If you want to take your ATV out on a trail safely after just putting on tires, you are going to want to make sure that they have been properly torqued.
Your ATV’s tires should always be torqued to the amount detailed in the manual for your specific quad’s make & model. However, most ATVs will require that you torque as little as 40 lbs for steel wheels and up to 90 lbs for aluminum wheels.
Taking care of your ATV and giving it routine maintenance is of the utmost importance. As fun as these awesome All-terrain Vehicles are, you have got to remember that safety always comes first when you get behind a quad, which is why you want to make sure that your tires have been torqued properly before you go out riding. It is all too easy to absent-mindedly get out a ratchet and tighten your lug nuts to what feels right, but this can result in your tires being torqued either too loose or too tight, which can pose serious complications for the performance of your vehicle and it can put the personal safety of yourself and everyone around you at great risk. To help you understand this better, we are going to tell you exactly what ATV tires should be torqued to.
After years of working as an ATV mechanic and motocross racer, I have had an extensive amount of experience fixing quads and fitting their tires to the correct level of torque. My experience has taught me that you can gauge how much torque a tire needs based on whether it is made out of steel or aluminum, but ultimately, you should always torque your tire to the amount that is listed in the manual of your ATV’s specific make and model.
Torque For ATV Tires
Despite what some amateur quad riders will tell you, getting the right amount of torque on your All-terrain Vehicle’s wheels is going to be crucial for getting the most out of your ATV. Many of the riders that have failed to do this properly have experienced the worst of what this kind of situation can present when riding on a trail, as it could potentially be life-threatening.
If you go to tighten your lug nuts and under torque your wheel, then you run the risk of your wheel flying off while you are driving. If you happen to be traversing a trail with adverse conditions such as a very muddy road, gravel & rocks, or even alongside a cliff’s edge, under torquing your wheel can result in it flying off at the worst possible time imaginable. While this is the worst-case scenario it does happen - and at the very least, you can expect your quad to receive some serious damage. If you ever feel one of your wheels wobbling while you are out riding, it will be a sign that you have under torqued your lug nuts (or that they are coming loose) and that you need to tighten them.
Alternatively, torquing your lug nuts too tight can also have harmful effects on the performance of your All-terrain vehicle and it could potentially damage some of its components. If you over-tighten your wheel’s lug nuts and give them too much torque, a common issue that arises is that you end up stripping your fastener threads - or this could potentially result in your wheel studs getting stretched. Alternatively, you could end up wrapping your brake drums or your rotors.
The bottom line is that under torquing or over-torquing your wheels can lead to problems for you and your quad, which is why you want to have a torque wrench handy with you when you go out riding or at the very least have one at home in your garage. Just be sure to do routine checks on the amount of torque that your wheel’s lug nuts have so that you are able to make adjustments as needed. Let’s dive right into what ATV tires should be torqued to.
Tire Torque For Steel Wheels
As a general consensus, most ATV manufacturers that have steel wheels, recommend that you torque from 40 lbs to 55 lbs. The amount of turns that you need to do to get to this amount is generally determined by the size of your lug nuts.
With that being said, you must always read exactly what your All-terrain Vehicle’s manual states for its recommended amount of torque for the make and model of your ATV. The reason for this is that your quad manufacturer has designed their ATV to perform the best when the exact amount of torque has been put on your wheel’s lug nuts.
What you will find is that ATV manufactures have used a specific nut and bolt size that is better suited for their quad - with each quad having its golden torque amount, which is why when you check the manual for your quad, you will likely see recommended torque amounts like 42 lbs or 53 lbs at times. This number was tested by the manufacturer to give you the safest and most reliable performance possible.
However, not all quad riders follow what their manual says and they do not always add the exact torque amount that is recommended - with some people rounding up or down on the amount of torque that they give their lug nuts by a couple of lbs. While no quad manufacturer will advise that you do this, you should be able to get away with it without posing any serious safety or performance risks - just make sure that you are in the ballpark range of what your manual says.
Tire Torque For Aluminum Wheels
If you have got an All-terrain Vehicle that has tires with aluminum wheels, then you can expect to apply significantly more lbs or torque than you would to steel wheels. For the most part, you can expect to add anywhere from 70 lbs to 90 lbs of torque for an ATV tire that has aluminum wheels.
The ideal amount will always be listed in your quad’s manual for your specific make and model. When you are going to tighten the lug nuts of your ATV’s aluminum wheels, you want to be extra careful during the procedure, as aluminum is a much more fragile metal than steel. If you over-tighten your aluminum wheel, then you run the risk of the rim cracking on you, which is an expense that you are going to want to avoid.
If you happen to be tightening your ATV’s wheels that are made out of aluminum and you are not sure what the recommended torque amount is, then it is always better to slightly under tighten than to overdo it. As you use your torque wrench to tighten your ATV’s wheel, you are going to want to get the right amount of rotations in to hit the sweet spot, which will generally be no less than 7.5 and no more than 9 rotations - depending on the size of your lug nuts.
Once you have got your aluminum wheels fastly tightened onto your All-terrain Vehicle, do not forget to do routine check-ups on the amount of torque that your lug nuts have on a regular basis. Riders have reported that aluminum wheels tend to loosen quite a bit quicker than steel wheels and that re-tightening them is somewhat of a common occurrence. This can potentially be exacerbated during the winter months in places with cold climates.
About THE AUTHOR
I'm 30 years old. I am a software developer and I am a freelance writer on the side. I've been riding ATV's since I was 15. I personally own a Polaris Sportsman and a Can-Am Defender.Read More About Shawn