Are ATVs Good in Snow?

Posted By: Mike Kunert
Post Date: 01/16/2020

Winter is here, but for an ATV lover, this doesn’t mean that you have to put your vehicle away for the season. ATVs can be used in all seasons with the right precautions. However, given that they are designed to operate across a wide range of terrains, how well do they operate in the snow?

Are ATVs Good in Snow?


Snow could be seen as the most challenging of the elements in which ATVs can operate, mainly because of the frigid temperatures and the health hazards they present. But if you love a good ride in the snow, ATVs can surely be used. Just make sure to bundle up with your hat, gloves, scarf, and a heavy-duty coat.

If you live in an area with frequent heavy snowfall and are intent on riding, you would highly benefit from the traction that a snow tire can provide. They will come in handy when riding on after a heavy snowfall, on untracked trails, or in heavy wet snow. However, if this isn’t the case, you may just want to stick with your all-terrain or mud tires, especially if the ones you have contain studs.

With the right snow tires and preparation, it’s completely possible to have a positive experience riding your vehicle in the snow. However, some ATV owners choose to forego riding in the snow and opt to winterize their rides instead. This is necessary to protect the ATV from the hazards of long-term storage in the elements and allows riders to hop right back on and enjoy their ride on the first warm day.

Are ATVs Good for Plowing Snow?

Among the benefits of keeping your ATV going for winter is its ability to plow snow. There are many different sizes, and kinds of plows that are out there on the market, making it easy to find one that fits your vehicle. Your ATV’s ability to plow snow can make yard work easier and also gives it an edge in the wild should you take it off-road during the winter.

However, you may be wondering if your ATV has enough horsepower to effectively plow. The good news is weight is a much more important factor, meaning the heavier your vehicle, the more it can make a difference in the amount of snow it can move. However, when it comes to anything over 12 inches, using your ATV may not be the most productive tool for snow removal, and you may want to just pull out your snowblower.

Running an ATV in Snow

Many ATV owners dislike riding in the snow and would rather safely store their ATV for winter. However, if you do choose to keep it going, here are some great practices that you can follow to ensure that you are safe and having a good time:

  • Use Warmers: There is almost nothing worse in the winter than having cold hands and feet. To combat this, try adding warmers to your grips, thumb throttle, and seat. You’ll never ride out in the cold any other way!

  • Ride in Pairs: Some people ignore the rule of thumb for never riding alone. Solo riding in safe temperatures is one thing, but in the winter it’s completely different. You’ll want to make sure you’re with at least one other person as a safety precaution.

  • Respect the Rules: Make sure that you stay on the trail and follow all of the posted trail traffic signs. Additionally, pay attention to where you are. Not all ATV trails are open for the winter months, meaning some rides could be considered illegal.

  • Avoid Thin Ice: It’s important to take extreme caution when riding over ponds, lakes, rivers, or any frozen water platform. A great rule of thumb is to never venture out on ice unless it’s solid and six inches deep or more. If you’re unsure how to quantify what is six inches, it’s best that you not go out on the water.

  • Dress Appropriately: Layers allow you to fine-tune your comfort and warmth. It’s much better to have too much and take some off then to be cold and shivering for the duration of your ride.


Deciding whether or not to keep your ATV stored for winter is ultimately dependent on your preferences. However, by taking the right precautions, you can enjoy a fun and safe winter riding experience.


Mike Kunert is the general manager of Powersports Company. He is very passionate about the powersports and outdoor equipment industry. He does everything from sales to service at the store. With 23+ years in the powersports/outdoor equipment industry and many OEM factory certifications, he has a lot of knowledge about the industry.


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