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ProMark Offroad Blog

How to Plow Snow with an ATV Plow

ATV plow

Clear your driveway faster with an ATV plow.

If clearing the driveway is something you typically pawn off on your teenager, things are going to change when you get an ATV plow system. Plowing with your ATV is not only a great way to use your ATV in the winter, but it makes clearing the driveway fun rather than a dreaded chore.

1. Inspect your equipment.

Before you start plowing, take a few minutes to inspect your equipment. Check for loose or cracked parts, worn components, or any signs of damage on the plow blade, mounting assembly, push tube, plow lift, and any other plow parts. If you find any problems, fix them before you use the plow.

2. Test the lift device.

Make sure your ATV plow winch or electric lift system is operating properly. Lift and lower the plow blade, taking care to note how high you can lift the blade without stalling the ATV winch or hitting your vehicle with the plow assembly. Be careful not to lift the plow too high while you’re clearing the driveway.

3. Adjust the plow.

Next, set the angle of the blade and make sure the skid height and blade pivot angle are how you want them.

For deep snow, set the plow blade high and clear the snow in layers at a relaxed angle. This prevents overstraining on your winch and plow assembly. Then finish the job more aggressively with a lowered plow blade and a sharper blade angle.

4. Plan your route.

Make a plan before you start plowing with your ATV. Know the pattern you should follow to clear snow out of the way without dumping it into the path that you’ve already cleared. The best pattern usually involves clearing the outer edges of the area, moving snow to either side of the driveway.

5. Work smart.

Push snow back into the lawn at beginning of season to leave room for building up snow throughout the entire snow season. Lift the plow blade as you approach the edge of the pavement.

Avoid piling up too much snow in front of the blade. It’s hard on your plow system, ATV winch, and your ATV.

If your driveway abuts with the house, use a shovel to clear a section of snow (about a foot or two) away from the house. Better to shovel a little snow than hit the house with your plow blade.

ATV Plow Parts

Outfit your quad with an ATV plow system from Cycle Country or Eagle Manufacturing. All plow kits ship free to the lower 48 U.S.

6 ATV Plow Accessories to Make Plowing Easier

UTV snow plow

Use your ATV or UTV to plow snow with these accessories.

With a few ATV plow accessories, you can plow faster and easier with your ATV. Here are some of the most popular ATV plow accessories.

1. Plastic wear bar

If you plow on concrete or brick, use a plastic wear bar to minimize damage to the driveway surface.

2. Synthetic plow rope

Synthetic winch rope is more flexible than steel rope, which makes it a better choice for the constant up-and-down motion of an ATV plow blade. Synthetic plow rope is available in short lengths (such as 10 feet), since you’ll only need a few feet of rope to raise and lower the plow blade. If there’s enough room on your winch spool, you can install the synthetic plow rope over the existing winch cable.

3. Large-bottom roller fairlead

If you use your ATV mainly for plowing in the winter, a large-bottom roller fairlead can come in handy. The large bottom roller reduces the wear and tear on your winch rope.

4. Plow markers

It’s now always easy to gauge the width of your ATV plow blade. Plow markers are flexible markers that install on the corners of the plow blade to give you better plow visibility, especially in deep snow.

5. Plow blade side wall

The blade side wall installs on the end of the plow blade and helps control the flow of snow as it piled in front of the blade. The plow blade side wall prevents snow from escaping on that side of the blade and guides the snow off to one side.

6. Snow control flap

This flexible rubber flap installs on the top edge of the ATV plow blade to keep snow from flowing up and over the blade. A snow control flap helps guide the snow where you want it to go.

ATV Plow Accessories

Order a new synthetic plow rope or large bottom roller fairlead before the snow flies! ProMark Offroad carries ATV snow plow kits and ATV winches for all makes and models. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.

Why Use Plow Skid Shoes?

Plow skids

Plow skids make your wear bar last longer and protect the driveway surface.

Even the pros are pretty much split on whether or not they recommend using plow skids. Some of the factors that come into play include whether or not the ground is frozen, what type of driveway surface you’re plowing (and even the distinction between different types of gravel or how packed down it is), the weight of the plow blade, and the type of wear bar on your plow (steel or urethane).

Why Use Plow Skids?

Plow operators who use skid shoes generally use them for one of two reasons: 1) To keep from plowing gravel or stones into the yard, or 2) To make the wear bar last longer.

Skid shoes are designed to allow the plow blade to “float” just above the surface that you are plowing. This comes in handy for gravel driveways, crushed rock, pavers, uneven surfaces or slightly raised areas, and soft surfaces that can get marred by the plow blade. With the plow raised slightly, you are less likely to bulldoze gravel and stones into the yard and you will get a longer life out of your wear bar. The skid shoes allow you to follow the contour of the surface so the blade doesn’t catch or chatter.

