Conquer Muddy Terrain With Your ATV
At some point in your time riding an ATV you will most likely have to get through some mud. Mud can be a challenge to get through, even if you have some experience riding your ATV.
Some ATVs are better designed than others for getting through mud holes. Four wheel drive is obviously going to be a lot better for powering through mud holes than a two wheel drive system. But a lot of the basic technique remains the same no matter what kind of ATV you are driving.
The first thing you should realize is that if you ever stop moving in a mud hole, you are most likely going to become stuck. Approach with some speed, but be careful. Going too fast can cause other problems, like the driver being thrown off the ATV as you suddenly decelerate when hitting the mud. Approaching too slow, on the other hand, often means getting bogged down and stuck.
If possible, you may wish to try and keep one drive wheel on solid terrain to provide traction. This may not always be possible, and you should be careful if you suspect that the mud hole may be deep. Having one side sinking into deep mud with the other on solid ground can cause your ATV to roll.
Some experienced riders may tell you that you should stand on your pegs when entering a mud hole so that you can better respond to any unevenness in the terrain. Again, be careful, as the sudden deceleration may throw you if you are not prepared for it. Be sure of your balance before attempting to ride through a mud hole standing on your pegs.
The most common mistake the beginner makes is to mash hard on the throttle when losing traction in a mud hole. If your tires are spinning and throwing mud everywhere, they aren’t gripping anything or moving you forward. A tire that is spinning slower will be able to grip where a wildly spinning tire may not. This goes double for times you stop in the middle of a mud hole. Take it easy on the throttle, or you will just dig yourself into a hole.
Weight distribution can mean the difference between getting through the mud and getting stuck. You should try and keep as much of your weight as possible over the rear wheels on a two wheel drive ATV. A four wheel drive won’t be as sensitive to front-rear weight changes as a two wheel drive, although you should try to avoid digging the front of your ATV down lower than the rear in the mud. Rocking from side to side can help both types get through the mud patch.
A four wheel drive will make short work of most mud pits that can give a two wheel drive real problems, but it is not invincible. If you get in a mud pit that is too deep, you risk pulling mud into your engine intake, which kills it right quick. A snorkel kit and exhaust extensions can allow your ATV to keep running with the engine completely under the mud.
No matter what ATV you are driving, remember that you may only have one shot at getting through a mud hole without a tow. Familiarity with the trails you are riding on is a big plus, and remember you should always be riding with another experienced rider. Having a buddy on another ATV can mean the difference between a quick pull out of a mud pit, and walking back to your vehicle.