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Course Outline

An easy way to remember the items to inspect is the phrase “START-GO.”

Steering and Drive System

  • Drive chain: Check your owner’s manual for proper adjustment. Inspect and lubricate the chain regularly.
  • Drive shaft: Check for leaks, and consult your manual for proper lubricant levels.
  • Handlebars and footrests: Shake to make sure they’re secure.

Throttle and Brakes

  • Throttle: Make sure it moves smoothly and snaps closed.
  • Ignition switch: Check for wear.
  • Engine stop switch: Test operation.
  • Brakes: Test to make sure controls operate smoothly.
  • Foot shifter: Make sure it’s attached firmly and positioned for safe operation.

Activate Lights

  • Headlights and taillights: Turn them on.
  • Brake lights: Press the brake, and have your riding partner make sure the brake lights illuminate.


  • Make sure your registration or trail pass decals are attached.
  • Confirm that the dates are still valid.

Tires, Wheels, and Suspension

  • Tires:
    • Always use a low-pressure gauge to check tire pressure.
    • Make sure pressure is equal on both sides.
    • Check for damage that could cause air leaks.
  • Axle nuts: Make sure they’re tight and secured by cotter pins.
  • Bearings: Try to rock the wheel on its axle to check for wear.
  • Major fasteners: Periodically tighten all major fasteners with hand tools.


  • Gasoline: Make sure the tank is full.
  • Leaks: Check for fuel leaks.


  • Oil: Check while the engine is off.
  • Leaks: Check for oil leaks.

Additional Items

In addition to checking the items listed in START-GO, your pre-ride inspection should include the following.

  • Spark arrestor/muffler: Make sure it’s attached firmly and working properly.
  • Air filter: Make sure it’s clean, undamaged, and unblocked.
  • Spark plugs: Replace if necessary.
Two riders inspect an ATV’s tires
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  • Topic 2 of 6
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