ATV Has Spark And Fuel But Won’t Start – What Could Be Wrong?

A morning or afternoon in the woods on your ATV is a great way to spend a day. But it can be really frustrating when your ATV won't start. If your ATV has spark and fuel but still won't start, you're no doubt wondering, "What could be wrong?" We've done the research to help you solve this issue. 

Once you have confirmed that your ATV has spark and fuel, here are some common things to check:

  • Is your ATV's run switch in the correct position?
  • Is it in park or neutral?
  • How is the battery?
  • Is the gas in the tank old?
  • Is it getting enough airflow?

This quick checklist can help you troubleshoot and potentially get back out on the trail sooner rather than later. We will discuss each of these in more detail and give you more guidance that can help you get the most out of your ATV.

ATVs in sunrise morning in the desert, ATV Has Spark And Fuel But Won't Start - What Could Be Wrong?

The First Things To Check

You're confident that your ATV is getting fuel and that it has a spark, but it still won't start. Immediately you're probably thinking about all of the potential reasons that your vehicle won't run. Check the simple things first.

Run Switch

It's always best to begin with the basics before you move on to the intricate, complex possibilities. In this case, check your ATV's run switch (sometimes also called the kill switch). Is the switch in the "on" or "run" position? If not, put it in the right position and try again. You may find that it starts right up!

In Park Or Neutral

Similarly, be sure that the ATV is in park or neutral. Some of these vehicles are designed not to start unless they are in the correct gear. Put the run switch in the right position, ensure that the ATV is in the correct gear, and attempt to restart it. You might be able to hit the trail without doing any actual work.

Check The Battery

If you have tried these two solutions and gotten no results, check your battery. You can use a battery tester to quickly and easily check its status. The results from the test will let you know whether you need to potentially charge or replace your battery.

Battery Tester

Click here to see more on Amazon.

If you do not already have a battery charger, it is a good idea to get one. This is especially true if your ATV will be sitting for an extended period of time. Utilizing a charger can prevent drainage as your battery sits in the unused ATV. 

Battery Charger

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Age Of Gas

Finally, be sure that the gas you are using is not old. If you are using the ATV for the first time in a few months or more, the gas in the tank may no longer be good. Your ATV might be getting gas, but it's not the type of quality fuel it needs.

More mechanically inclined people can change the fuel filter themselves and add new gas. If you aren't comfortable with this process, take your ATV to a certified mechanic and let them change the filter for you.

A More Complex Issue

If you have tried the simple solutions and gotten no results, it's likely that there is a bigger issue happening.


One of the most common is that your ATV's engine is not getting proper airflow. Air is needed to ensure that the combustion process will occur as it should. If you are not getting enough air into the engine, then your ATV won't start. Alternatively, if the exhaust is not properly flowing out, you will also have issues.

Some people are able to check air filters, replace them, and even repair them. Any time that there are potential engine issues, it's always a good idea to let a mechanic handle them. This is true for a few reasons: they will not inadvertently cause more damage while working on the main issue, and they will be able to ensure that your ATV runs properly and safely when they are finished.

How Do You Start A 4 Wheeler That Has Been Sitting?

The answer to this question is very similar to the solutions we have already mentioned. In particular, checking the battery, ensuring that the gas is good, and having the air filter checked are the best places to start. 

It's also a good idea to perform some seasonal maintenance after your ATV has been sitting. Have your oil changed, replace the spark plugs, and clean the carburetor. If you don't know how to do these things, we recommend you take your ATV to a certified mechanic and let him or her help you.

ATV Clicks When Trying To Start - What Does It Mean?

When an ATV clicks when trying to shot, there are typically two possible culprits: the battery or the solenoid.


Clicking when you try to start your engine usually points to one thing: the battery. Follow these steps to help solve the problem:

  1. Use a battery tester to determine whether or not the battery has gone bad
  2. If the test results show the battery is low or bad, then charge it or replace it
  3. Check to make sure the connections of the battery are not corroded or loose
  4. Tighten the connections if loose
  5. Clean the connections if corroded or take it to a mechanic for servicing

If, however, the battery is not the reason, what might be causing the clicking? This sound could indicate a problem with the solenoid.

Solenoid Issue

A solenoid is essentially a relay between the battery and the starter motor. The starter motor is what allows the engine to start. If you hear a clicking sound when you're trying to start your ATV and the battery is not the problem, the solenoid is the likely culprit. For the best results, take your ATV to a certified mechanic and allow them to troubleshoot and solve the issue for you.

How Do You Push-Start An ATV?

Sometimes you can push-start a vehicle. To do so, you have to get the vehicle rolling at a fairly decent speed (10-15 mph), get on, and let out the clutch. If you hear the engine turn, you should be able to give it some gas and get it started.

However, this process doesn't really work for automatic ATVs since they lack a clutch. So, while it may be possible to push-start a manual ATV, it is not possible to do the same with an automatic.

In Closing

Now you know a little bit more about potential issues that your ATV might be having that prevent it from starting. While we have discussed some steps you can take to try to resolve these problems, it's always best to have a trained mechanic evaluate your ATV to ensure that it's operating safely and to prevent future issues.

For more information about ATVs or motorcycles, take a look at some of our other blogs that may be of interest:

What Kind Of Oil Does An Arctic Cat ATV Take?

The Motorcycle Chain Breaker And Rivet Tools Guide

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  1. I have a moto4 1986 80cc that had been seating for awhile with out a carb so I got a carb and it’s jus spinning not trying to start nothing and it getting gas and has spark I have redid the values still nothing any idea what it would be.

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