Most casual ATV riders do not use their quad in the colder months, so knowing how to properly store it away is vital. If you leave your 4-wheeler prey to the elements, or you do not properly prep it for the winter, your quad could be in serious trouble. Today I’ll give you the complete guide to winterizing, as well as some unique ATV storage ideas.
The best way to store your ATV for long periods of time is in your personal garage or shed. Storing a quad indoors will help shelter it from damaging elements such as snow, wind, and freezing temperatures. If you do not have enough room in your garage, there are other helpful ATV storage ideas, such as a storage rental unit, an ATV lift, an ATV rack, or even a trailer propped up with jack stands. If none of these indoor storing solutions fit your needs, then you can store your quad outdoors covered by a quality synthetic ATV cover. Winterizing is necessary for all scenarios described above to improve the engine’s lifespan and avoid any damage.
Even though the most popular way of storing ATVs would have to be lining them up in your garage, there are still other options that I’ve personally tried or seen that can work for you. Keep on reading for my detailed descriptions of each ATV storage idea, as well as a thorough guide on winterizing your quad.
ATV Storage Ideas
It’s obvious that not all ATV owners live in a spacious house with a 3-car garage and plenty of yard space. Some of you might live in an apartment condo downtown or just have other important things occupying your garage. Trust me. You are neither the first person nor the last to deal with this issue.
Fortunately, both ATV shops and owners have come up with inventive ideas to save up space and make storage easier for all types of riders. Let’s go through each available option one by one so that you can figure out which is best for you.
#1 Storage Rental Units
If you do not have access to a garage, a barn, or a shed, this is the next best thing for your ATV’s protection. I recommend you find a well-ventilated 5×10 or 10×10 storage unit that can keep your ATV safe during the colder months. Your average 3-month cost will be around $250 to $300, depending on your location.
Compared to the next solution I’m gonna share with you, this is quite a steal. But if you are storing your ATV away for more than just the winter months, then the cost can rack up pretty quickly with rental units as well.
#2 ATV Lifts
This is the most expensive idea on our list, but probably the most convenient as well. If budget is not a problem for you and you have multiple quads that need storing, then getting an ATV lift for your garage will be a lifesaver. This sturdy contraption can cost upwards of $1,500, so don’t say I didn’t warn you about the price.
Despite burning a hole in your pocket, the ATV lift is a reliable storage solution that will serve you for years on end. In case you have other off-road vehicles such as snowmobiles and golf carts, the lift will store them just as well.
#3 ATV Racks
I don’t blame you if the costly price of the ATV lifts made you scroll faster through the article. If you do not have the budget to invest in a lift but still need a storage-saving solution for your garage, then you are sure to love the ATV rack. The problem is that you cannot find it anywhere to buy it because… it’s a DIY project!
If you are crafty and like to do work around the house, you will not find this project difficult. You might need assistance from one of your beer buddies for putting it all together, but you are sure to be done in just a couple of hours with or without help. Depending on the cost of the materials, the ATV rack can cost you anywhere from $50 to $400. Still, you would be saving a lot with this solution.
Here is an interesting example of an ATV rack DIY project from Speeding Media that might be the sturdiest one I’ve seen. They use pallet racking to create a gigantic rack that can store up to 4 ATVs. You can adapt their measurements to fit your off-road vehicles and even save up on some of the cash they spent making it.
#4 ATV Storage Sheds
This is the perfect choice for people that don’t have garage space but still have enough room in their backyard for a shed. ATV storage sheds have durable and waterproof tarps securely secured to a metal frame, sheltering your quad from most outdoor dangers. If you winterize your 4 wheeler based on my guide below, you can rest assured your ATV will sit for months without problems in a storage shed.
This is one of the cheaper solutions on today’s list, with prices between $80 and $150. If you find more room in your garage later for your ATV, you can still use this shed for things like lumber, farming equipment, or other off-road vehicles.
#5 ATV Trailer and Jack Stands
Using an ATV trailer for long-term storage might be the most creative idea on this list. I had a buddy that kept his 4 wheeler like this for about 4 months without any issue, so I knew I had to share it with you as well. If you already have an ATV trailer in your arsenal for transportation, then you can repurpose it for storage as well. If not, then just ignore this idea because a good trailer costs at least $3,000.
In case you are going to store your quad outside anyways, a trailer propped up by four jack stands can be a great way to take your ATV off the ground. This can relieve some of the pressure off the tires and keep them safe from some natural threats like small animals. But do not forget to follow the steps I recommend for regular outdoor storage as well for maximum protection!
