ATV & UTV Tire Pressure Guide: Polaris, Can-Am, and More


ATV tire pressure has a direct impact on the quality of your ride and the recommended values vary depending on what you want to achieve. Since this is an often overlooked topic, I decided to share with you all of my tips on choosing the best tire pressure for your quad.

As a general rule, ATV tire pressure needs to be between 2 and 10 PSI (pounds per square inch). Any value below 2 PSI may cause your tire to fall off, while any value over 10 PSI can result in your tire blowing out. You rarely want to reach these extremes, since most manufacturers recommend a value of 4 to 7 PSI ATV tire pressure. You want lower tire pressure than the recommended value when you need more traction, such as for sand or rock crawling. On the other hand, higher tire pressure is best for hauling cargo or riding on a smooth road.

There are a few factors to take into consideration when deciding on the best tire pressure for the day. While today 3 PSI seems right, tomorrow you might be riding at 8 PSI. Keep on reading to get my full guide on ATV tire pressure, from finding the best value for you to making adjustments based on your situation.

How Much Air Should Be in ATV Tires?

ATVs need lower tire pressure than a car or a UTV, with most owners preferring a value between 4 and 7 PSI. The best way to determine how much air you should add to your quad’s tires is by checking recommendations.

You first need to look on the side of the tires, especially if you decided to ditch the stock tires and buy yourself a different kind. Make sure to check all tires, as some ATVs come with different size tires in the front and rear of the 4-wheeler.

Here you will notice a number that is quite high, usually between 25 and 30 PSI. You should never inflate your tires to this value, since it represents the maximum allowed tire pressure. This is only needed when you are first mounting your tires. Then you will deflate them to a value between 2 and 10 PSI, depending on your needs.

The second recommendation you need to look at is in your ATV owner’s manual. Each quad manufacturer has its own unique design, and factors such as overall weight and dimensions of the ATV can have an effect on the recommended pressure. As a result, depending on the specific quad model you have, the ideal ATV pressure can be anything between 3 and 7 PSI.

If you do not have your owner’s manual, make sure to keep on reading until the end, where I will share how to determine the tire pressure for some of the most popular brands on the market.

It’s important to know the exact size of the ATV tire to determine the right air pressure value. You can check out this article I wrote where I highlight a detailed ATV bolt pattern and size chart that offers all the information you need.

What PSI Should ATV Tires Be At?

On average, the PSI that ATV tires should be at is 5. Most manufacturers recommend 5 PSI for their quads and it is a medium value considered appropriate for most scenarios. However, that does not mean it is always the best choice.

If you want the simple answer, the best course of action is to keep your ATV tire pressure at the recommended value from your quad’s manual. The engineers that settled on that number took into consideration average use of an ATV. You will not get stranded on a trail if you keep your PSI between 3 and 7 PSI, according to the specifications of your quad.

That being said, there are benefits to lower, respectively higher pressure in your tires. If you want to enjoy the smoothest ride possible in different scenarios, then you need to adjust your PSI accordingly.

When to Use Lower PSI?

When your ATV tire pressure is lower, it means that the machine can have better traction on tricky terrain. Sandy dunes, heavy mud, and snowy trails all require a lower PSI than usual. Lowering your tire pressure will help with floatation, so you do not get stuck in soft terrain.

Another situation in which low tire pressure is desired is when you are rock crawling. This extreme sport is not for everyone and it requires a lot of skill and modifications, including lower tire pressure. Competitors even invest in special low-pressure tires, specifically designed for this off-road experience.

For all of these situations, it is best to stick with a value between 2.5 and 4 PSI, relative to the manufacturer recommendations. For instance, if you usually inflate your tires up to 8 PSI, then a low value such as 2.5 might be too little for the weight of your quad. In this case, lowering up to 4 PSI is most likely enough to gain the traction you need.

When to Use Higher PSI?

You want to inflate your tires to a higher PSI if you are going to ride on a smooth road or if you are adding extra weight to your ATV. Higher pressure will help you achieve higher speeds, but it does not absorb impact as well. You can damage your quad more easily with a high tire pressure on rocky trails, which is why it is most recommended for smooth pavement.

