Troubleshoot Why Your Four Wheeler Won’t Start: Don’t Let Your Fun Stop [2023]

You’re out in the woods, ready to enjoy a day of riding your four wheeler. But when you go to start it up, nothing happens. Why does this happen, and what can you do to prevent it?

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why your four wheeler won’t start, and how you can troubleshoot the issue. From checking the battery to making sure there’s gas in the tank, we’ll cover all the bases so you can get back to enjoying your ride.

Understanding Your Four Wheeler’s Engine

When it comes to understanding your four-wheeler, the engine is the heart of the vehicle. Without a well-maintained and functioning engine, your four-wheeler won’t run at all. In this section, we’ll dive into how four-wheeler engines work and how to maintain them to keep them running smoothly.

How Four Wheeler Engines Work

Four-wheeler engines are typically four-stroke engines, meaning they complete four distinct cycles for every combustion cycle. These four cycles are intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. Let’s dive into each cycle:

  • Intake: During this cycle, the intake valve opens, and the piston moves down, creating a vacuum that draws air and fuel into the combustion chamber.
  • Compression: Once the air and fuel are in the combustion chamber, the piston moves up, compressing the mixture.
  • Combustion: At the top of the compression cycle, the spark plug ignites the compressed mixture, causing a controlled explosion that forces the piston back down.
  • Exhaust: Finally, the piston moves up again, pushing the exhaust gases out of the combustion chamber and through the exhaust valve.

In addition to these four cycles, four-wheeler engines consist of several key components, including:

  • Piston: The piston is a cylindrical piece of metal that moves up and down inside the cylinder, transferring energy to the crankshaft.
  • Crankshaft: The crankshaft is a component that converts the up-and-down motion of the piston into rotational motion that turns the wheels.
  • Cylinder: The cylinder is the part of the engine where the air and fuel are compressed and burned.
  • Spark plug: The spark plug ignites the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
  • Carburetor/Fuel Injection System: The carburetor or fuel injection system is responsible for delivering the right amount of fuel to the combustion chamber.

How to Maintain Your Four Wheeler’s Engine

To keep your four-wheeler’s engine running smoothly and prevent issues that could cause it not to start, it’s important to maintain it regularly. Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • Change the oil regularly: Regular oil changes are critical for maintaining the health of your four-wheeler’s engine. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended oil change intervals.
  • Check and replace air filters: A dirty air filter can impede airflow to the engine, causing it to run poorly or not at all. Check your air filter regularly and replace it as needed.
  • Keep the carburetor or fuel injection system clean: Over time, the carburetor or fuel injection system can become clogged with debris, preventing fuel from reaching the combustion chamber. Clean these components regularly to ensure proper fuel delivery.
  • Check and replace spark plugs: Worn or dirty spark plugs can prevent the engine from starting or cause it to run poorly. Check your spark plugs regularly and replace them as needed.
  • Keep the battery charged: A dead battery is a common reason why a four wheeler won’t start. Keep the battery charged and replace it if it’s not holding a charge.
  • Store your four-wheeler properly: Proper storage is essential for maintaining the health of your four-wheeler’s engine. Store it in a cool, dry place, and use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from going bad.

By following these tips, you can keep your four-wheeler’s engine in top condition and prevent issues that could cause it not to start. Regular maintenance is essential for getting the most out of your four-wheeler and ensuring it runs reliably for years to come.

Why Your Four Wheeler Won't Start?
Why Your Four Wheeler Won’t Start?

Common Reasons Why Your Four Wheeler Won’t Start

When it comes to four-wheelers, there are several reasons why they may not start. Here are the most common ones:

Battery Issues

One of the most common reasons for a four-wheeler not starting is due to battery issues. Over time, the battery can lose its charge, especially if the vehicle is not used regularly. Additionally, if the battery connections are loose or corroded, it can prevent the battery from providing enough power to start the engine.

To diagnose battery issues, you can use a multimeter to check the voltage of the battery. A fully charged battery should read between 12.6 and 12.8 volts. If the voltage is low, try charging the battery or replacing it if it’s old or damaged. Also, ensure that the battery connections are tight and free of corrosion.

Fuel System Problems

Another common reason why a four-wheeler may not start is due to fuel system problems. If the fuel filter is clogged or the fuel pump is not functioning correctly, it can prevent fuel from reaching the engine. Additionally, stale fuel or water in the fuel can also cause issues.

To diagnose fuel system problems, you can check the fuel filter for any signs of clogging or damage. You can also check the fuel pump by listening for the sound it makes when the ignition is turned on.

If there is no sound, the fuel pump may be faulty. If stale fuel or water is suspected, it’s best to drain the fuel tank and replace it with fresh fuel.

Spark Plug Issues

Spark plug issues can also be the cause of why your four wheeler won’t start. Over time, spark plugs can become fouled or worn out, preventing them from providing the necessary spark to ignite the fuel in the engine.

To diagnose spark plug issues, you can check the spark plug for any signs of fouling or damage. If the spark plug is dirty or worn out, it’s best to replace it with a new one. Also, ensure that the spark plug wire is securely connected to the spark plug and the ignition coil.

Carburetor Problems

If your four-wheeler has a carburetor, issues with it could also be the reason why the four wheeler won’t start. Over time, the carburetor can become clogged with dirt or debris, preventing it from delivering the right amount of fuel and air mixture to the engine.

