What to Do If Your ATV Tips Over
An ATV flipping or rolling over can happen to any rider no matter their skill level. It happens to the best of riders, and getting the ATV back up on its wheels is just the beginning.
Manufacturers build ATVs tough enough to withstand extreme levels of punishment, including rollovers, so the damage shouldn’t be too bad. Nevertheless, you’ll still want to inspect your four-wheeler after a tumble to make sure it’s safe to ride back to the truck or trailer, and then again in your garage or at home for any repairs. Here are some tips on what to do if your ATV tips over.
Personal Safety First
Before even attempting to get the ATV back up and running, check yourself and anyone else involved in the accident for injuries, and administer first aid and/or get help if needed. Once you’ve determined you and your passenger (if you had one) are safe, then move on to getting the ATV upright.
What to Do Before You Get Back On the ATV
After getting the ATV upright again, wait at least 5 minutes to allow all of the oils and other fluids to settle back in. Once you’ve given the fluids time to settle back in, do an inspection of the four-wheeler to make sure it’s safe to ride it back to the truck or trailer. Here’s what you should check for before you get your ATV running again.
Check the Controls
Inspect the throttle, handbrake and clutch levers on the handlebar to make sure nothing is bent or damaged. Also inspect the control cables for those levers to make sure they’re not broken or out of place.
Check the foot brake and all foot controls and their cables as well. Also, make sure any handlebar accessories haven't shifted to where they're now interfering with the controls. Try the controls and brakes to make sure they all work, because the last thing you want is to get back on your ATV and find out your brakes don’t work, so make sure everything is good to go.
Inspect the Wheels and Tires
Check the wheels and tires for any signs of damage, including bent rims, tire punctures and missing valve stems. Other damage to parts like wheel bearings will need to be checked and possibly replaced when you bring the ATV home, but you can check on the spot if there’s any unusual play or looseness to know if something’s off.
Once you’ve determined the ATV’s wheels and tires are safe enough to ride back to the truck or trailer, the next step is to inspect the fluids.
Getting Back On the ATV
Once everything on the ATV checks out, and looks and feels safe to ride again, do it slowly. Test drive everything carefully, including starting, stopping and turning in both directions. If everything checks out, slowly drive the ATV back to the truck or trailer.
During the ride back, pay attention for unusual noises, engine responses, and tire and wheel irregularities you need to address when you bring it home.
Inspecting the ATV at Home
Once your four-wheeler is back home, you should inspect everything again. Check the frame, suspension and all components, and make any necessary repairs before you take the ATV back out again.
Checking the wheel alignment is especially important, as a misalignment can cause the ATV to flip or roll over once again. Remove the wheels, then measure the distance on the ATV from front to back to make sure everything is still aligned. Check the upper control arms to make sure they’re not bent, then put the wheels back on and make sure the handlebar and the wheels align.
You should also inspect the frame once more by standing the ATV up vertically and taking diagonal measurements from both sides to make sure it’s not bent.
Check all of the fluids once more for leaks, and top off any fluids that may have spilled when the ATV took the tumble. Finally, inspect the airbox to see if any oil spilled inside it, and clean it and the air filter (or replace it) regardless after your ATV has rolled or flipped over.
Tips for Avoiding ATV Rollover
As mentioned, even the most experienced ATV riders can flip or roll over, but you should especially avoid riding beyond you or your machine’s limits to prevent it from happening.
Here are some tips to help prevent your ATV from taking a tumble:
- Build up your riding skills over time on a slower, smaller ATV before you attempt to ride an ATV you’re not equipped to handle.
- Master how to corner, turn, and go uphill and downhill safely to reduce the chances of your ATV rolling or tipping over.
- Don't ride too quickly or push your ATV beyond its limits when going up steep hills.
- Don’t shift too much weight forward or apply the front brakes too quickly when going downhill.
- Never attempt to ride an ATV through mud or water if you don’t know how deep it is.
- Avoid tricks like popping wheelies on your ATV to prevent your machine from flipping over backwards.
- Avoid riding ATVs if you’re too tired, unfocused or not sober.
- Never drive an ATV on pavement unless it’s to cross a road, as ATV tires aren’t designed for street riding.
Finally, never accelerate too rapidly while turning corners or riding on uneven terrain. Going too fast on uneven or unfamiliar terrain is an easy way to lose control of the machine and cause it to fishtail and roll over.