You might notice that your owner’s manual already recommends you a higher PSI for hauling cargo. This is an optional information that is mostly provided for utility ATVs. Still, that does not mean you cannot increase your pressure by one pound or two to get the same benefits.

Whether you are hauling heavy cargo or adding another passenger on your quad, you can increase your PSI for a smoother ride. My recommendations are to increase to a value from 7 up to 10 PSI, depending on what pressure you are already using. Similar to the point I was making in the previous section, jumping from 4 PSI to 10 PSI might be too much for your machine and your tire can pop.

What Should I Inflate my ATV Tires With?

You can inflate your ATV tires with any type of air pump or air compressor you have. Some off-roaders choose carbon dioxide (CO2) to fix flat tires, but this is a method more commonly used for bikes. I personally would not recommend them because they are more prone to break and you need multiple cartridges for a quad tire.

Since air compressors can be an expensive purchase, you can take a look at portable versions, or even a manual air pump for emergencies. If you need to inflate your tire, you can even look for an air compressor at your local gas station, mechanic’s shop, or even another off-roader friend.

If you are dealing with a flat tire, you will need a few more tools, often found in a tire plug kit. Here is a helpful video from Homeowner Repair that shows you exactly how to use one, as well as how to inflate, deflate, and check ATV tire pressure:

What Should the Tire Pressure Be on a Polaris Sportsman?

a green Polaris Sportsman

According to a few owner’s manuals from different years, a newer Polaris Sportsman needs to have a tire pressure of 7 PSI on both the front and rear rack. However, for their 2010 models Polaris recommends 5 PSI instead. The best course of action is to always check your owner’s manual for the specific year and model of your ATV.

If you bought your quad from someone else or you have just misplaced it, you can easily find your owner’s manual on the official Polaris website. All that you need to do is fill in the brand, year, and model so that you get the right manual for your Sportsman.

As you can see, Polaris changed their recommended tire pressure value from 5 PSI to 7 PSI. This seems to be a trend in the latest years. Just look at this list I compiled of all the Sportsman ATVs released in 2022:

Model Recommended Tire Pressure
Front Rear
2022 Polaris Sportsman 450 (includes EPS and Utility editions) 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Polaris Sportsman 570 (includes EPS, Premium, Utility, Trail, and other editions) 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Polaris Sportsman 850 (includes High Lifter, Premium, and Ultimate Trail editions) 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Polaris Sportsman Touring 570 (includes EPS and Premium editions) 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Polaris Sportsman Touring 850 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 (includes Ultimate Trail, High Lifter, Ride Command, and other editions) 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Polaris Sportsman Touring XP 1000 7 PSI 7 PSI

Honda ATV Tire Pressure

Hondas have been around for what seems like forever, therefore you will definitely see some fluctuations in recommended tire pressure throughout their manuals. With newer designs, the build of the quads changes alongside its optimal specifications. You can see changes in recommended ATV tire pressure from one year to the next. Here is an overview of what I found for the newest 2022 Honda ATVs:

Model Recommended Tire Pressure
Front Rear
2022 Honda Fourtrax Rancher 4.4 PSI 4.4 PSI
2022 Honda Fourtrax Foreman Rubicon 4.4 PSI 4.4 PSI
2022 Honda Fourtrax Foreman 4.4 PSI 4.4 PSI
2022 Honda Fourtrax Rincon 4.4 PSI 3.6 PSI
2022 Honda TRX90X 2.9 PSI 2.9 PSI

You can already see the major difference of pressure recommended from one brand to another. You can see how an average value cannot be good for everyone since 5 PSI might be too low for a Polaris or too much for a Honda. Once again, I advise you look at the official Honda Powersports website to find your owner’s manual and the perfect tire pressure for your ATV.

Can-Am Outlander Tire Pressure

From my research, the optimal tire pressure for a Can-Am Outlander is between 4.5 and 7 PSI. Interestingly enough, Can-Am prefers to offer an interval for quite a few of their ATVs. Still, even that interval changes with time and model.

A quad like the 2010 Can-Am Outlander 800R EFI is recommended to have between 4.5 and 7 PSI. A brand new 2022 Can-Am Outlander X MR 850 is best kept between 6 and 7 PSI. To find the right tire pressure for your Can-Am Outlander, check out the official library of Can-Am manuals here.

