Will Rain Damage An ATV? Avoid Breaking Your Quad!

In ATV Setups by Kevin

Will Rain Damage An ATV?

Now I was laying down at home and it was raining real hard and I really wanted to ride in my ATV. and something suddenly crossed my mind: will rain hurt my ATV? now, one of my old riding partners told me that riding in the rain could mean trouble for my quad. and then I asked a forum about this and they told me that its fine. soo, I got conflicting answers regarding riding in the rain. so I decided to make some research myself to really find out!

And the verdict is that no, you will NOT hurt or break your ATV by riding it in the rain. in hindsight I think it’s something obvious: ATVs are made for offroading and trail purposes. they are able to withstand sand, dust, and mud without a problem. and I have honestly never had a problem with riding my ATV in the trails, mud and even small streams of water. so if it’s raining and you want to ride, go ahead!

Using your ATV while raining will generally be fine.

ATVs are supposed to be all-terrain vehicles, so they are made with ruggedness in mind. they are specifically engineered to cross over rocks, rip through a trail, and move through the mud with ease. and when it comes to mud, remember that mud is just dirt that is very wet, so if you have ridden in the mud, then your quad has been in contact with at least some muddy water. now, I know some people that have had some problems with water when riding. I honestly do not know the details but they told me that after riding in the rain, that their battery had problems and had to replace them. other people have had problems with the engine.

But all of these cases have something in common: the owners did some mods to the quad and its components were left exposed. the person whose battery was damaged by rainfall had left the battery cap opened slightly after he was messing around with parts of the quad. the guy that had the engine malfunction had done some performance mods on the quad and he decided to take off the plastics covering the engine for “weight reduction”. little did he know that those plastic were there for a reason: to protect against debris and foreign materials!

Anyways, if you haven’t done anything like that then you shouldn’t have a problem with the quad. however, there are other ways that rain has hurt people’s quads. I talk about that below.

Is heavy rainfall and light submersion in water fine?

Try to avoid submerging your quad more than a few inches

Light to moderate rainfall and some water getting into your quad when crossing a stream is something, but heavy rainfall or light submerging the quad is something completely different. also, if you need to leave your quad outdoors and it’s raining a lot, then get a waterproof cover ASAP to avoid damage to your quad or side by side. riding your quad under heavy rainfall or even trying to cross a stream that is too deep will probably hurt your quad! even though manufacturers try to make the quad as water resistant as possible, that doesn’t mean that it’s waterproof! so if it’s raining a lot when it might be wise to just avoid riding until the rain dissipates. this is something that happened to my friend.

Riding fast while wet is also a risk because the tires will not have the desired traction. the tires might slip and that could mean trouble! partially submerging your quad is another no-no unless the manual tells you otherwise. many a quad rider try to emulate commercials and they end up needing a mechanic. if you are going to pass through a body of water with your quad, then try to make sure that it’s less than 1 feet deep.

How to know if your quad will have problems with water.

There are several ways to know if your quad hates water. for example, my brother-in-law bought a Polaris Scrambler last spring break and when he read the manual, it clearly states what you can do and what you cannot do when it comes to water, and he only had to read the manual to check that out. anyways, some other ways to know if your quad will malfunction when near water include:

  •  A very antiquated quad might mean trouble. old quads generally lose some waterproofing as time goes on and people keep using it. it’s something that is going to depend from model to model, but generally, some old ATV parts will not like water. parts like some outside transmission components, the engine block, the air filter, and even the alternator (if it has one). some quads suspensions that are pre-2000 models tend to squeak annoyingly when even a little bit wet. that might mean that it’s an old component and that it might need a replacement.
  • The other type of quad that might not like water much are cutting edge, technologically advanced quads with lots of features. new quads are much different than what I used to ride back in the early to mid-2000s. modern quads have advanced features like fuel injection, turbocharging, ECUs to control throttle response, drive-by-wire technology, and even adaptative dampers. all of these are great features that you certainly want to have in a quad, but their weak spot is generally wet environments. it’s something that is pretty obvious. the more electronic components you put in a quad, the more vulnerable it might be to water and even dust and other particles. I would check the particular quad if it’s newer than a 2014 model and specifically check if it’s gonna have problems with a moderate amount of water. another place that I would check is in the owner’s manual.
  • The last thing is that it says that it’s not compatible with certain amounts of water in the manual. manuals should be considered the ATV rider’s bible. I have learned quite a few things from them. they have lots of information regarding ATV functions and what you can do and shouldn’t do with the quad. and depending on the quad, more than a little bit of water might be a hard no and it will say so in the manual. so if you are having that concern, quickly look for your manual and check for hazards! depending on what you have, water might or might not be there. in that list, you could also see other things that might hurt your quad, not just water.
  • The last thing is if you have had problems with water before. the most obvious one. if you have had problems or are experiencing a malfunction of any kind, then your ride while raining! you will just damage it more! I would recommend taking it to a certified mechanic to see what he tells you before getting it wet again!.

How to waterproof a quad

Most quads in working order are already waterproof to a degree, but this is more intended for people with older quads. over time these oldies will not resist water as well! here are some tips to waterproof your quad.

  1. Add grease to the bearings.
    this is the number 1 tip to avoid squeaky suspensions and a fragile chassis. you will have to buy waterproof grease for that. since the grease is hydrophobic, it will keep water away from the bearings and the axle. the grease is injected using a grease needle. other components that will benefit from grease include king pins and ball joints.
  2. Check for any loose cables that might be reached by water.
    this is very important for older quads because they might have some cables hanging by. I would recommend taping them as up as possible so that they don’t have any water contact and so that they aren’t caught why a loose branch or similar.
  3. Inspect the transmission
    check for any place that water might enter the transmission components. it’s very easy to get a malfunction if you get a splash of water in there. check your manual for the exact location of the transmission components.


In short, riding an ATV in the rain shouldn’t be a problem, unless its a lot of rain or your quad has open electric circuits or similar. you should also avoid big streams of water, especially if the body of water is more than 1 feet deep. but other than those cases you shouldn’t worry too much about a moderate amount of water in your quad. anyways, if you are new to ATV riding, you really need to check out my complete guide to ATV riding. it contains useful information for both newbies and experienced riders alike.