Quicksilver Blog

How to Set Up an ATV or UTV for Snow Plowing

If you’re looking for a simple, efficient and fun way to move snow during the winter, you may want to consider setting up an ATV or UTV with a plow to get the job done. The power, agility and comfort of an off-road vehicle can be used to your advantage during the winter for moving snow instead of relying on labor-intensive snow shovels or blowers. Here are a few tips on setting up a plow and maintaining your vehicle throughout the winter.

How Big?

Generally speaking, most mid- to full-size four-wheel-drive ATVs and UTVs are capable of plowing snow, but it’s always best to consult with your local dealer to determine if your current unit, or one you are looking to purchase, has enough power and if its frame is capable of handling the rigors of snowplowing.

What Size Plow to Use

Choosing the correct width plow depends on the size of the off-road vehicle and the area needing to be plowed. The larger the unit, the more snow it’s capable of moving. An ATV equipped with a narrow or mid-size plow may work fine for sidewalks and the average driveway, but for larger areas, the heavier weight of a UTV with a larger plow can tackle longer entrance roads or large parking areas easier.

How to Lift a Plow

There are three ways to lift a plow when attached to an ATV or UTV: Manual, Winch or Direct (electric or hydraulic). A manual lift is operated by a hand-operated lever system and is primarily used on ATVs with smaller lightweight plows. Simplicity and low cost are the biggest benefits to a manual lift. If using muscle power is a detractor, opt for a winch-assisted lift controlled remotely by the operator. Similarly operated via hand-controlled switches, an electric or hydraulic lift adds the most cost, but is also the easiest to use with quick response times and the ability to easily adjust the plow side to side to direct snow.

Winter Maintenance

To ensure a winter of trouble-free plowing, maintaining these key elements will keep your off-road vehicle performing at its peak.

  • Keep it clean. If possible, park indoors when the machine isn’t in use to thaw ice or snow buildup in the cooling, wheel, suspension, steering and driveline components. This can reduce overheating, vibration, rubbing or binding issues.

  • Tires. Much like an automobile, make sure your tires have adequate tread depth for maximum traction and follow the winter pressure guidelines per the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you find yourself searching for more traction, consider using tire chains or adding weight to the ATV racks or UTV bed.

  • Battery Health. Frequent use of a winch or other accessories during cold weather plowing tends to add stress to a battery. When the machine is stored, use a battery maintainer to keep it fully charged.

  • Storage. It’s best to store an ATV or UTV equipped with a plow in the down position to relieve the front suspension of unnecessary pressure. Consider resting your plow blade on a platform, such as a piece of lumber, to prevent the moldboard edge of the plow from rusting when in contact with the ground.

Staying Warm

Cold weather can spoil the fun factor of any winter outing quickly if you aren’t warm and comfortable. Whether you choose them as standard equipment, or an aftermarket add-on, enclosed cabs with HVAC options are becoming increasingly common on today’s UTVs to shield the operator from the elements. ATV users can opt for taller windshields, heated seats and handgrips.

Whether you use an ATV or a UTV for moving snow, either can make your time spent outdoors plowing more enjoyable and leave you waiting anxiously for the next big storm warning.