ATV Suspension: An Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide

ATV suspension close-up

When you are driving on a smooth road, the suspension system in your car doesn’t have much to do. However, when it comes to off-roading, ATV suspension does a lot of things. Besides, when you own an ATV, you need to know certain things about the vehicle’s suspension to make things easier. 

And, knowing how to adjust them will make your rides better. Continue reading the post to know more about ATV suspension so that you can enjoy quality rides. 

What is suspension for on an ATV?

When off-roading, you will encounter rocks, branches, logs, ditches, bumps, ruts, and several other obstacles that you won’t find on normal roads. An ATV suspension makes sure that your vehicle gets over them without getting damaged. 

In short, the suspension helps the ATV get over tough terrain with ease. Besides, a suspension smoothens your ride when driving off-road. Also, it makes sure that the ATV stays stable when riding on rough terrains. The suspension system comprises shocks and springs that help them do the job well. 

However, you can adjust the compression, rebound, and preload of the four-wheeler’s shocks to make your ride stiff or soft. Also, you can lift its height. The suspension system serves different purposes in an ATV.

  • Absorb bumps
  • Supports the weight of the ATV
  • Regulate tire contact with the ground
  • Allows the quad to turn depending on the steering

What are the advantages of independent suspension in an ATV? 

There are many advantages of having independent suspension on your ATV. Probably the main advantage of an independent suspension system is the ability to keep the driving wheels in contact with the ground. 

In short, an independent suspension has a separate suspension on each wheel. Typically, the independent suspension offers a better quality ride. Also, it helps a lot in handling the vehicle because of lower unsprung weight. The best part about independent suspension is the ability of each wheel to address the road regardless of the activities of other wheels. 

Performance-wise, this kind of suspension allows all four wheels to move up and down individually from the rest of the suspension. As a result, all four wheels of the ATV will be in contact with the ground.

How to lift an ATV suspension? 

The best way of lifting an ATV suspension is by using ATV lift kits. That way, you can lift the quad’s suspension and have a few inches of ground clearance for your ATV. Besides, the kit comes with all the necessary things that you need to achieve your desired height anywhere between 1.5 to 3 inches.

However, the exact measurement depends on the type of kit. The main benefit of getting the lift kit for increased ground clearance is that you don’t need to buy large tires to make a few inches lift. Apart from that, when you combine the lift kit with bigger tires, they will produce the desired result.

How to set up ATV suspension? 

Follow the instructions to make sure you get the best performance.

1. Install the suspension components 

Ensure that you are having the right components needed to set up the whole suspension system. Also, check for the right ground clearance.

2. Take note of the race ride height

Ensure that your quad is ready for racing and it has the right tire pressure and anything that influence its height. Stand on the footpegs and measure the length to the bottom of the frame.

3. Setting the right race ride height

Determine the front ride height and adjust the front shock preload until it is about 0 to 1/4-inch higher. 

4. Find out the race sag

Suspend the quad from the ground so that the suspensions are fully extended. Mark it on the subframe and measure it up to the axle. Next, bring the quad down and stand on the footpegs. Have someone measure the axle again. The difference is your race sag and it should be 4 to 5 inches. Make small adjustments to the preload nut. 

5. Get the right crossover gap

It should be around a 3/16 to 1/2-inch gap. Add or change the crossover spacers to have the desired result.

6. Measure the front mainspring 

The setup should be 7 to 7 1/8-inch for good cornering and plush ride.

How to fix squeaky suspension on an ATV

The front and rear ATV suspension arms are attached to the mainframe using a steel spacer or bushing. And, they may have grease fittings or may not have. Hence, when they become dry and worn, they tend to capture small amounts of dirt.

As a result, your ATV begins to produce squeaky sounds because the dirt is causing the grinding when the vehicle is moving. To get rid of that, proper suspension servicing might be enough. The servicing includes cleaning the components and adding a small layer of grease to the bushings. As such, it eliminates the ridiculous sound.

When and how to replace ATV suspension? 

If you feel that your ATV suspension is behaving strangely and affecting the way you are handling the quad, it’s time for you to inspect the suspension thoroughly. Or, you can visit your trusted technician to find out the real issue with your suspension. 

Moreover, if you notice leaks on the shock absorbers, broken linkage arm, or see a bent, you need to replace it as fast as possible. Keep in mind that the dampers are replaced in pairs on each axle. That way, it makes sure of a uniform load in the suspension system.

How to determine good suspension ATV? 

Here is how you can determine good suspension ATV.

  • A good suspension ATV provide independent shock absorption to all the wheels
  • The wheel cambers tend to remain unchanged in every riding condition including bumps, load, cornering, and acceleration
  • The good suspension will have adequate body roll that influences the steering response 

How to strengthen the suspension of an ATV? 

If you want to strengthen the suspension of your ATV, all you have to do is adjust the preload, compression, and rebound of the shock absorbers. But keep in mind that not all kinds of shocks can be adjusted in the same way. Also, you can adjust the ride height along with the preload to strengthen the suspension. 

Why raise suspension ATV? 

ATVs are used by riders for many reasons and that includes enjoying on the weekends, plowing snow during winter, camping, hunting, and many more. However, raising an ATV can be useful in a variety of ways. Adding more ground clearance is the main reason why most riders opt for raising their ATVs.

Also, many riders believe that bigger wheels can help them move without having more traction. And, you can install larger wheels on a lifted ATV. That’s because the extra height tends to create more space. However, there are some drawbacks to lifting your ATV as well.

How to check the suspension for damage on a rolled ATV?

Whenever you are dealing with a rolled ATV, you can notice several signs that indicate damage to certain components. So, when it comes to finding it out whether or not a suspension is damaged, watch out for the following signs.

  • Blown bushings will cause rattles, unwanted axle movement, or other handling issues
  • Shaggy springs cause poor handling and degradation in ride
  • Leaking shock seals indicate that the suspension has taken a beating after rolling
  • Other signs include bent shock shaft, broken shock mounts, broken leaf spring, and shattered U-bolts

What ATV has independent rear suspension? 

Not all ATVs come equipped with independent rear suspension. However, with this type of suspension, you can find comfort riding on rigorous terrains because the suspension is split. Here are some ATVs that have independent rear suspension.

  • Honda Foreman Rubicon
  • Honda FourTrax Rincon
  • Honda FourTrax Rancher
  • Yamaha Grizzly
  • Honda TRX700X

How long should you leave an ATV suspension loaded and ties down? 

There is no definite time fixed for that in the first place. While you can leave your shocks half-compressed for a few months, it is better not to do so. Also, it will take continuous tension to hamper the springs. However, the shock seals might deflect and will lose their grip. 

As a result, leaky shocks can make performance low for your ATV. You can roll the suspension to the trailer’s front and loop the hooks to the A-arm. That way, everything will fall in the right place without putting a load on the suspension

How to repair a Chinese ATV suspension

Chinese ATVs are popular among many sports enthusiasts worldwide. Although Chinese owners might use an ATV for different reasons, one thing that remains common for all owners is the need to repair or replace their vehicle’s suspension. Also, they face the same frustration of finding the right spare parts.

So, if you have a Chinese ATV and need to replace the suspension, it is wise to get in touch with an online seller that deals in all kinds of components for your Chinese ATV. Hence, ensure that you are buying the right suspension that matches your quad and get it fixed through a local technician.