How To Fix A Water Damaged ATV Engine: 4 Easy Steps

Driving an all-terrain vehicle is fun — until your engine suddenly gets caught in deep water. That’s why learning how to fix a water damaged atv engine can be a valuable skill to have. You just have to drain your engine entirely and replace the engine oil.

Since people commonly use ATVs to drive through puddles, streams, or rivers, having water sucked into your engines is common. However, when an ATV is submerged and stopped running, that’s when the machines inside your vehicle are flooded.

how to fix a water damaged atv engine

Keep reading, and make sure to take some notes as we present you with steps you need to follow for a water-damaged ATV engine and see if your insurance covers this!


How Do ATV Engines Work?

Before we talk about how ATV engines work, let’s discuss what it is first. We commonly use all-terrain vehicles for outdoor transportation or recreational activities. It uses four low-pressure and pneumatic tires that enable it to drive easily on any terrain.

Generally, ATV engines work by pulling air and fuel to the combustion cylinder, allowing the piston to move back up and combust the mixture of the air and fuel. Then, a spark occurs that enables the vehicle to move forward or backward.


Steps On How To Repair Damaged ATV 


Step #1. Turn off your engine immediately 

If you suspect water damage in your ATV engine, turn off your vehicle immediately. It may be tempting to start the engine, but you have to stop yourself. Even just starting your engine after suspected water damages can cause permanent impairment on electric circuits and sensors.

At this point, your vehicle is most likely to be hydro-locked. Relax and get your ATV into a safe and dry place to start your repair.


Step #2. Drain your air filter

The next thing you’ll want to do is take a look at your air filter box. If it’s wet, take it out and drain. You can also wipe it with some rags or paper towels to help it dry easier.

However, if you’ve driven your ATV in the dirt or mud, you’ll probably have to buy a new air filter. Then, check other parts of your ATV, such as the fuel tanks, fuel lines, and oil filter. You can use a fan or just air dry your engine parts as you work on more pressing matters.


Step #3. Remove spark plugs and wires

In this step, you have to remove all spark plugs and wires to help your ATV engine get rid of any water left inside. Then, get someone to help you and try to tilt the whole vehicle over to force the water out of your engine. Try to make it as close as 90 degrees backward if possible.

Yes, your ATV probably weighs a ton, but you have to drain it as soon as possible, and this is the quickest way to do it.


Step #4. Start and lube the engine

Next, refill your ATV engine with oil to flush out any water residue left in hidden compartments inside. Then, drain it again. You should be able to notice a milky white mixture oozing out of your engine.

Just keep on oiling and draining until there’s no white-ish mixture anymore. Next, clean your engine once again and reattach all plugs and wires. When everything is nice and dry, fill it with some fuel and start the vehicle.


Why Is Water Bad For ATV Engines?

Even though ATV is built for rough terrains, no vehicle is safe from water damages. Water is bad for your ATV engine as it can affect its performance. Please take note that your engine doesn’t know how to deal with water, and having some inside can trigger a hydro-locked engine.

Hydrostatic lock happens when a significant volume of water reaches the insides of the cylinder. It can cause damage to the combustion chamber, piston head, and valves.


Should I Involve Insurance?

An ATV can be an expensive purchase, and it’s only understandable that you’ll want to protect it. Fortunately, the insurance coverage for this vehicle can pretty much include anything from accidents to personal injuries. This is if you can prove to your company that the water damage is not caused by inappropriate driving or neglect.

So, when you purposely drive straight in a pond or in high waters and damage your engines in return, don’t expect your insurance company will entertain that situation. In complicated cases, it’s best to consult with a lawyer to know the best thing to do.



Since ATVs are a type of vehicle used for off-roading that often involves water, triggering a hydrolock can be more common than you may think. This is where knowing how to fix a water damaged atv engine might come in handy. Remember to avoid starting your vehicle until you’re sure that there’s little to no water left on the insides of your ATV.

Learning how to do this skill yourself might save you some money rather than going into a repair shop. However, if you aren’t sure if you’re really capable of doing this, you may contact the professionals as they can assist you more.

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