How to Prevent ATV Theft
ATV theft is a huge problem that can happen at any time during the year, whether your ATV is in a trailer, in a shed, or out in the open. Of course, the highest risk period is when your ATV is stored - depending on where and how you're storing it. Unfortunately, a stolen ATV doesn't just mean a lost opportunity to hit the trails, it also means a hefty insurance claim, reporting stolen property, and getting a new machine. To protect your ATV from theft, consider these four tips:
#1. Remove Valve Stems
Thieves are opportunists. The easiest, fastest and most common way an ATV gets stolen is it's simply rolled away. To prevent this from happening, consider removing the valve stems from just two tires before you prepare your vehicle for storage. This makes the tires go flat and makes it a lot harder for a thief to move it. Installing the stem valves isn’t too hard or too costly (even if you get a professional to do it) and it’s a lot cheaper than replacing an entire ATV.
#2. Padlock Your Brakes
If your machine has drilled brake rotors, buy small padlocks that slip into the locking shaft through one of the holes in the rotor. This prevents the machine from being rolled away and is better for your tires.
#3. Stop the Charge
Virtually every ATV on the trails these days has an electric starter. By removing the fuse to the key switch, fuel pump, or starter, you can slow would-be thieves down.
#4. Old-Fashioned Lock and Chain
Finally, lock your ATV up. If you're leaving it parked overnight while you camp, chain it to a tree or your camper. Get a good quality chain and lock that cannot be drilled out or cut open. Also, be sure the chain or cable goes through the frame, as simply locking the ATV wheel to a stationary object isn’t enough.
If you're keeping your machine in a trailer, ensure it is locked up and there is a hitch- or tongue-lock or it's hooked up to your vehicle. You may also want to get trailer wheel locks or invest in an alarm system. Painting your trailer to make it stand out is another good way to prevent theft - the thief has to do more work before the unit can be sold.
Invest in good locks for your storage shed during the offseason too. While this may not stop a thief, it is certainly a deterrent.
Talk to your insurance broker about protecting your ATV. While it may be covered under your home insurance policy, making a claim can increase your premiums and the money you get back may not be enough to come close to replacing your machine. ATV insurance is a good option for those whose hobby involves ATVs of any kind.
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