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You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed Vermont Offroad Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your ATV Safety Certificate.

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Rider performing a pre-ride inspection

Always inspect your ATV before each ride to detect problems that could cause an accident.

  • Always set the parking brake first.
  • Consult your owner's manual for items that may need to be lubricated, tightened, adjusted, aligned, or checked for wear.

Video: Inspecting Your Ride

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Video Transcript

Hey, you made it.


Whoa, I see you’re really excited but first, we’ve got to do a pre-ride inspection.


The pre-ride inspection, it’s the same thing that smart pilots, boat captains, and race car drivers all do before they get going. I mean, we all want to get where we’re going and get home safely, right?


OK, come on, we’ll give you a hand. You see, it’s a great way to get familiar with your machine while checking to see if there’s any problem that could actually cause an accident. So any idea where we should start before we go?


That’s the pre-ride inspection catch phrase, START-GO. So it’s just a simple way to remember the things you’re going to inspect. Now first, make sure your parking brake is set. Now, let’s get started.

OK, the S is for—I’ll give you a hint: [REVVING]—Steering and Drive System. Handlebars and footrests are your main contact and control points, so give them a good look-over. This ATV is shaft-driven, but if you have an ATV that is chain-driven, make sure the chain is lubricated and adjusted, just like the owner’s manual says.


So the T is for Throttle and Brakes. So you’ve got the throttle here, hand brakes here, and the foot brake, down there. Your throttle should move smoothly and snap closed when you release it, no matter what the position of the handlebars. Go ahead and check your ignition and engine stop switches now, too. Working? Check. So we know this can go. But we need to also make sure it can stop.

Next, check your brakes for smooth operation and if they’re adjusted properly. Can you reach and operate them easily? Great. Check. Make sure your gear selector is in good working order.


A is for Activate Lights. So, turn on your headlights and your taillights—make sure they’re on. And then, apply the brakes and have your partner stand behind you and make sure your brake lights turn on.

R is to check your Registration or trail pass. You want to make sure you have the proper credentials for wherever you’re riding.


The last T is for Tires. OK, tires. You want to make sure all of these have the proper pressure for a stable ride. And that’s why I’m using this low-pressure gauge to check them. Now while I’m down here, I can check the tires for damage, and also make sure that these lug nuts are all on securely, because you don’t want to lose one of these.

Now, finally, these wheels spin on bearings, so I’m going to give them a good rock to make sure that there’s no damage to the axle. This one’s good and tight. Check.


Now, that completes the START part, so let’s add the GO so we can go. Oh, way to go on your gas check. G is for Gas. Is your tank full? All right, O is for Oil. Did you check to make sure your oil is at the proper level? Wonderful. Did you check for leaks? No leaks. All right. Check, check. We’re good.

All right, we finished our START-GO inspection, and we are ready to go. Hey, Rob. What are you doing?


Well you know what happens when you least expect it, while you’re off-road riding: the unexpected. I mean, no kidding, it happens sometimes. And that’s why I’m giving us that extra margin of safety with these essentials.


And that’s the best kind of rising partner you can have. One who can help you with your START-GO pre-check, and then adds that extra margin of safety so that you can make the most of your adventures. So, let’s go and see what happens.