If you are just purchasing a 2022 model, then you can go ahead and look in the table below to find the recommended tire pressure:

Model Recommended Tire Pressure
Front Rear
2022 Can-Am Outlander DS 70 MIN 3.6 PSI / MAX 5 PSI MIN 3.6 PSI / MAX 5 PSI
2022 Can-Am Outlander DS 90 MIN 3.6 PSI / MAX 5 PSI MIN 3.6 PSI / MAX 5 PSI
2022 Can-Am Outlander X MR 570 MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Outlander X MR 650 MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Outlander X MR 850 MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Outlander X MR 1000R MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI MIN 6 PSI / MAX 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade 570 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade 850 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade X XC 850 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade X XC 1000R 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade 650 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade 650 X XC 7 PSI 7 PSI
2022 Can-Am Renegade 1000 X XC 7 PSI 7 PSI

Whether you are the proud owner of a Can-Am or want to buy a new one, you might be interested in checking out this article I wrote where I present the most common Can-Am ATV problems and how to fix them.

Yamaha ATV Tire Pressure

As with all other ATV manufacturers, Yamahas definitely differ from one year to the next. Here is the Yamaha manual library to find your own year and model. Much like Polaris prefers to keep one tire pressure value for all of their models in one year, this brand has a preferred combo too.

As you can see in the table below, all of their 2021 models have optimal tire pressures of 5 PSI on the front rack and 4.4 PSI on the back rack. Since all of the 2021 models seem to have been renewed into 2022, I assume we will see the same values for the newer quads too. Sadly, the manuals for their 2022 line-up are not yet available in their online library.

Model Recommended Tire Pressure
Front Rear
2021 Yamaha Grizzly EPS / EPS SE 5 PSI 4.4 PSI
2021 Kodiak 700 / 700 EPS / 700 EPS SE 5 PSI 4.4 PSI
2021 Kodiak 450 / 450 EPS / 450 EPS SE 5 PSI 4.4 PSI

Arctic Cat Tire Pressure

Last but definitely not least, I often get questions about tire pressure for Arctic Cat ATVs. This does not surprise me, since there are almost no owner’s manuals posted in the resources page available on their website

If you have lost your owner’s manual for your Alterra, you might want to phone your nearest Arctic Cat representation or dealership to ask for help.  That being said, you can still try out your luck and see if your year and model is on the website.

Since there is no library of manuals available, it is difficult for me to compile a list of ATV tire pressure values for the newest Arctic Cats. Still, in my research I found a few manuals from 2015 to 2017, so here is what I could gather about this brand:

Model Recommended Tire Pressure
Front Rear
2015 Arctic Cat XR 500 5 PSI 5 PSI
2015 Arctic Cat XR 550 5 PSI 5 PSI
2015 Arctic Cat XR 700 5 PSI 5 PSI
2016 Arctic Cat Alterra 400 4 PSI 4 PSI
2016 Arctic Cat Alterra 450 4 PSI 4 PSI
2016 Arctic Cat Alterra 500 4 PSI 4 PSI
2016 Arctic Cat Alterra 550 4 PSI 4 PSI
2016 Arctic Cat Alterra 700 4 PSI 4 PSI
2017 Arctic Cat VLX 700 5 PSI 5 PSI

If you cannot get in touch with any professional in time for your trail ride, I think it is safe to assume that a 4 to 5 PSI tire pressure is more than okay for your Arctic Cat.

Final Words

ATV tire pressure is a topic that fascinates me since a small change can have such a great impact on your off-road experience. Figuring out and using the right tire pressure is an essential step in ATV maintenance. While the average optimal tire pressure is 5 PSI, you see how that value is different for brands such as Polaris, Can-Am, and even Honda. When you take into account special tires, different road conditions, and additional weight, the issue of choosing the perfect PSI value can become complex. I hope today’s guide is helpful in clearing out all of your questions and that you are prepared to take on the trails like a true ATV tire pressure expert!

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at bobtheatvguy@gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

Recent Posts