart idea to look for anything that could be out of order.

If you do not have experience with repairs, it might be necessary to call a professional. But first, you can try it out on your own.

This guide works as a step-by-step process that you can use to guide you through everything. You can start by checking the engine and fuel pumps to see how they are working. You can also move on to the battery to see if it is dead or not.

This guide includes all of the necessary tools that you can check out to help you find the exact reason why your ATV won’t start.




45 years old. I'm in business marketing. I write for Hunt or Shred on the side. I love hiking, camping, and everything outdoors with my family. I have 6 years of experience working at an ATV shop selling, fixing, and test driving all brands and models.

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