To diagnose carburetor problems, you can check the carburetor for any signs of dirt or debris. You can also try cleaning the carburetor using carburetor cleaner or take it to a professional mechanic for a thorough cleaning.

Electrical System Faults

Issues with the electrical system of a four-wheeler can also cause it not to start. Loose or corroded connections, damaged wires, or a faulty ignition switch can all prevent the engine from starting.

To diagnose electrical system faults, you can check the connections and wires for any signs of damage or corrosion. If any issues are found, try cleaning or repairing them. If the ignition switch is faulty, it may need to be replaced.

Starter Motor Failure

If the starter motor is failing, it can also prevent the four-wheeler from starting. A failing starter motor may make a clicking sound or not make any sound at all when the ignition is turned on.

To diagnose starter motor failure, you can check the connections and wires for any signs of damage or corrosion. You can also try tapping on the starter motor with a hammer to see if it helps. If the starter motor is still not functioning correctly.

Troubleshooting and Fixing Your Four Wheeler

In this section, we’ll provide you with some general tips on how to troubleshoot and fix your four-wheeler, regardless of the specific issue.

Diagnosing the Problem

Diagnosing the problem with your four-wheeler can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the various components of your ATV. However, here are some general tips that can help you identify the issue:

  1. Listen to the sounds: Pay attention to any strange noises coming from the engine or other parts of the ATV. If you hear clicking or grinding noises, it could be an issue with the starter motor or the engine’s internal components.
  2. Check the battery: If you turn the key and hear a clicking sound or no sound at all, it could be a battery issue. Use a voltmeter to check the battery’s voltage. If it’s below 12.6 volts, you may need to recharge or replace the battery.
  3. Inspect the spark plug: A faulty spark plug can prevent your ATV from starting. Remove the spark plug and inspect it for signs of wear or damage. If it’s dirty, clean it using a wire brush or replace it.
  4. Check the fuel system: If your ATV’s engine is not getting fuel, the four wheeler won’t start. Check the fuel filter, fuel pump, and carburetor for any blockages or damage.
  5. Inspect the electrical system: If the ATV’s electrical system is faulty, it can prevent the engine from starting. Check the wiring and connectors for any damage or loose connections.
  6. Look for signs of wear and tear: If your ATV has been in use for a while, some components may be worn out and need replacement. Inspect the tires, brakes, and other critical parts for any signs of wear and tear.

Fixing the Issue

Once you have identified the issue with your ATV, you can start fixing it. Here are some general tips to help you fix the problem:

  1. Replace or recharge the battery: If the battery is dead or weak, you may need to recharge it or replace it altogether.
  2. Clean or replace the spark plug: If the spark plug is dirty or damaged, clean it or replace it with a new one.
  3. Clear the fuel system: If the fuel system is clogged or damaged, you may need to clean or replace the fuel filter, fuel pump, or carburetor.
  4. Check and repair the electrical system: If the issue is with the electrical system, you may need to repair or replace the wiring or connectors.
  5. Replace worn-out parts: If any parts are worn out, replace them with new ones to ensure the ATV runs smoothly.
  6. Seek professional help: If you’re not comfortable fixing the issue yourself, seek help from a professional mechanic who has experience working with ATVs.

In conclusion, diagnosing and fixing issues with your ATV can be challenging, but with these general tips, you can troubleshoot and fix most common problems.

Remember to perform regular maintenance to prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

Preventing Future Issues

In this section, we’ll provide you with some tips on how to prevent future issues that could cause your four-wheeler not to start.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to prevent future starting issues with your four-wheeler. Here are some tips on how to maintain your four-wheeler:

  1. Check the oil level regularly and change it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Keep the air filter clean and replace it if it’s dirty or damaged.
  3. Check the battery’s terminals and clean them if they’re corroded.
  4. Check the tire pressure and tread regularly and replace the tires if necessary.
  5. Check the brakes and brake fluid level regularly and replace them if needed.

By following these maintenance tips, you can prevent starting issues caused by neglecting regular maintenance.


Proper storage of your four-wheeler is crucial to prevent starting issues. Here are some tips on how to store your four-wheeler to prevent future issues:

  1. Store your four-wheeler in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent rust and corrosion.
  2. If possible, store your four-wheeler off the ground to prevent flat spots on the tires.
  3. Disconnect the battery and store it separately if you’re not using your four-wheeler for an extended period.
  4. Use a fuel stabilizer if you’re storing your four-wheeler for more than a month to prevent fuel system issues.

By following these storage tips, you can prevent starting issues caused by improper storage.


In this article, we’ve covered the most common reasons why your four wheeler won’t start, how to diagnose and fix them, and tips on preventing future starting issues through regular maintenance and proper storage.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and consult a professional if you’re unsure about any issues with your four-wheeler.

By taking care of your four-wheeler, you can ensure that it runs smoothly and reliably for years to come.


John Webler a writer for Offroadbible
John Webler

Hi there, I'm John Webler, the owner and a writer for Offroadbible, a website that covers everything related to ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs. As a lifelong off-roading enthusiast, I have a deep passion for exploring the great outdoors on two and four wheels. I have spent countless hours tinkering with engines, navigating rough terrain, and pushing the limits of what these machines are capable of.

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