Tips For Troubleshooting A Rough Idling ATV

4 September 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


ATVs get a lot of use on oilfields. After all, it's a lot of ground to cover when production is in full swing. When you depend on your ATVs so much, it's important that they are in their best condition at all times. If your ATV is idling rough or it's just not running as smooth as it has been, you may want to do some quick troubleshooting before you have to call an ATV service technician. After all, the vibrations created from the ATV's engine can actually shift the position of adjuster screws and other cables over time. Here's a look at some of the things you should check.

The Carburetor

When an ATV idles, it should be a bit like an idling car. The idle itself should be smooth and consistent. If it's jerky, rough or skipping, it may mean there's a clog in the carburetor. In most ATV models, the carburetor mounts directly under the seat. Remove the seat to expose the engine compartment and it should be on top.

You'll need a spray carburetor cleaner and some clean shop rags. Use a wrench to remove the float bowl from the top of the carburetor. Just make a note of where the fuel lines are attached so that you can reconnect them after. Take a quick digital picture if it's easiest for remembering where things go.

Spray the float bowl with the carburetor cleaner and scrub it with a small shop brush. Make sure there's nothing clogging the jets and brush over the tips of them, too. Then, wipe the whole thing clean with the shop rags and put it back in place.

The Idle

If cleaning the carburetor doesn't help, your idle issues may be due to shifting on the adjustment screw. You'll have to adjust the idle manually. Adjusting the idle means that you're changing the ratio of the amount of fuel to air that the carburetor's using. If there's too much of either in the mix, it'll make the ATV run rough.

Find the adjustment screw on the carburetor body. The further out it is, the more air is getting into the carburetor. Turn off the ATV, tighten the adjustment screw all the way and count how many turns it takes to do it. That tells you how far out the screw was when you started. You'll need that if you have to go back to your starting point.

Start the engine. Turn the screw out about a quarter of a turn. Keep doing this as you listen to the idle. The engine speed will eventually drop to a smooth, even idle. Then, turn the screw back the other way about a quarter turn until you hear it start to increase in speed again. The goal is to find that perfect spot where it JUST smooths out.

If these tips don't resolve your ATV's idling problem, reach out to a local ATV service technician, such as Ron's Equipment Rental & Industrial Supply Ltd ATV repair techs.