We are in the thick of winter, and with it comes the need to clear our driveways and walkways. While traditional shoveling may work for some, others may be looking for a more efficient (and fun) way to tackle the snow. Whether you're looking to clear your own driveway or offer snow removal services to your neighbors, the goal of this guide is to provide you with some basic information to get started!
1. Ensure Your Rig is Right for the Job
Before using your ATV as a snow plow, it's essential to check if your vehicle is capable of supporting a plow attachment. Consult your ATV owners manual or the manufacturers guide to find out if it's suitable for snow removal. ATVs are ideal for clearing driveways, sidewalks, and yards, but may have difficulty moving snow on uneven city streets and parking lots. It's important to note the weight of the load as it is easier to plow dry and powdery snow rather than wet and compact snow. Also be sure that your rig is in good shape and well maintained before taking on a task outside of its normal use. If you're looking to do this as a business, it may be more affordable as a start-up to get ATV financing in place, having them include the blade in it. This way you're making payments over a hefty start-up cost.
2. Proper Set Up
In order to prevent damage, it's important that you properly set up your plow blade. Refer to the ATV blade manufacturer's instructions for the correct way to mount. As a general tip, I wipe down the blade with lubricating oil to prevent snow from sticking. If using your ATVs winch for mechanical adjustments, ensure that all parts are secure and that the winch is installed correctly and operating normally. The depth of the blade should be adjusted based on the amount of snow you are plowing. To move more snow with less effort, align the angle of the plow to match the angle of the surface.
3. Prep for the Cold
Prepare yourself for the cold weather by wearing appropriate ATV gear such as a solid helmet, goggles, thick jacket or suit, gloves, and boots. Additionally, it's important to mark any hazards that you may come across, such as landscaping features, to avoid collision with your vehicle. If you are plowing for someone else, be sure to ask them of such hazards prior.
4. Don't Wait Until Snowfall Stops
While it may seem like a good idea to wait until the snow finishes falling, it is often better to plow as it drops. This will prevent the snow from piling up, or beginning to melt into ice into heavier drifts that your ATV is not able to manage. It will also allow you to plan and set up where your snow pile will end up at the end of the job as well as get to know the contour of the area before it has been covered.
5. Clean-up and Storage
When finished, safely lower the blade to the ground and clean any snow, dirt, or de-icing chemicals from the blade and rig. Be sure to also clean the undercarriage, sides, and wheels thoroughly to prevent any adverse effects from any chemical that you may have used or picked up along the way. Finally, storing your ATV is important to ensure its reliability moving forward. Check out our article on storing your ATV outdoors for some more great tips!