Would A 4 Wheeler With A Snowplow Do A Good Job?


Plowing snow is one of those tasks that is highly scalable. Large semi-trucks may be the go-to for clearing highway avalanche debris, but some scenarios call for a nimbler solution.

ATV – 4 Wheelers do a surprisingly good job at converting into a snowplow in the right conditions and situations. For smaller areas, hard to reach terrain, or jobs requiring more precise plowing, 4 wheelers can be the right choice. Choosing the right snowplow kit can make it possible.

Today, our focus is on all-terrain vehicles and their ability to handle one of winter’s most recurring problems. We look at whether (and how) you can equip 4 wheelers with snowplows. Of course, we must also assess the effectiveness of using these vehicles for clearing snow.

Can You Put A Plow On An ATV?

All-terrain vehicles (or “quadbikes”, “quads”, or “4 wheelers”) are a unique vehicle class made for tackling a wide range of road and off-road conditions. “Quad” refers to their four-wheel configuration, although some iterations may have more wheels.

It is definitely possible to add a plow blade to an ATV and double the sport thrill machine as a snow clearing vehicle. There are a couple different manufacturers with their own snowplow kit designs and even a few designed to be accepted by all makes and models.

They are commonly used for recreation and various forms of competitive motorsport due to their iconic status as thrill machines. Ruggedness, speed, agility, and even mid-air prowess…ATVs have it all.

These qualities also allow ATVs to function as workhorses in many areas. Moving tools via backroads, herding livestock, and drawing trailers are just some of the tasks you can assign to a standard ATV. On many farms, 4 wheelers are the ‘go to’ tools of choice.

In areas that receive a lot of snow, you may find a few ATVs running around with plow blades fixed to their bumpers. To those living in more urban areas, this may be a peculiar sight. But to those living in more rural settings, it is something quite common. Though, this may be more true in more northern areas due to snowfall.

That’s right, you can fix a snowplow onto an ATV.

ATV Snowplow Kits

In fact, several manufacturers even make snowplows specifically for ATVs. There are also kits that can be applied across brands and models. Some are more ‘universal’ than others, but the fact is, there are several options if this is your preferred method of snow removal.

Here is a link to a popular universal fitting ATV snowplow kit. Check out the Black Boar specs and prices on Amazon.

The Kits

Snowplow kits consist of the several parts that hold them all together.

  • plow blade
  • the mounting
  • the tubes
  • frames
  • nuts
  • bolts
  • springs

Plow Blades For ATVs

The blades are usually made from some form of steel and they are largely smooth on the surface. Some blades are capable of heavier tasks than others, depending on the grade of steel, the weight, etc.

When compared to blades found on pickups or even semi trucks, they will seem rather small, but in the hands of the right driver, these can move quite a bit of snow. They can be the right tool for the right job.

Snow Plow ATV Mounting Systems

The mounting system is another key element of a plow kit. Different manufacturers tend to offer varying iterations of mounting kits, although there are a few “universal” mounts for some generic blades. If you are looking for a plow kit for your ATV, you must:

  • Ensure the mounting system is compatible with your ATV.
  • Make necessary changes to your ATV to make it compatible with your chosen plow kit (if possible). Some blades are made to be secured to winches.

We recommend that you go for a kit with a simple mounting system, preferably one that allows an operator to disengage the blade within a few seconds and without tools. Many manufacturers offer such kits and, in many cases, operators won’t even need to remove the mount when the blade isn’t required.

Connecting Hardware For An ATV Snowplow

The connecting mechanisms consist of metal arms, springs, and other components. Older plow kits make use of manual blade adjustment, which involves manually disengaging a securing bolt or nut to reposition the blade. Newer kits typically use pulley adjustment systems that allow operators to move the blade without leaving the saddle.

As for how to secure a plow kit to an ATV, you will have to consult the kit’s instruction manual, as mechanisms vary from model to model. Though universal kits have become very well designed, make sure your 4 wheeler has the proper components for them to attach to.

Load Capacity

It is also important to equip an appropriately sized plow. This requires you to know your ATV’s load capacity, as well as the volumes of snow you’ll be dealing with.

Equipping a plow that is too heavy might strain the ATV’s motor, which can shorten its overall lifespan. Heavy plows might also tilt an ATV forward and cause it to lose traction in the back wheels, which can be very dangerous at higher speeds.

