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ProMark Offroad Blog

How an ATV Plow Works

ATV plow

Look forward to snow when you plow with your ATV!

If you moan and groan every time it snows, you probably clear your driveway with a shovel. If you pray for snow every night and whoop and holler during a snowstorm, on the other hand, you probably clear your driveway with an ATV plow.

If you already own an ATV, outfitting your quad with an ATV plow is one of the best ways to put your quad to work in the winter. Here’s how an ATV plow works for clearing your driveway and sidewalk surfaces.

ATV Plow Parts

Across the bottom of your plow blade is a strip of material called a wear bar. This is what scrapes the surface clean and scoops the snow off your driveway and into the arc of the blade.

The curved surface of the blade is coated to allow snow to roll over and fall on top of the material in front of it as you drive the ATV forward. With the blade set at an angle, the snow gets pushed to the side, leaving a clear path in the area you just plowed.

Rolling Snow off the Plow

The longer you push the snow in front of the ATV plow, the deeper it gets and the harder your ATV will have to work to keep plowing forward. If the snow gets too deep and heavy, your ATV will stall or your vehicle will lose traction and you won’t be able to keep plowing.

Lifting the ATV Plow

To lift the plow and dump snow, you can either use an ATV winch, an electric plow lift, or a manual lift. The manual lift is best for occasional and light duty plowing. An ATV winch is the most versatile option, since you can use the winch for offroad recovery during the warmer months.

An electric lift is another option. This type of lift is specifically designed to lift a plow. It typically includes built-in switches to prevent lifting the plow too high and prevent creeping due to plow weight.

Plowing Deep, Heavy Snow

For wet, heavy, or deep snow, you might want to clear a path in two passes. First, raise the skids so that the wear bar is as high as it can go. Then plow the top half of the snow layer. When you’ve removed the top layer, lower the skids and plow the bottom half.

If you know there’s a big snowstorm coming, plow the driveway during the storm when the snow gets deep enough to plow but not too deep that you get stuck. Then plow again after the storm has ended.

Plowing Surfaces

If you’re plowing a surface that is uneven or scratches easily, such as decorative paving stones or soft asphalt, you may want to raise the skids slightly to avoid scraping the surface. The wear bar should hover just above the surface that you’re plowing.

ATV Plows for Polaris, Yamaha, and Honda

Need an ATV plow for your Polaris, Yamaha, Honda, Arctic Cat, John Deere, or other ATV model? We’ve got what you need. Get your ATV plow kit before it snows! Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.

Choosing an ATV Plow Lift System

Electric Winch

An ATV winch makes it easy to raise and lower your plow blade.

If you already own on ATV, why not put it to work in the winter with an ATV snow plow kit? You can clear your driveway, your neighbor’s driveway, and the sidewalks with less than half the time and effort it takes to shovel. Plus, it’s a lot more fun.

To operate your ATV plow, you’ll need some type of lift, either a manual hand lift, an electric winch, or an electric lift kit.

1. Manual Lift

A manual plow lift is simple to use and install. Fewer parts mean that it’s less likely to break and easier to fix if it does. The manual hand lift makes it quick to lift and lower the plow blade with very little effort. It’s also the cheapest option, unless you already own a winch.

2. Electric Winch

If you already own an ATV winch, you can put it to work raising and lowering the plow. Using the thumb switch is the only effort needed to lift and drop the blade. We recommend choosing a winch with a mechanical brake. ProMark ATV winches with a mechanical brake include the XT Series and Outback Series.

If you don’t already own a winch, you might want to consider purchasing one. An ATV winch comes in handy for recovery, landscaping, yard work, forestry, and farm chores, as well as plowing snow.

3. Electric Lift Kit

Special lift kits are available for operating a snow plow. They save wear and tear on your electric winch, and they provide an extra boost of power. Since these electric lifts are designed specifically for lifting and lowering a plow, they are less versatile than an electric winch.

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: