How To Safely Load and Unload an ATV Trailer

Loading and Unloading ATV's from a trailer seems simple enough. With that said, I've heard countless horror stories of people hurting themselves or trashing their equipment by improperly or unsafely carrying out this task. With some basic knowledge and a little bit of patience, loading and unloading should be quick and easy.

All of the steps below should be done with the assumption that the trailer is safely hitched to your tow vehicle and the emergency brake on the tow vehicle is engaged.

Loading
1) Put on your helmet. If you do mess something up, at least your head is protected.

2) Align the ramps so the tires are as close center as possible. This prevents the ramps from tipping.

3) Start the ATV and put it into the lowest forward gear. This allows the ATV to move with the least amount of throttle input.

4) Engage four-wheel drive if the ATV is equipped. Four wheels gripping the ramps help prevent wheel spin.

5) Smoothly apply throttle until the ATV begins to climb the ramps, giving it just enough throttle to maintain forward momentum. Be careful to avoid rapid throttle input that could cause the wheels to spin.

6) When cresting the ramps and reaching the deck, gently apply the brakes to bring the ATV to a complete stop.

7) Place the gear selector into park, if applicable. If no parking gear is present, engage the parking brake.

8) Shut down the engine, remove the key from the ignition and place it in a safe spot. I generally choose the center console of my truck.

9) Tie down the ATV with a set of quality tie downs sturdy enough to secure an ATV. It is imperative that the ATV is secured well enough to prevent moving or sliding on the trailer.

10) Place the ramps back into their storage location. You'll need them to unload when you reach your destination.

Unloading
1) Grab your helmet and put it on immediately. You'll be climbing all over the trailer so this is an easy, but unacceptable step to miss.

2) Undo the tie downs and place them in a safe spot. You'll need them again later.

3) Align the ramps with the front wheels of the ATV. If they're not centered, the ramps could tip.

4) Start the ATV, put it into the lowest forward gear and gently apply enough throttle to roll onto the ramps. Momentum should carry the ATV down the ramps with very little throttle input.

5) Stop the ATV and either put it into park or engage the parking brake, then shut off the engine.

6) Place the ramps back in their storage location. This will help prevent the ramps from being damaged or stolen.