How to Make Your ATV Wider and Do You Actually Need It
An ATV width increase is one of the most popular machine upgrades, but do you really need it and which method is right for you?
What is the Maximum Width of an ATV?
The maximum width you can legally make your ATV is 50 inches in most places. Some states are making motions to expand it to 55.
Pros and Cons of Widening an ATV
Widening an ATV positively impacts its performance by improving handling and making cornering more stable even when going at higher speeds.
There are two downsides to widening an ATV. First, it puts extra strain on the machine's parts, so you have to increase your diligence with routine checks and maintenance and may need to make repairs and replacements more often. Second, widening your ATV may limit where you can ride. Some trails and parks have width restrictions because there are places on the trail that aren't wide enough for the machine to safely or even possibly fit.
The individual methods of widening your ATV have their own drawbacks and will be discussed below.
4 Common Ways to Widen your ATV
Flip the wheels around
This is a fairly simple, no cost method of widening an ATV.
If you flip your wheels around, inside out, you can instantly increase the width of your ATV by a few inches. You may not have known that you can attach the wheel the same way when reversed.
Flipping the wheels increases the width because the wheels usually have a concave on the machine side of the wheel. When you turn the wheel around, the more shallow side of the rim is closer to the machine, placing more tire on the outside.
This method may not be possible for everyone. If your wheels don't have a concave on the inside, you won't notice any difference. Some tire treads are designed for movement in a certain direction and won't work or wear the same when flipped.
A downside is that if all you do is take the tire off and turn it around, the tire stem will be on the inside of the machine. If possible, you could move the tires to the opposite side of the ATV so the tire stem is still on the outside.
Add wheel spacers
Wheel spacers are a pretty simple and inexpensive way to widen your ATV.
The first step is to select wheel spacers, making sure to remember that they should be half the width you want to widen your ATV because you'll be putting one on both sides. Then you remove the wheel, mount the wheel spacers on the wheel hub, and replace the wheel. Voila!
The downside to this method is that it doesn't suit rough riding well. If you're going to be punishing your ATV, you will punish the wheel spacers too, potentially causing breakage that could lead to a crash. The larger the wheel spacers, the less punishment they can take.
It's wise to get the smallest wheel spacers for your needs rather than being tempted to go bigger.
Upgrade A-arms with aftermarket parts
You can replace your machine's A-arms with longer aftermarket ones. This requires more investment, often around $400, but it is a tougher upgrade than wheel spacers and suitable for any kind of riding. This method is also the best choice when you want to add a greater amount of width. Rather than adding larger wheel spacers, jump right to the A-arms.
The aftermarket A-arms will come with step-by-step instructions.
Upgrade axles with aftermarket parts
It is also possible to replace the axles with aftermarket ones for added length. This too often costs around $400 and requires more work, but it is tough enough to tackle any riding.
Many aftermarket axles will come with instructions, but if you purchase ones that don't, you can find detailed instructions online. This install is a little more difficult than installing new A-arms.
You don't have to choose just one of these methods. You can pair them depending on the width you want to achieve and whether you want the front wider than the back or for both to be equal.
If all you want to do is make the front a little wider than the back, you could add some small wheel spacers in the front. If you want more width and for the front to be wider than the back, you can add A-arms in the front and wheel spacers in the back. When widening your ATV with the toughest riding in mind, you could put new A-arms in the front and new axles on the back.