How to Turn Off an ATV (Beginner’s Guide)

When it comes to learning how to ride ATVs, most people only think about how to shift gears or what is the fastest quad they can ride. They should also learn how to turn off an ATV.

ATVs turn off when the ignition key is turned or the kill switch is activated. The best way to turn off your ATV is by turning the ignition key and removing it. If you are just stopping for a quick break, then you should use the kill switch to avoid wear and tear on the key.

Turning the ATV engine off is not the same on all models. You also have to take into account the make and model you are riding. Don’t worry, I have you covered.

infographic showing how to turn off an ATV

How to Turn Off an ATV

A couple sitting on an ATV looking at the sunset

The Ignition Key Method:

Many quad riders state that they always use their key when it comes to turning their ATV off, whether they are putting the beast to sleep in the garage after a tiresome ride or pausing for a few minutes to breathe in the fresh air in the wilderness.

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Here is a step-by-step guide that shows how to turn off a quad using the ignition key:

Ensure Safety: Before turning off your ATV, ensure that you’ve come to a complete stop in a safe location. Always keep away from roads, steep inclines, or any potential hazards.

Neutral Gear: Shift the ATV into neutral. This ensures that the vehicle won’t move unexpectedly when you next start it.

Turn the Ignition Key: Locate the ignition key slot, typically found on the ATV’s dashboard or side panel. Turn the key to the ‘OFF’ position. You should hear the engine cut off, indicating the ATV is now turned off.

Check Indicators: Some ATVs might have indicator lights or gauges. Once you’ve turned the key to the ‘OFF’ position, ensure that all lights on the dashboard are off. This confirms that the electrical system is not drawing any power.

Remove the Key: For added safety, especially if there are children around or if you’re parking in a public area, remove the ignition key and store it in a safe place.

The Kill Switch Method (+ how ATV kill switches work):

So, what exactly is a kill switch? A kill switch, also known as an emergency power off (EPO), is a safety mechanism designed for switching off the power of a machine abruptly. This mechanism was created to be used in emergency situations, so unlike other shut-down procedures which turn down all power, a kill switch will quickly interrupt the circuit that sends electricity towards the engine, helping you cut down speed and avoid an accident. The kill switch is activated either by pushing or pulling it.

Check out the guide below to learn how to turn off an ATV using the kill switch:

Identify the Kill Switch: Usually, the kill switch is a red button located on the left handlebar of your ATV. It’s designed for easy access so riders can reach it without letting go of the handlebars.

Activate the Kill Switch: Press the button (or in some models, flip the switch) to the ‘OFF’ or ‘CUT-OFF’ position. You will hear the engine abruptly stop, indicating the ATV is now turned off.

Confirm Shutdown: Ensure that the engine has completely stopped. The abrupt silence should be a clear indicator. In addition, if your ATV has dashboard lights or gauges, make sure they’re inactive.

Turn Off the Ignition: Even after using the kill switch, it’s crucial to turn off the ATV’s ignition key. This ensures that no systems are running that might drain the battery. Rotate the ignition key to the ‘OFF’ position and remove it for added safety.

Maintenance Reminder: Periodically check and clean your kill switch. Due to its exposed position, it might gather dust or get corroded. Regular maintenance ensures it works effectively when needed.

Remember, the kill switch is an essential safety feature, especially for unexpected situations. While it’s effective for quick stops, always use the ignition key for more prolonged shutdowns to ensure the longevity of your ATV’s battery and systems.

Final Words

When it comes to choosing a method to turn off your ATV, in my opinion, you should choose whatever way works best for you. Whether you decide to use the kill switch more often or, on the contrary, the ignition key, it will have little to no impact on the lifetime of your quad whatsoever. If you are looking for a reliable ATV that will last decades, you should check out this article where I highlight the most reliable ATVs in 2022.

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 if you want to get in touch.

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