• Steven E. Overmyer

Safely Hauling Your ATV

For any UTV owner, the best days are often spent on the trails. If you don’t have the luxury of living on a countryside piece of land, or near sand dunes and riding pits, don’t fret - all you have to do is load up your side-by-side and hit your nearest offroad park. You don’t want to ruin your day full of fun before it even starts, however, so be sure to properly load and secure your vehicle to avoid any accidents on the road. For tips on doing so, simply read on.

Truck bed or trailer?

In an ideal world, you could load your offroading vehicle up in the bed of your truck and call it a day. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and there’s not much to it. In a realistic world, however, your UTV may be too big for the truck bed, or you’ll need that extra space for other machines or supplies you’re bringing along. For this reason, investing in a trailer will probably come in handy more often than not. An open-air trailer will leave you with plenty of room for your UTV and other large items, but if you can find an enclosed trailer that your UTV will fit in, you can rest assured that it will be safe against airflow or debris during the transport.

If your SxS does fit in the bed of your truck and you don’t need the extra room, you’re in luck! However, you’ll still be investing in a couple of necessary items like ramps and tie-downs. There are also all kinds of truck attachments you can look into for hauling, like trail racks, ramp extenders, and rizerbacks if you’re set on utilizing your truck bed, but could also benefit from the extra space.

Loading it up

If you’re loading up in your truck bed, secure the ramps using tie-downs - otherwise, you may cause them to slip as you accelerate or break. Once secured, drive your UTV at a slow and steady speed up the ramps. Be mindful of the space between the SxS’s bumper and the truck’s rear window; it would be very unfortunate if a little carelessness and a lot of broken glass spoiled your ride.

When loading your UTV on a trailer, be sure to follow the 60/40 rule, meaning that 60% of the UTV’s weight is on the front of the trailer and 40% is towards the back. If you’re still hesitant about loading your SxS safely, review the vehicle’s owner manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Strapping it down

Properly securing your vehicle is inarguably the most important part of hauling it. Without doing so, you risk damage to your UTV, truck, or trailer that could have easily been avoided; because of this, it would be wise to invest in a high-quality tie-down kit. Using ratchet straps may seem like the easiest (and cheapest) option, but there’s nothing cheap about repairing damages from an accident. Four straps are always recommended when tying down your UTV, and you should be sure to inspect the straps beforehand for any compromised integrity. Review your machine’s manual for tie-down points, and be sure the straps are secured to the frame of the offroad vehicle rather than the suspension or axles.

Unloading it safely

Once you’ve arrived to your offroading destination, you’ll pretty much follow the same steps that you did when loading the UTV. However, it’s important to note that you'll use less speed here than you did before; remember, gravity is in play. Don’t hesitate to use the break to slow down or stop, but try to avoid doing so in a jerky, sudden manner. Slow and steady is key.

Knowing how to properly load and transport any offroading vehicle can make all the difference in preventing damage to your favorite toy. Once your ATV has been loaded up and secured, head to Outdoor Powersports’ Offroad Park at Crossbar Ranch to explore 6,500 acres of Oklahoma’s funnest riding terrain!

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