How to Prevent ATV Theft: Top tips

As sad as it is, ATV theft happens frequently. ATVs are smaller than cars with fewer anti-theft preventions, so they're easy to steal. And, because they don't have to be registered, thieves feel like they are much more likely to get away with the theft. Thankfully, you can protect yourself fr om ATV theft by taking the steps in this post.


atv theft
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There are many ways for thieves to roll your ATV away, drive it away, or hitch the trailer up to their vehicle and go. They can then sell it to unassuming used ATV buyers as is, conceal the VIN number and trick used car buyers, or remove the engine and place it in another ATV body.

You may be unfortunate enough to find yourself dealing with a professional ordering theft. Or someone may have planned to steal your ATV because they want that specific ATV or to spite you. But the most common ATV thefts are opportunistic. Someone just catches sight of your ATV unattended and makes a quick grab.

It is impossible to 100% guarantee your ATV won't be stolen, but you can make it much more difficult for them so that it's much less likely.

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gps tracking sSystem

If your ATV is stolen, you will be in much better shape if you are prepared for it.

Record Identifiers

Have your ATV's VIN number and engine serial number written down where they can be easily found.

Install a GPS Tracking System

A GPS tracking system will not stop someone from stealing your ATV, but it will help the police recover it. There are some that use GPS, GSM, and VHF for further protection.

Insure Your ATV

Consider insuring your ATV. If you want to save money, you might be able to insure the ATV just against theft.

Explore the benefits of carrying ATV insurance.

Call the Police

If your ATV is stolen, call the police as soon as you discover it so they can begin investigating and recovering the ATV.


lock on atv

These tips are so easy you can start right away without investing any money.

Don't Leave Your Keys in the ATV When You Are Not Driving

This might sound too obvious, but it's very easy to do and makes theft way too tempting for an opportunistic thief.

Don't Hide Your Key Outside

It can seem like a smart move to save yourself trouble and trick a thief by hiding your keys outside, particularly near the ATV, but you'd be surprised how easy they can be to find.

Hide Your Parked ATV

Park your ATV behind trees, in a shed, or in a garage. A locked shed or garage is best. of course, but just keeping it out of sight will help.

If you can't do either of these, at least cover it. People may not realize it's an ATV, and it will make it slightly harder to steal.

Never Let People Drive It, Ever, Without a Guarantee

Whether you're allowing a potential buyer to test it out or letting someone you know have a little fun on it, you might never see it again.

If they're a buyer and they arrived in a car, make sure they leave the car behind and that you watch it until they come back with your ATV.

And/or make the person agree to have the ATV back in a certain period of time. Call the police if they don't bring it back to you within a reasonable amount of time.

You might also choose to not let anyone ride it just for fun that you don't 100% trust.

Put Obstacles in Their Way

If your car is parked between your ATV and the street, it'll be harder for someone to steal. If it's also blocked by the wall of your house or a fence in front of the ATV, it will be even more difficult.

You can use this method in a large garage too for added protection.

Use the ATV's Steering Lock

Many ATVs come with a steering lock to lock the wheels hard turned to either side. This is another step to make it harder for someone to steal your machine.

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locks for disc brakes
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Install Locks

For ATV's with ventilated disc brakes, you can fit a heavy-duty lock into one of the holes in the brake disc so that it is impossible for someone to turn the wheel.

Some locks come with motion detection alarms that will sound when a potential thief gets near your ATV, draw attention to it and them, and make it too dangerous to attempt to steal.

Any ATV can take a handlebar lock to prevent the wheel from rotating.

Install a Ground or Wall Anchor

Anchoring your ATV to either the ground or the wall will make it impossible to roll, drive, or lift your ATV. It requires a concrete floor or wall to attach the anchor in.

While you're on the trail, you can use a tree in this way by wrapping a heavy chain or cable around the tree.

Install Security Cameras or a Security System

Depending on your current setup and funds, you could install either of these to protect your ATV.

security cameras
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Deflate Two Tires

You can remove the valve-stems from two of your tires so they deflate. Thieves will be unlikely to want to mess with moving it or taking the time to inflate the tires, but you can.

Or Remove a Necessary Fuse

If it is easy for you to take out and put back in, but it makes the ATV not run, go for it. Thieves aren't going to come prepared with the missing part.

Purchase an ATV with a Digital Key

Some ATVs have digital keys. Only you and the manufacturer can start that ATV. The VIN number is also electronically stored in the ATV so no one can get away with hiding or cloning the ATV's VIN number.

Take the advantages of the latest off-road gear technologies for your safe and comfortable riding.


ground anchor on the trailer
Image from Homeowner Repair Youtube channel

An ATV can be stolen while you're parked somewhere with the ATV on the trailer or if you keep the ATV on the trailer at home.

Park your trailer in a place you can easily see it, so you can watch it while you eat in a restaurant or check it if you hear a noise at night.

A ground anchor can be installed on the trailer.

You can use a hitch-lock pin to ensure no one can unhook the trailer from your vehicle while you're parked.

You can also cover hatches or ramps by backing the trailer up against a wall so no one can get them down without moving your vehicle.

Make sure your ramps or hatches can be locked.

Install a tongue-lock if the ATV will be stored on the trailer to ensure no one can drive up and hitch their vehicle to your trailer.

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