How to Ship an ATV: A Step-by-Step Guide
Since driving ATVs on public roads isn't recommended, you'll need auto carriers to transport them from one location to the other.
However, figuring out how to ship an ATV requires some planning ahead, from picking the right service to preparing the vehicle.
If this is your first time shipping an ATV, you can check out our handy guide in seven simple steps.
Let's dive right in!
Step 1: Pick a Reliable Shipping Service
First things first, you'll need to pick a carrier and make sure the service uses the right transport trailer for your needs. For instance, you'll need to check the maximum sizes allowed since some large and extra-large ATV models can be 86" or even 96" long!
Next, you can check the trailer's type. As a rule of thumb, enclosed ones are better because they can protect your ATV from the elements.
However, the most crucial aspect is picking a reputable shipping company that follows all the necessary federal regulations.
Of course, you can always opt to transport the ATV yourself. However, you'll need to have a pickup truck that can accommodate the vehicle and some spare time on your hands!
Step 2: Inspect and Document the ATV's State
Before you hand over the ATV to the carrier, you'll want to document its state for insurance reasons. To do that, snap pictures and videos from multiple angles. Then, you can send these to yourself as an email attachment.
This way, you have time-stamped proof of the ATV's state before shipping, which could come in handy when you're checking the vehicle for damages later.
Don't forget to ask for details about each insurance plan and what it covers before paying any extra fees.
Step 3: Prepare the ATV for Shipping
Some shipping agencies won't require emptying the fuel line, draining the gas tank, or disconnecting the battery, but it's better to be safe than sorry. After all, these steps can help reduce the leakage risk while keeping the ATV a bit lighter.
Just make sure that the carriers won't need to drive the ATV into the trailer. Otherwise, you'll want to leave the tires and battery functional, with just enough gas in the tank to get the ATV into the trailer.
If you're not sure how to drain the gas safely, you can always get a professional to do it.
When you're all done, remember to remove any accessories that could get lost during shipping.
Step 4: Cover up the ATV
If you're shipping via an open trailer, the ATV will be exposed to UV rays, dirt, and moisture. In that case, you can get an ATV cover to keep your vehicle as protected from the elements as possible.
Just double-check that you're getting a trailerable model with secure straps to keep the cover from getting blown away on the road.
On the other hand, if you're going for an enclosed trailer, you can use the cover as an extra protective measure and wash the ATV before shipping. This way, you won't have to rewash it when it arrives.
Step 5: Check the Tie-Down Method
In most cases, you won't be the one doing the actual tying down. Instead, the company's professionals will handle the process themselves.
The common practice involves tying down your ATV to a pallet with soft cinch straps from all four corners. Then, the whole thing would be lifted into the trailer.
That said, some shipping companies just lift the ATV into the trailer without additional security measures, which might not be the most ideal setup.
Other agencies will only ship your ATV if it's in a crate. In that case, you might have to pay extra to get a suitable shipping box. So, make sure to contact the company ahead and ask if there are any special requirements.
Keep in mind that if you decide to transport the ATV yourself, you'll need ramps to load it into your truck first. Then, you can park the ATV, tie it down with straps, and try to close the tailgate.
Step 6: Wait for the ATV's Arrival
If you go with a shipping company with online tracking services, they'll give you a tracking number for the shipment. You'll just use that number to follow where your ATV is at any given moment and check when it'll arrive.
Otherwise, you'll just need to wait for the estimated time frame in the shipping agreement before calling the carrier and asking for updates.
However, if you're the one transporting the ATV, you'll want to stop every hour or so along the way. Use these frequent stops as a chance to double-check that the straps are still tight and that everything is looking good.
Step 7: Unload and Prepare the ATV to Get Back on the Road
Most auto transport companies will unload the ATV right at your doorstep, provided that the address is easily accessible by the shipping trailer. However, if the roads to the destination aren't wide enough, you might have to change the drop-off location to the nearest suitable spot.
All you have to do here is inspect the ATV's body very well before signing off on the delivery. Make sure to check every nook and cranny for potential damage.
If you're not going to be there for the shipment's arrival, let whoever will receive it know what to look for. You can even send them the pictures that you took earlier. This way, they can identify the new damages from the scratches/flaws that were already there before shipping.
When you're all done, you can refill the gas tank, reconnect the battery, and get the ATV going!
These seven steps can seem too extensive at first. However, knowing how to ship an ATV the right way can cut down on the risks and help you receive the vehicle in tip-top shape.
Remember to check the ATV's registration and licensing process at the new location. Then, get started on the paperwork early so you can enjoy your off-road rides as soon as possible!