What Are ATV Snow Tracks?

Dan Cavallari

ATV snow tracks are aftermarket components that can be installed on an ATV, or all-terrain vehicle, to improve handling in snow and on ice. The tracks are made of high-grade rubber or plastic, and they are secured around a series of metal wheels that turn the tracks. One of the metal wheels will be a drive wheel that is attached to the axle of the ATV. ATV snow tracks may be installed in pairs or in sets of four; if only two are installed, they are usually installed where the rear wheels of the ATV would otherwise be.

An ATV is a vehicle designed for driving on a large variety of terrains.
An ATV is a vehicle designed for driving on a large variety of terrains.

The purpose of ATV snow tracks is to improve maneuverability and stability when the ATV is traveling across deep snow or ice. The tracks are longer and usually wider than ATV tires, and they will provide enough surface area that the ATV will be less likely to sink into deep snow. The sacrifice a rider will make when installing ATV snow tracks is the turning radius: the ATV will have a much larger turning radius with the ATV snow tracks installed than it would with regular ATV tires. This is due to the size of the tracks, which are quite long as compared to ATV tires.

The tracks will be secured to the drive wheels of the ATV; this usually means the rear wheels will be replaced with tracks, though an ATV owner will often replace all four wheels with tracks to improve stability and maneuverability. Each track will feature a drive wheel, usually mounted toward the top of the track, and several guide wheels mounted toward the bottom of the track. This creates a triangular design, with the longest end of the triangle making contact with the ground. The tracks will be designed to pivot for better maneuverability over obstacles; some tracks even feature additional suspension built into the track system to improve handling.

If only the rear wheels of the ATV are replaced with tracks, a rider can also replace the front wheels with skis. These skis are similar to the ones found on snowmobiles, and they keep the front end of the vehicle light enough for quick steering, as opposed to the much heavier tracks that can slow steering and make the vehicle feel somewhat sluggish. Replacing the front wheels with skis instead of ATV snow tracks will also cut down on the overall cost of the conversion, since the tracks can be quite expensive.

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