The Right Way to Gas Up Your ATV

While refueling an ATV may seem simple, it’s important you follow the steps and safety procedures below.

  1. Choose the Correct Gas: Refer to your owner’s manual to see the recommended fuel type (e.g., regular or premium gasoline). Most engines use regular gas (87 octane).
  2. Safety Preparations:
    1. Always refuel outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
    2. Ensure the engine is turned off.
    3. Avoid smoking or introducing any open flames nearby.
    4. Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies.
  3. Wear Protective Gear:
    1. Wear gloves to protect your hands from gasoline splashes and its chemicals.
    2. Use safety eye-ware to protect your eyes.
  4. Ground Yourself: Touch a metal part before opening the fuel tank to prevent a spark, which can ignite fuel vapors.
  5. Open the Fuel Tank Cap: Slowly unscrew the fuel cap to allow any built-up pressure to release.
  6. Inspect the Fuel Can or Nozzle:
    1. Ensure it’s clean and free of debris. Any contaminants can harm your engine.
    2. Use a funnel or spout for better precision if necessary.
  7. Begin Refueling:
    1. Pour the fuel slowly to avoid spillage and to control the flow.
    2. Be cautious not to overfill. Leave some space for fuel expansion, especially in warmer conditions.
  8. Check for Leaks: Once filled, inspect the fuel lines, tank, and cap for any signs of leakage.
  9. Securely Close the Fuel Cap: Ensure the fuel cap is tightly screwed on, and there are no gaps.
  10. Clean Up: If any fuel spills occur, clean them up immediately using a rag. Allow the rag to dry out on concrete or dirt. Store the fuel can away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place. Ensure the can’s cap is tightly sealed.

What Fuel To Use

The type of fuel you should run depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations, the engine design, and sometimes even the conditions in which you operate the vehicle. Here’s a general overview:

  1. Check the Owner’s Manual: Always refer to your owner’s manual for the type of fuel to run.
  2. Octane Rating: Most engines are designed to run on regular unleaded, with an octane rating of 87. However, some high-performance models might require mid-grade or premium with octane ratings of 89, 91, or higher.
  3. Ethanol Content:
    1. Many gas stations sell fuel blended with ethanol. E10 (up to 10% ethanol) is typically safe for ATVs. However, fuels with higher ethanol content, like E15 or E85, can damage the fuel system and engine. Always check your owner’s manual for guidelines regarding ethanol.
    2. If possible, use ethanol-free gas, especially if it will not be used for extended periods. Ethanol can absorb water, leading to phase separation in the tank and potential engine issues.
  4. Fuel Additives and Stabilizers: If you anticipate that the gasoline will remain in the tank for an extended period (e.g., over winter), consider using a fuel stabilizer. This can prevent fuel degradation and issues like gumming or varnish buildup in the carburetor.
  5. Avoiding Contaminated Fuel:
    1. Always refuel from reputable sources. Contaminated fuel can contain dirt, water, or other impurities, which can harm your engine.
    2. Store fuel in clean, approved containers and avoid using old or stale gasoline.
  6. Altitude and Temperature:
    1. In higher altitudes, the air is thinner, which can affect combustion. Some riders might opt for a different octane rating at high elevations. Refer to the manual or ask your local dealership if you frequently ride in such conditions.
    2. Temperature can affect fuel evaporation and combustion. While most riders won’t need to adjust their fuel type based on temperature, extreme conditions might necessitate a consultation with a specialist or manufacturer.

When in doubt, check your owner’s manual. Most manufacturers have an online owner’s manual to let you know what fuel to use. If that is not helpful, just stick to 87 to 93 octane fuel with no more than 10% ethanol.

The Best Gas Cans You Can Use

Let’s keep it real: Most of the cans aren’t great because of government regulations.

Skip the cans at your nearby hardware store. Instead, go for a racing fuel can like this one (ad).

Those standard cans from big stores have too many “safety” features that actually make you spill more gas. A racing fuel can is way simpler and better.

How To Put Fuel In Fuel Can

There are certain things you need to do to fill gas cans to keep yourself safe and the fuel ready. Below, I’ve listed the steps you should consider.

Safety Steps:

  • Before you grab the nozzle, touch something metal to avoid static.
  • Always fill up your can when it’s on the ground.
  • Use the right kind of can and make sure it’s labeled right.
  • Don’t fill the can all the way up; the gas expands when it’s hot.
  • Go slow when pumping to avoid bubbles and get your money’s worth.
  • If you spill any gas, wipe it up with a rag and let that rag dry outside.
  • Make sure the can’s secured when you’re moving it around.
  • Keep an eye on your can; if it looks beat up, get a new one.
  • Old cans can be risky. If yours is over 10 years old, think about getting a new one

Fueling Process:

  1. Remove the can’s cap.
  2. Insert the pump nozzle into the gas can opening.
  3. Begin pumping slowly to minimize splashing and to control the flow.
  4. Keep the nozzle in contact with the rim of the fuel can’s opening to help reduce static electricity.
  5. Monitor the fuel level and stop pumping once you’ve reached your desired level (remember not to overfill).

Wrap Up

While refueling and maintaining your gas cans seems simple, there are still a lot of little details that you need to keep in mind.

Whether it’s grounding yourself to avoid static, choosing the right can, or just knowing when it’s time to replace an old one, each thing plays a role in preventing accidents and waste.

Remember, with volatile substances like gasoline, a little caution goes a long way. So next time you’re gearing up for a refill, keep these tips in mind, and ensure every refueling venture is both safe and efficient.