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ATV Won't Start? Reasons ATVs Won't Start & How To Fix Them

ATV Won't Start? Reasons ATVs Won't Start & How To Fix Them

It can be unpleasant when your ATV does not start after arranging and planning to go off-roading. It is even more disappointing when your kid's ATV does not start. If it happens, you need to fix it as soon as you can. You do not want your child crying, nor your plans made void.

If your ATV does not start, these are the likely reasons: 

  • The battery is not charged or is bad
  • Fuel is not circulated around the engine
  • The ATV is getting a weak spark or no spark
  • The kill switch is corroded or bad
  • The ATV is not getting adequate air
  • The engine is not getting compression

You do not need to get an automobile mechanic to fix some of these start-up issues. You can resolve them yourself. You will learn how to troubleshoot and resolve ATV start-up issues in this blog post.

Reasons ATVs Won’t Start

It is not possible for your ATV to not start without reason. Before you can resolve the issue, you have to identify the reason the ATV is not starting. There are six possible reasons your ATV will not start, and we will look at the causes.

  • Bad/dead battery
  • Low fuel circulation
  • Weak/no spark
  • Bad/corroded kill switch
  • Inadequate air in the engine
  • No compression in the engine

These are the likely reasons your ATV is not starting. However, to know the exact reason, you need to notice how the ATV behaves when you start it. There are different signs your ATV will give that will allow you to know the exact problem to troubleshoot.

How To Fix ATV Start-Up Issues


You need to identify the cause of your ATV not starting before you can know the proper steps to fix it. We will look at some of the behaviors you ATV exhibits when you try to start it.

Engine Not Cranking Or Turning Over

When you try to start your ATV, and it does not crank or turn over at all, there are four main causes:

The Kill Switch Is Turned Off 

To resolve this, ensure the kill switch is in the "RUN" or "ON" position.

The ATV Is In Neutral Or Park

Ensure you remove the gear from park or neutral. As a safety precaution, ATVs will not start when in gear.

Low Battery Power

Use a voltmeter or multimeter to check the battery's voltage; it should read 12,6 – 12,8 volts. The battery will not start the ATV when the voltage is low. So, replace or charge the battery.

Blown fuse

Every ATV has a main fuse, and when the fuse is blown, the ATV will not start despite having a fully charged battery. Locate the main fuse using the owner's manual and replace it with a new fuse.

ATV Will Not Start But Turns Over


There are three reasons your ATV turns over but does not start:

Low Circulation Of Fuel

This occurs when the fuel supply line or the fuel pump is clogged up between the carburetor and gas tank. Remove the spark plug; if it is wet, the ATV is getting fuel. If it is dry, the ATV is not getting fuel. If there is dirt in one spot, that means the engine is dirty and needs a complete cleanup.

No spark

Use a spark tester to check for spark. If there are no sparks, do the following: turn on the kill switch, replace the spark plug, check for damaged or unplugged wires in the wire harness and replace them.

Clogged air vent

If the air vent is blocked, the fuel pump will not suck out fuel from the tank. So, you need to make sure it is not clogged.

ATV Does Not Start, It Just Backfires


When an ATV backfires, you hear loud bangs from the exhaust when you try to start the ATV. There are different reasons your ATV backfires when you start it.

The ATV Has Been Flooded

When there is too much gas in the carburetor, there is no space to mix the fuel and air required to start the ATV. Let the ATV rest for some hours before starting it again.

Bad Spark Plug

Replace the spark plug with a new one that meets the specifications of the manufacturer.

Clogged Air Filter

There will be an overly rich mixture when there is little air in the engine that results in the ATV backfiring. Replace or clean the air filter before starting the bike again.

Incorrect Valve Clearance

You may need to contact an automobile mechanic to fix this. Some valves may need to be adjusted. However, if you try to change it without proper knowledge, you may damage your engine.

Wrong Timing

There is timing in every ATV that tells the engine when to pull fuel and air into the cylinder, ignite the fuel, and discard gas out the exhaust. If the timing is off, you may have difficulty starting the vehicle. Contact an automobile mechanic.

Dirty Carburetor

When the carburetor is dirty, fuel will not get to the cylinder, and the engine backfires when you start it. To clean the carburetor, you need first to disconnect it from the ATV and clean it thoroughly using a carb cleaner and a toothbrush. Reassemble the carburetor and reinstall it on the ATV.

Contaminated Fuel

The fuel in the tank can go bad if it has been there for a long time, and it can also get contaminated with water as a result of condensation. There is a removable drain plug at the bottom of the fuel tank. Drain the fuel out of the tank and refuel it before starting the ATV.

Low Compression

Contact an automobile mechanic to fix this issue. Only trained mechanics can repair or replace a stuck valve.

ATV Will Not Start; it Just Clicks

If you try to start your ATV and all you hear is a clicking sound, there are two possible reasons.

Corroded Or Bad Solenoid

Test if the solenoid closes the circuit with a multimeter when you activate the starter. Set the multimeter to DC voltage, the black lead goes to ground, and the red lead goes to the stater on the solenoid. When you activate the starter, it should read 12 volts or more. Otherwise, the solenoid is bad and needs to be replaced.

Bad Starter

If the solenoid is good, then the problem could be with the starter. Frequent usage can make the starter wear out, and it could also wear out when there is a busted seal. Remove the starter from the ATV and disconnect all cables from the solenoid. Use a fully charged battery and some jumper cables to test the starter.

Connect the positive lead to the positive battery terminal and the negative lead to the negative battery terminal. If the starter is good, the engine shaft will spin freely. Otherwise, you need to replace the starter.

What Damages An ATV?

You should treat your ATV with utmost care. In the same way, you care for your valuables; you should also care for your ATV. With proper maintenance and usage, your ATV will be functional for a long time. Some of the things that damage an ATV are:

  • Not cleaning the air filter
  • Operating it with bad or contaminated fuel
  • Operating it with a clogged radiator
  • Not greasing it
  • Not tightening the bolts
  • Using it as a submarine
  • Not washing it regularly
  • Not changing the oil

Final Thoughts

When your ATV does not start, you do not have to panic. It could be as simple as replacing the spark plug or changing the engine oil. Be calm, and you will figure out the cause of the issue, and with the solutions we have provided in this post, resolving the start-up issue should be a walk in the park.