#6 Outdoors Storage with ATV Cover
If all else fails, then you can still store your ATV outdoors. There are a few extra precautions you need to take when you store your quad outside, such as security options so it’s not stolen and protection from the elements. A quality ATV cover is recommended regardless of your storage solution, but if you store it outdoors, it’s an absolute must. The best choice is a synthetic and breathable material that can shield your quad from moisture, wind, and snow.
Make sure you are not just leaving your quad out on the street but in a fairly secure place like behind the house or in a fenced space. In case you live in a building apartment, then I recommend you call in a favor from a friend with a backyard to store the machine. If the ATV is stolen, it will not matter how well you were prepared against the elements.
Do not forget to winterize your quad before storing it away! Without it, you can say goodbye to your battery and a few very expensive engine parts.
Are you looking for the best ATV for long distance riding? You should check out this article where I compare the world’s top 3 best ATVs for long distance travel.
Can an ATV Be Stored Upright?
You are bound to make at least one ATV owner cringe with this question. I don’t know what the reason behind it is, but seeing a quad stored upright makes some people feel like bugs are crawling up their back. This is not a storage solution you will hear of often, but I have to say that it is possible. If the other six solutions I presented today are not well suited for you, then you can store it upright.
Still, there is some preparation for long-term upright storage, such as removing the engine oil. This otherwise very helpful liquid can seep out in an upright position, which will lead to a whirlwind of issues. Other than that, turn your fuel off, plug off the overflow hose for your radiator, and make sure your brake fluid is full. When you take it off your wall, give it a few hours to sit and let the oil coat the crank before starting it.
Do ATVs Need to Be Winterized?
Yes, yes, and yes again. If you are going to store away your quad for more than a month, then you definitely need to take some steps to keep it in peak condition while it’s not being used. The most important steps are to remove your battery and add a fuel stabilizer, but I have a full step-by-step plan I use all the time for optimal protection.
#1 Wash your ATV
I recommend washing your ATV every time after you use it. It might not seem essential, but leaving all that mud and grime on your beautiful machine will destroy your paint job and pose great dangers for your engine. So, clearly, leaving the dirt on the quad for 2 to 3 months is absolutely terrible.
I recommend you check out my detailed article on cleaning a dirt bike, which is almost the same process for ATVs as well. From getting the mud off with a rubber mallet to making it shine with a good quality polish, you have all the necessary details to make your off-road vehicle thrive in storage.
#2 Change Oil and Add Fuel Stabilizer
Unless you’ve just recently changed your oil, doing this step is essential for your bike’s life expectancy. Change the oil and even the oil filter if needed. As for the fuel stabilizer, this is a liquid that prevents condensation in the engine. You need to add it to a full tank of gas for fuel injected machines. In case your ATV has a carburetor instead, then you need to drain all the fuel from the tank, carburetor, and fuel lines.
#3 Remove the Battery
If you are storing your quad in a place that can get really cold, then you need to remove the battery so that it doesn’t freeze up on you. Lack of usage for several months can also affect the battery, so it’s best to take this step regardless of where you put your ATV.
#4 Seal the Openings
For people storing their quad outside or in an open ATV storage shed, this might be a good idea. I personally like to seal up any openings that leave room for small animals to enter the quad and make nests. I don’t want to deal with the headache of removing them in the winter, not to mention that they can do some serious damage to your cables.
Just use some duct tape to cover up open areas, such as the exhaust pipe.
#5 Check your Tires
Sitting without use for such a long time can affect the pressure in your tires. To avoid getting them completely flat by the time spring rolls around, check your tire pressure now and inflate them if necessary.
#6 Cover the ATV
Use your synthetic ATV cover to safely conceal all parts of your quad and secure it to the ground if possible. This is honestly your number one protection against the weather, so I would even use it for 4 wheelers in a garage or a storage rental unit. I like to do the most to ensure my ATV is always riding in perfect condition.
How Do You Store ATV Batteries?
I wanted to touch on this question as well before leaving the winterizing process behind because new owners don’t always think to do this. After you remove the battery from your quad, you cannot just leave it in the corner of your garage and call it a day. When the birds are chirping, and the snow is gone, your battery will be all out of juice.
You need a system that keeps your battery engaged throughout winter without affecting its lifespan, such as a trickle charger or a battery tender. Both of these systems work great, but it is said that tenders are better because they offer constant voltage to the battery. A trickle charger retails for around $30, while the battery tender is sold at around $55.