Shoveling snow can be back-breaking work and if you have a long driveway that needs clearing regularly, you might want to look at that ATV parked in your garage as a means of relieving your back of the misery of wielding that snow shovel this winter. How, you ask, can I utilize my ATV as a snowplow? It may be simpler than you think.
How do you best plow snow with an ATV? Using an ATV to plow snow is easily accomplished by:
- Mount the plow blade correctly, making sure your ATV is properly maintained and ready to run.
- Set the depth of the blade
- Plow with the contours of your driveway
- Clean up your plow and ATV
Having an ATV that is up to the job of plowing snow and having a plow blade designed for the snow loads you may encounter is as important as how you plow the snow with your ATV. Choosing the right equipment will make the actual job of plowing your driveway clear of snow less of a frustration. Read on to see just how simply this job can be done.
How to Prepare for ATV Snow Plowing
Before you start plowing snow with your ATV, you need to make sure that your ATV is in ready condition. Moving snow can put a lot of strain on a smaller ATV. Wet heavy snowfalls tend to be sticky and can tax the motor and drivetrain of an ATV. Performing routine maintenance is a good place to start. Other things to check include:
- Check the oil and the oil filter.
- Fill the fuel tank.
- Check the coolant. The heavy loads of snow can cause the engine to overheat if the coolant levels get too low.
- If your ATV is air-cooled, make sure the cooling fins on the engine are clean and that there is nothing obstructing the airflow around the engine. Watch while you are plowing to make sure that snow doesn’t get packed into the air circulation areas around the engine.
Mounting a Snow Plow Blade on your ATV
Every snowplow blade mounts a bit differently and you should follow the manufacturer’s directions closely. Failure to properly mount the snowplow blade could have disastrous consequences. Here are a few tips to make sure that all goes well with your plowing job.
- Check all the connections between the plow blade and your ATV twice.
- If you are using a winch to adjust the height of your plow blade, be sure that all the pins and retaining rings are in place and secure.
- If your plow blade is a manual adjustment, lubricating all the moving points can make the adjustments easier.
- Before you begin plowing, wipe down your plow blade with cooking oil or spray the surface of the blade with silicone spray. This will help prevent snow from sticking to the blade and keeps the snow rolling off the blade.
- Set the depth of your blade based on the amount of snow that has accumulated. You don’t want to take such big bites that the snow can’t roll and slip off the blade. You can risk damaging your ATV if you try to take too much snow with each pass. If this is late snow and the ground is only partially frozen, avoid setting the blade so low that you damage your gravel driveway.
How to move Snow with an ATV Plow
Moving the snow with your ATV plow is not a complicated maneuver, but there are some tricks that can make the job go faster and easier.
- Plow with the contours of the driveway. If your driveway only has one slope away from the house, plow downhill. If you have a long-curved driveway with several different slopes, work the driveway in sections so that gravity helps you move the snow in the proper direction and to the proper place. This may mean changing the angle and direction of your plow blade.
- Move the snow to the lowest place possible. Never pile snow on the high side of your driveway. As the snow melts and then refreezes, it can leave dangerous sheets of ice on your driveway, which are worse than compacted snow.
- To start your plowing operation, consider the direction of the slope of your driveway. If the driveway is relatively flat from side to side and slopes away from the house, make your first pass in the middle of the driveway and move half the snow to one side, adjust the angle of your blade and then move the other half of the snow to the other side.
- If your driveway has a definite slope to one side or the other, make your first pass at the high side and move the snow to the low side. You may have to take smaller and smaller bites as the snow piles up. This will leave the snow where it will not melt and run across your driveway.
What to do when you are done Plowing Snow with your ATV
After you have finished plowing snow, don’t just pull that ATV into the garage and park it. There is still some work to be done.
- Clean the blade and the ATV as much as you can. This is especially important if you have used salt or other materials to help melt the ice that may have accumulated on the driveway. These materials, if left on the metal of the blade and the ATV can be corrosive and lead to major damage.
- Lower the plow blade to the ground so that the weight of the plow blade, and its mounting equipment is not left on your winch or the ATV. The added weight suspended out over the front of the ATV can put undue stress on the suspension and the frame of the ATV.
How Well do ATV Snowplows Work?
Overall, ATV snowplows work well. If you experience dry snow, an ATV snowplow can handle almost any accumulation of snow. If the snow is wet and sticky, an ATV snowplow may struggle with deeper accumulations, and you may be better off with a heavier machine or a snow blower.
On the upside, ATV snowplows are maneuverable and can handle most snow loads on driveways. ATVs are also compact and agile enough to do walkways, paths, and other areas.
We loved using an ATV to plow snow when we lived in cold weather. It makes the job so much easier!
Picking the Right Snow Plow for Your ATV
Finding the right plow may be as easy as going to your dealer for his recommendation for your situation or finding a plow that is made by the same manufacturer of your ATV. There are many choices to be had. These are a few of our favorite selections that should work well for almost any user on any ATV.
The WARN blade is a good all-around blade. The universal mount design is easy to set up and assemble. One advantage to the WARN snowplow blade is the ground clearance and the fact that it is so compactly mounted you won’t feel the need to take it off between uses.
You can see the current price of the Warn 78950 on Amazon.
If you are looking for a quick to attach and durable plow blade, the Extreme Max Uniplow should be on your shopping list. This plow kit comes complete with everything needed to fit the blade to your ATV, including a welded push tube for easy installation.
You can see the current price of the Max Uniplow on Amazon.
This universal mount ATV snowplow requires a winch already mounted on your ATV. This plow features powder coating on all exposed metal parts to add years to the service life as well as a unique hybrid mounting system that mounts to the frame of the ATV rather than to the front of the machine.
You can see the current price of the KFI Products 105500 on Amazon.
Get your Snow Plow and figure out how to use it before the first snow!
Now is the time to start considering the addition of a snowplow to your ATV so that you are ready when that first snowfall happens. Imagine the difference between heading to the garage to get that snow shovel and stepping onto your ATV, cranking the engine, and moving that snow quickly and easily. A back-breaking chore can be a fun new use for that ATV