A plow that is too small will not move as much snow as you would like. This would require you to go over certain spots multiple times, costing you fuel and time. 

We recommend that you use a heavier ATV in combination with a large snowplow. This combination saves time while offering all the perks of a nimble ATV. Heavy ATVs are also more likely to maintain a steady grip on snowy roads.

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Are 4 Wheelers Good For Plowing Snow?

Do 4 wheelers do a good job at plowing snow? Yes!

ATVs are a good vehicle choice for plowing snow for several reasons. If the snow to be moved is on rough terrain where 4 wheel drive is needed, only smaller vehicles can access the area, or more precise plowing is necessary, ATV-4 wheelers do a good job at plowing.

Of course, much of this depends on the types of chains you have on your vehicle, the size of the engine, you skill as a handler, and many other factors. Yet, there are some generalities we can explore that can be said about most 4 Wheeler conversions into snow moving machines.

ATVs Are 4 Wheel Drive

Firstly, 4 wheelers are naturally adept at tackling treacherous terrains such as mud and snow. The grip will rarely be an issue for a standard ATV and sets of snow tire chains may be installed in extreme conditions. If your budget allows it, you can even install snow tracks for even greater mobility.

You also get four-wheel drive in most ATVs, which means more spinning wheels on the surface. Two-wheel drive ATVs might have a few problems in deep snow.

4 Wheelers Are Smaller

Secondly, ATVs can access areas that most other snow plowing vehicles cannot. Backyards, footpaths, driveways, and some backroads are just a few examples of sites that may need to be cleared of snow. ATVs are much more maneuverable than pickups and semi-trucks. 

ATVs Are More Precise

Thirdly, plowing snow with an ATV allows you a closer view of your work than most other vehicle types. This, combined with maneuverability, allows you to make quick adjustments during your passes.

Of course, when it comes to clear open spaces, ATVs may not be the most efficient. Trucks can support taller and wider plows, which facilitates the removal of greater quantities of snow in much fewer passes.

For most commercial snow removers, ATVs would simply not be enough as a primary option. Such companies might only use ATVs to clear snow in spots that cannot be accessed by big trucks. ATVs also struggle with large quantities of wet snow, so they may not be the most efficient choice for certain tasks.

However, for most private use, an ATV might be the perfect solution. If all you need is to clear your driveway of moderate snow every few days, these vehicles are a perfect choice. 

Is Snow Plowing Bad For An ATV?

For anyone that has shoveled snow by hand, it is immediately apparent that the weight of snow can add up quickly. There is also the added load on a 4 wheeler that a plow kit can add. So, can attaching one to an ATV do damage or cause too much strain?

Generally speaking, plowing snow is not bad for an ATV. However, this depends on several factors like the amount of snow trying to be moved, the size of the 4 wheeler engine, the incline and condition of the terrain, and the presence of any hidden obstacles under the snow.

The first is the amount of snow. Wet snow, especially, is quite heavy, and attempting to plow too much at one time might put too much strain on the engine. This will force engine components to use up more consumables like oil, resulting in quicker wear and tear. 

Hidden obstacles can also be a menace. Curbs, ornaments, rocks, etc. can cause serious damage to the plow, the mounting, and the connection points on the ATV. Try to minimize the speed while going over an unfamiliar spot.

To minimize the risk of overworking the engine, you should raise and angle the plow blade to avoid scooping up underlying gravel. If you’re dealing with large amounts of snow, you might have to skim a little bit at a time to avoid getting too much snow (aka water) under the hood of the ATV.

The Final Touches On How Good Are 4 Wheelers At Plowing Snow…

There are several models of ATVs that make their own snowplow kits and there are some companies making ‘universal’ fit setups. To choose the right option for your machine and to get the best performance, there are a couple of considerations you should look at before purchasing.

  • The terrain needing snow removal
  • The size of the area
  • The amount of snow needing to be moved
  • Obstacles and accessibility
  • The size of the ATV frame
  • The size of the motor
  • How dedicated and universal mounts will fit

For the right person, terrain, and job, an ATV-4 wheeler can be a good option for snow plowing.

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References

https://longramps.com/blogs/longramps-blog/atv-snow-plowing-tips#:~:text=Plowing%20through%20snow%20that%20is,the%20area%20a%20few%20times.

Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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