OHV Safety Checklist


1) Air pressure — Always have the recommended tire pressure. Be sure front tire(s) and both rear tires are inflated to equal pressures. If the tire pressure on one side is higher than the other side, the vehicle may pull to one side.

2) Condition — Check for cuts or gouges that could cause air leakage.

3) Wheels — To avoid loss of control or injury make sure axle nuts are tightened and secured by cotter pins. Check these before every run.

Controls & Cables

1) Controls — Review the location of all the essential controls. Be sure you will be able to quickly reach them during necessary times and test that they work as intended. If appropriate have a professional address any technical issues with these controls.

2) Throttle and other cables — Make sure the throttle moves smoothly and snaps closed with the handlebars in any position. An off-road environment is hard on them. Do the controls operate smoothly and are the controls adjusted according to the owner’s manual? Are they positioned for easy reach? Your brakes are a crucial part of riding and must always be in tip-top condition.

3) Foot shifter — Is it firmly attached and positioned for safe operation?

Lights & Electrics

1) Ignition switch (if so equipped) — Check the condition of the switch and make sure it works properly by switching it off and on during your warm-up period.

2) Engine stop switch — Does it turn off the engine?

3) Headlight and taillight (if so equipped) — Are they working? You could be caught out after dark.

4) Brake light — Is it working?

Oil & Fuel

1) Don’t get stranded because you are out of oil or fuel. Know your OHV’s cruising range.

2) Check oil level with dipstick or sight glass while the engine is off. Check your owner’s manual for procedure.

3) Always start your ride with a full fuel tank.

4) Check for fuel or oil leaks.

5) Take off the filter cover and check the condition of the air filter element. Be sure it is clean and not torn or blocked.

Chain & Drive Shaft Chassis

1) Chain — Inspect, adjust and lubricate the chain regularly. Your chain is the vital link from the engine to the wheels. Check for chain slack or free play so that it is within specifications as described in your owner’s manual.

2) Drive shaft — If your OHV is equipped with a drive shaft rather than a drive chain, check for oil leaks. Maintain its oil supply as outlined in your owner’s manual.

3) Nuts ’n’ Bolts — Rough terrain will loosen parts. Look and feel for loose parts while the engine is off. Shake handlebars, footrests, etc., before each ride and periodically check major fasteners with a wrench.

Spark Arrestor & Muffler

1) Be certain your spark arrester/muffler is properly attached.

2) Wiggle muffler in your hands (only if machine has been off for two hours) to make sure it is firmly attached to the exhaust manifold.

3) Some states require that the spark arrester/muffler be properly certified. All new ATVs come equipped with them. Check your owner’s manual for periodic maintenance requirements.

4) Never modify the spark arrester or muffler yourself.