ATV Engine Stalls When Accelerating (Troubleshooting Guide) 

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If you’ve ever ridden in an ATV, you know the feeling of acceleration from a standing start is abrupt. The throttle seems to snap from neutral to wide-open in the blink of an eye, no matter how slowly or quickly you move the accelerator.

This abruptness is one of the reasons why so many riders crash their ATVs at some point or another. To keep your ATV from stalling when accelerating, here are a few things to check and replace as needed.

ATV Engine Stalls When Accelerating

1. Check The Air Filter And Clean It

The air filter is the first line of defense against contaminants that could cause engine damage. If the filter is clogged or dirty, it can rob the engine of power, increase fuel consumption, and reduce engine life. ATVs are generally ridden in dusty and muddy environments, so the air filter should be checked regularly and cleaned as needed.

2. Check Your Spark Plugs And Coils

ATVs have a two-stroke engine that uses a different type of spark plug than a four-stroke engine. Two-stroke spark plugs are generally worn out after about 25–30 hours of riding. Some ATVs have a plug-wear indicator light that will come on when it’s time to replace the plugs.

Worn-out spark plugs can cause a rough idle, stalling, overheating, reduced power, and a loss of fuel economy. Spark plug gaps should be checked regularly, and the plugs and spark plug wires should be replaced every 25–30 hours of riding.

3. Check The Carburetor And Clean It

If you have checked all of the potential problems with your ATV and still can’t seem to get it to start, then it may be time to check your carburetor. The carburetor contains a small piece of equipment called a float bowl.

This float bowl is used to regulate the fuel level in the carburetor. Additionally, this float bowl also controls the amount of fuel that is allowed to be sent to the carburetor. If your carburetor’s float bowl is damaged or if it does not work properly, then it will not be able to regulate the amount of fuel that is allowed to be sent to the carburetor.

If there is too much fuel in your carburetor, then not enough air is allowed to get to your engine. If there is not enough fuel in your carburetor, then too much air is allowed to get to your engine. Either of these issues will cause your ATV’s engine to not run properly or even fail to start at all.

4. Fuel Lines Of Fuel Filter May Be Clogged

ATV fuel lines should be inspected regularly, especially if you operate your ATV in a dirty environment. Dirt and grit can damage the fuel line and can lead to problems with the fuel pump, fuel filter, and carburetor. Inspect and clean your fuel filter regularly as well. If you notice a drop in performance or your ATV is constantly stalling, you may need to replace your fuel line and filter.

ATV Dies When Giving It Gas

1. Not Enough Gas or Clogged Main Jet

If you are attempting to accelerate your ATV and it dies, then there is a chance that you do not have enough gas in your tank to make it run. Before attempting to give it gas again, make sure you have enough gas. You can always check the fuel gauge to make sure you have enough fuel to finish the job.

If your ATV dies because you don’t have enough fuel in your ATV, then this is an easy fix. Simply fill up your ATV’s gas tank with the appropriate amount of gas to finish the job. Another reason that your ATV might not be able to start because your main jet is clogged.

If you are checking your ATV’s fuel system and your main jet is clogged, then this will cause your ATV to not have enough fuel flow to start. To fix this problem, you can replace your main jet to a larger size. This will increase your ATV’s fuel flow and will allow it to run properly again.

2. Too Much Gas

If you try to accelerate your ATV and it begins to sputter and die, then this is likely due to too much gas in your ATV’s carburetor. If you are operating one of these ATVs, then you know that they are carbureted models.

This means that they use a carburetor to mix the fuel and air together before being sent to the engine. Your carburetor is equipped with a main jet and a pilot jet. The pilot jet is used to regulate the amount of fuel that is allowed to enter the carburetor. The main jet, on the other hand, is used to regulate the amount of air that is sent to the carburetor.

3. Plugged Muffler

If you’ve experienced a muffler that is not working correctly and dies when giving it gas, then you likely have a plugged muffler. If your ATV is equipped with an open muffler, then this could be due to a number of things.

However, if your ATV has a closed muffler, then you may have a plugged muffler. A plugged muffler can happen if the engine is running too hot, if dirt and other small particles are getting into the muffler, or if the muffler’s spark arrestor is clogged.

If you think your ATV’s muffler is plugged and dying when you try to accelerate it, then you can try to clean the obstruction out of the muffler. You can use a wire brush to remove any debris and clean the spark arrestor. If you are still having problems after cleaning the muffler, then you may need to replace the entire muffler.

4. Ignition Fault

If you have an ATV that has an electrical ignition system and it dies when you try to give it gas, then it could be an ignition fault. An ignition fault can be caused by a number of different things.

However, one of the most common causes is a dirty or faulty spark plug. If your spark plug is dirty, then it is not creating the strong spark that is needed to ignite the fuel from your ATV’s carburetor. Another thing that could be causing your ATV’s ignition to fail is a faulty ignition coil or a defective electronic ignition module.

If your ignition coil is faulty, then it is not creating a strong enough spark to ignite the fuel in your carburetor. And, if your electronic ignition module is faulty, then it is not sending the right signal to the ignition coil in order to create a spark.

5. Low Fuel Pressure Due To A Bad Fuel Pump

If your engine is running, but there is no fuel pressure and it dies when you attempt to give it gas, then your fuel pump may be bad. A bad fuel pump will not be able to provide the necessary fuel pressure to your ATV’s engine. To determine if your fuel pump is bad, you can first check your fuel pressure.

If you don’t have any fuel pressure, then it is likely that your fuel pump is bad and needs to be replaced. If you have fuel pressure, but it’s not high enough, then you may need to replace your fuel pump. When replacing your fuel pump, make sure that you purchase the correct one for your ATV. If you purchase a fuel pump that is not compatible with your ATV, then it will not work and may damage your engine.

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What causes an ATV to backfire?

Backfiring can be caused by the air/fuel mixture being too rich, the timing being off, low or too high fuel pressure, ignition issues, or air leaks.

How do you start an ATV sitting?

Fully charged battery, clean the carb thoroughly, and fresh gas. That’s a great start!

Why does my ATV bog down when I accelerate?

A clogged air filter or a dirty carburetor is a likely cause for your engine to bog down.

How do I know if my ATV carburetor is bad?

If you have cleaned it and replaced the gaskets and jets and O-rings and it still leaks or the float isn’t working properly, you probably want to go ahead and replace it.


Owning an ATV can be a lot of fun. Just make sure to keep up with the regular maintenance like oil changes, spark plugs, air filters, and clean your carb every year.

It’s a good idea to keep your battery on a trickle charger if you want to make sure it has enough juice every time you try to start it. Always remember to stay safe out there as well, ATVs are loads of fun and at the same time, they’re very dangerous. Respect the machine and enjoy.