The winter months are coming and you need to make a decision between using a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) or All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) for snow plowing.
Although both machines will do the job just fine. There are certain pros and cons to using each one. Your decision to choose which one to use will depend on the size of your job, the amount of power you need and the amount of time you will spend on plowing.
For smaller jobs, an ATV with an engine of 400cc or above will be able to plow snow just fine. Smaller engines will work too but ATVs with smaller engines have less weight and therefore less traction. If you’ll be spending a lot of time shoveling then a UTV with a cab enclosure and heater will be a better option for you.
In this post, we will compare a UTV vs ATV for snow plowing. We will also go over everything else you need to know so that you can make an informed decision for selecting between a UTV or ATV for snow plowing this winter.
How to Choose UTV Vs ATV for Snow Plowing
Use an ATV (Quad) When:
You’re Not Expecting Much Snow – You may live in an area where winters are mild and you’re only expecting to shovel small amounts of snow each time. Needless to say, UTVs will provide you with much more power than your ATV but this doesn’t mean that smaller engines on a quad won’t do the job. It just means that you will be spending more time and doing more plowing trips. Therefore, if you’re not expecting a lot of snow, then an ATV is the way to go. If you decide to go with a quad, choose one that has an engine size of at least 400cc.
You Have Limited Budget – ATVs on the market these days are pretty sophisticated machines. They have features like electronic fuel injection, hi-tech 4 wheel drive systems and power steering. These features which were once considered as luxury for ATVs are now pretty standard. This means you get some of the benefits of a UTV on your ATV but it will cost you much less.
You’re Shoveling Small Sidewalks or Driveways – ATVs are smaller and can zip around corners much more quicker than a UTV. They work great on sidewalks and other small jobs. You can quickly hop on, get the job done and then hop off. This is important for those in the building maintenance business (like Stratas).
You Have Limited Storage Space – ATVs are much smaller than UTVs which means they can be stored away in smaller complexes where space is limited.
Use a UTV When:
You Need More Power: UTVs can do the heavy lifting and are much more suitable for bigger jobs. Bigger engines not only means more power but more weight and traction. This is especially important if you will be plowing steep terrain or driveways. If you’re expecting a lot of heavy snowfall in the area, it might be worth looking into a UTV for plowing.
You Need To Plow for a Long Time: If you own a snow plowing company or will be doing plowing for a long time, a UTV is the way to go. You can add a cab enclosure and heater to your UTV to make the job more comfortable and protect the worker from the elements.
You Need To Haul: More power means you can carry more with you. You can bring along a dump trailer to transport snow or use the cargo space for extra gear (like a snowblower).
You Need a Bigger Plow: You can mount a bigger plow on your UTV. Pair this with a hydraulic snow plow system and you can pretty much stay in the UTV for the whole plowing duration.
You Need more Lights: A bigger machine means you have more places to attach additional lights, making it easier to see during those night working hours.
If you’re considering using an UTV, check out my post on UTV setup for plowing snow.
Tips for Plowing with a UTV or ATV
No matter which one you choose, there are certain things that you can do to make your job easier. Here is what you can do:
Chain up Your Tires – You need all the traction you can get, even the best UTV or ATV snow tires may slip on the ice. Chaining up your tires gives your machine better grip, making it easier to plow snow.
Use Hydraulic Plowing System – To make your plowing job efficient, you need to minimize the time you need to adjust the plow or getting off your ride. Hydraulic systems are more expensive but they also allow you to push and lift snow with ease. Unlike manual or winch systems, you can also change the angle of your plow easily with hydraulic plowing systems.
Do Your Maintenance Ahead of Time – Treat your machine well and it will take care of you. Check oil, tire thread, and other maintenance items before heading out. You wouldn’t want to be stranded in the middle of a job due to mechanical or electrical breakdown. Remember to wash and clean off your ride afterward.
Use a Spreader – Use a hopper spreader on your UTV or a small spreader on your ATV. The spreader can spread salt or sand on your freshly shoveled surface right after you plow.
Bring Extra Shovel – Your plow can do most of the heavy lifting but in every plowing job, there are always small areas best handled with a simple shovel. If your ride has extra space, bring along more gear so you can get everything done in one trip.