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Biggest Mistakes when Plowing Snow with an ATV Plow and Winch

Snowplow in action

Two of the biggest plowing mistakes are lifting the blade too high and lifting the plow in a snowbank.

Things we’ve learned the hard way about plowing with an ATV and winch:

  1. Pay attention to how high you lift the blade.
  2. Back up slightly before lifting the blade out of a snowbank.

The two biggest problems that cause damage to your ATV plow and winch are lifting the blade too high (which bends the winch mount and plow mount) and lifting the plow while it’s embedded in a snowbank (which can strip the winch gears, bend your equipment, and break your winch line).

Lifting the Plow Blade

Keep an eye on how high you lift the blade when plowing with your ATV. The easiest way to keep from lifting the blade too high is to watch the front of the ATV. If you lift the blade too high, the winch will start to cinch down the front of the ATV. As soon as you see ANY movement on the front of the ATV, stop winching immediately!

If you let the winch continue to pull down the front of the ATV, the mounting plate will eventually hit the front of the ATV and you’ll have a bent plate to deal with. Even a light duty 1500 lb ATV winch has more than enough power to mangle a winch plate and plow mount.

Piling Up Snow

The second thing to remember is to back up a few inches before lifting the plow out of a snowbank. You run into problems when you ram snow into a hard-packed wall, stop there, and then try to lift the plow. If you try to lift the plow before you back up, you can easily snap your winch line, strip the winch gears, or bend up your plow equipment. The winch and plow cannot handle the weight of the entire snowbank, which is what you are trying to lift with the plow embedded in the snow. Disengage the plow from the snowbank before lifting the blade.

So how do you pile up snow on a huge snowbank without lifting the plow when you hit the bank? Start lifting the plow as you approach the snowbank. Lift early instead of waiting until you hit the bank. Then, when you hit the snowbank, start backing up before lifting the plow any further.

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