The Art of Securing an ATV to a Trailer

There is a definite art form to tying down an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle), and without the proper know how this process can be extremely irritating. Many people can bear witness to this fact, as many tales abound regarding these vehicles coming loose from their trailers and into the path of oncoming traffic. This process does not have to be mind numbing however, and with the right training can actually be accomplished in short order. Using the right techniques, it is more than likely that this nightmare will be a thing of the past for consumers who have failed in previous attempts.

The proper equipment is the first place to start when tying down the vehicle. This includes the proper size trailer for the ATV, a car or truck that is rated for towing, and 4 heavy duty ratchet straps. The last item can be located in almost any reputable hardware store. If the budget can afford it, the automatic variety should be purchased because they are easier to adjust. Once the equipment is gathered, the process can begin.

Most veteran observers recommend a private place off of the roadway to get started. The first step is to back the towing vehicle close to the front of the trailer. It isn’t necessary to get these two in perfect alignment since the trailer can be easily moved to the hitch when ready to couple these two together. After the vehicle and towing trailer are aligned properly, the trailer’s coupler can be lowered onto the vehicle’s hitch. Once this is secured, the coupler can be locked into position by pressing the lever downward. To make sure that the coupling is secure, it is a good practice to pull up on the trailer to make sure that it is locked. At this point the support chains can be linked as well to the hitch (if the trailer has these items), and the trailer lights need to be plugged in as well. This is important for traffic safety and can cause a traffic citation if the police deem the vehicle to be unsafe.

With this part out of the way, the actual process of tying down the ATV to the trailer can begin. It is a good idea to start up the ATV, letting the engine warm up for a few minutes. During this time, the trailer ramp(s) can be lowered and placed the right width apart to fit the tires of the ATV. The vehicle can then be carefully driven up the ramp and to the middle of the trailer. After this is accomplished satisfactorily, the parking brake needs to be set to prevent the vehicle from rolling or rocking on the trailer during transport. After turning off the engine, the ramps need to be put back into their storage position.

Now the ratchet straps needs to be unrolled and attached to all 4 corners of the trailer. One end of the ratchet strap has to be attached to the trailer while the other end must be secured to either the ATV’s rack or the frame or undercarriage (if there is no rack present). Once both ends are determined to be securely fastened, the ratchet should be cranked until there is no play at all in the strap. This will be evident when the suspension of the ATV will tighten and then sink. The process needs to be done on each of the remaining corners, making sure that the strap is taut when finished. When all 4 are done, it is a good idea to perform a quick inspection to see that all the straps are attached firmly and the ATV is now secure.

This is important never to cut corners and secure the vehicle against the possibility of coming loose during the trip — even if it is a short one. By doing things the right way the first time, this will save a whole lot of time and aggravation when trying to tie down a vehicle for that long excursion. Practice makes perfect, and for those individuals interested in learning the right way to do this task, they will never have to worry about their ATV while in transit ever again.