How to Adjust Plow Skids

When plowing a dirt or gravel surface, adjust the plow shoes so that the blade is raised slightly above the surface. When plowing an asphalt or concrete surface, adjust the shoes to the same height as the plow blade to get a clean scrape. Some plow operators remove the skid shoes or raise them all the way up when they want to scrape the surface bare. If you’re not sure whether to use skid shoes or not, try plowing with them and then without them to see what works better for the conditions and surface that you’re trying to plow.

Choosing an ATV Winch for Snow Plowing

Eagle Original Mount ATV plow

A winch with a mechanical brake is better for plowing because it prevents the line from bleeding out.

In order to use your ATV plow, you need some type of lift mechanism. The three options you can choose from are a manual hand lift, a 12V electric winch, and an electric lift system. Some plow kits—such as the Cycle Country plow and Eagle Gen II plow—require an electric winch or lift, in which case a manual lift is not an option.

Why Use an ATV Winch for Plowing?

Since a large number of ATV owners already have winches installed on their machines, an electric winch is the simplest and most affordable option for lifting your plow. And if you don’t have a winch installed yet, it still might be one of your best options because of the fact that you can use it for offroad riding, landscaping, yard work, and plenty of other applications. A winch is good for more than just plowing.

1500 lb Winch

The 1500 lb XT winch comes with a mechanical braking system that's ideal for snow plow use.

Which ATV Winch Is Best for Plowing?

Some ATV winches are better for plowing than others. One of the differences between winches involves the type of braking system: mechanical or dynamic. A mechanical brake is a physical brake that works similar to the way the brakes work on your car. The mechanical brake stops the drum from turning when there is a load on the cable. A dynamic brake is built in to the winch. It uses the resistance from the winch motor to prevent the drum from turning. Hoisted weight may cause the winch line to bleed out on a winch with dynamic braking.

Winches with mechanical brakes are better at holding a load, which makes them a better option for plowing snow. With a mechanical brake, you won’t experience the plow slipping or line bleedout that you might experience with a dynamic brake.

What Size ATV Winch for Plowing?

Generally, almost any winch capacity will work for plowing. Even a light duty 1500 lb winch has more than enough power for most plow setups. If you plan to use the winch for more than just plowing, check out our article on choosing an ATV winch for tips on figuring out what size winch you need.

A mechanical brake is the key factor in choosing an ATV winch for plowing snow. The following ProMark Offroad winches come with mechanical braking systems:

ATV Plow Weight

Compensating for the Weight of the Plow

A heavy ATV plow may require a stiffer suspension using spring spacers.

A heavy ATV plow may require a stiffer suspension using spring spacers.

Depending on the size of your ATV and the weight of your plow, you might find that even the stiffest suspension setting isn’t enough to compensate for the weight of the plow. One of the easiest ways to fix this is to add spacers to the front and rear springs. It’s a quick fix, and the spacers can just as quickly be taken out when plow season is over.

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Stiffening the suspension with spacers will keep the plow blade from bottoming out on hills and steep driveways and improve the performance of your ATV when a heavy plow is attached.

Why Spacers Are Better Than HD Springs

Heavy duty springs are another option to stiffen the suspension, but spacers are preferred, since they can easily be inserted or removed as needed. When you have the plow on, you can install the spacers. And when plow season is over, you can just as easily remove the spacers for a better ride. (HD springs tend to make for a harder ride and tougher handling.) Spacers are also easier to install than new springs because they don’t require you to take anything apart. Just jack up the bike and install the spacers.

Keeping It Even

It’s best to keep the front and rear suspension at the same stiffness, so if you add spacers to the front springs, you’ll also want to add them to the rear. Since the spacers will raise the machine in the front end, make sure the rear is raised to the same height.

Adding Rear Weight

Another way to compensate for the extra plow weight on the front of your ATV is to load a few sandbags on the rear rack. The rear weight will help with traction and keep the plow from scraping the ground on steep grades. Make sure you strap down the sandbags to secure them in place.

ATV Plow Wear Bar and Skids

Skids and Double-Sided Wear Bar for Cycle Country ATV Plow

Skids and Double-Sided Wear Bar
for Cycle Country ATV Plow

Skids and wear bars are designed to make your ATV plow last longer. Scraping across hard driveway surfaces is hard on the plow blade. The wear bar and skids take the brunt of this abuse so that the plow blade will last longer.

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ATV Plow Wear Bars

Since the wear bar needs to be replaced as it wears out, it’s better to go with a double-sided wear bar. These types of wear bars are designed to be flipped over, so they last twice as long as a standard wear bar.

There are 2 types of ATV plow wear bars: steel and plastic. Steel wear bars are tougher than plastic, but they can also be tough on driveway surfaces. Plastic wear bars are easier on driveway surfaces and pavers.

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ATV Plow Skids

Plow skids increase the life of the wear bar and minimize damage caused by the plow blade scraping the driveway surface. They also help when plowing uneven, rocky surfaces, by lifting the edge of the plow blade just enough to keep it from digging into the gravel or rock.

For level surfaces, adjust the plow skids to the same height as the wear bar on the plow blade. For uneven surfaces, adjust the skids so that the edge of the wear bar will glide just above the rocky surface.