ATV Idles But Will Not Accelerate | Different Methods To Fix The Issue

It can be very annoying when your ATV has faults that make it difficult to ride and enjoy. Nobody enjoys having their ATVs experience technical failure.

But when a technical problem arises, it costs you time and money and reduces the amount of outdoor fun you can have.

We decided to cover the topic because it is frequently asked about an ATV that idles but won’t accelerate.

This issue can be resolved by different methods including checking the fuel level and ensuring there are no clogs or leaks in the fuel line and cleaning or replacing the air filter if it is dirty.

ATVs are powerful and versatile vehicles that are used for a variety of outdoor activities.

However, like any other vehicle, ATVs can sometimes encounter problems. In this article we will discuss what you can do if your ATV is idling but does not accelerate.

There are a number of potential causes for this problem, including:

  1. Fuel delivery problem
  2. Air intake restriction
  3. Ignition system failure
  4. Clogged or dirty carburetor
  5. Transmission or drive belt problem
  6. Engine misfire or damage
  7. Clogged catalytic converter

It is recommended to have a mechanic inspect the ATV to determine the root cause of the problem and perform the necessary repairs.

Different Methods To Fix The Issue

1. Check The Fuel Delivery System

Check The Fuel Delivery System
Source: underhoodservice

The fuel delivery system is one of the first things to check when an ATV idles but will not accelerate. Several components in the fuel delivery system can cause the engine to idle but not accelerate.

1.1 Check Fuel Level

Make sure the fuel tank is full and has enough fuel to run the ATV. If the fuel tank is empty, fill it up with fuel and try starting the ATV again.

1.2 Check the Fuel Line

Look for any clogs or leaks in the fuel line that could restrict fuel flow to the engine. A clogged or leaking fuel line can cause the engine to idle but not accelerate. Inspect the fuel line for any signs of damage or leaks and repair if necessary.

1.3 Inspect the Fuel Filter

Check if the fuel filter is dirty and replace it if necessary. A dirty fuel filter can clog the fuel line and restrict fuel flow to the engine, causing it to idle but not accelerate.

1.4 Check the Fuel Pump

Ensure the fuel pump is functioning properly and delivering fuel to the carburetor. If the fuel pump is not working, it could cause a lack of fuel to the engine, causing it to idle but not accelerate.

Test the fuel pump by turning the key to the “On” position and listening for a buzzing sound coming from the fuel pump. The fuel pump may not function properly if you do not hear a buzzing sound.

1.5 Check Carburetor

If the carburetor is clogged or dirty, it can cause the engine to idle but not accelerate. Clean or rebuild the carburetor if necessary. A carburetor rebuild kit can be purchased at an ATV or automotive parts store.

2. Check Air Intake System

Check Air Intake System
Source: liveabout

The air intake system is another component to check when an ATV idles but will not accelerate. The air intake system provides the engine with the necessary air to run.

2.1 Inspect The Air Filter

If the air filter is dusty, check it and clean it or replace it. The airflow to the engine might be restricted and made worse by a filthy air filter.

2.2 Check Air Intake

Make sure the air intake is not restricted or clogged. An obstructed air intake can restrict the airflow to the engine, causing it to not accelerate.

3. Inspect The Ignition System

Inspect The Ignition System
Source: liveabout

The spark that ignites the engine is produced by the ignition system. A faulty ignition system can cause this issue. You should repair or replace that ignition system.

3.1 Check Spark Plug

Check the spark plug and replace it if it is fouled or damaged. A fouled or damaged spark plug can cause the engine to misfire and not accelerate.

3.2 Check Ignition Coil

Ensure the ignition coil is functioning properly. An engine can misfire due to a bad ignition coil.

Then there must be a need of replacing that ignition coil to fix the issue.

3.3 Check Wiring

Look for any signs of rust or damage in the wiring. Damaged or corroded wiring can cause a lack of power to the ignition system, causing the engine to not accelerate.

How Do You Adjust The Idle On An ATV?

To adjust the idle on an ATV, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the idle screw on the carburetor.
  2. Start the ATV and let it idle.
  3. Turn the idle screw clockwise to increase idle speed or counterclockwise to decrease idle speed.
  4. Fine-tune the idle speed until it is set to the manufacturer’s recommended RPM.
  5. Please turn off the ATV and test the idle speed again to confirm that it is set correctly.

Note: The exact location and adjustment process may vary depending on the make and model of the ATV. Refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions.


If your ATV idles but does not accelerate, then there are several potential causes that you can diagnose and fix.

From checking the fuel delivery system and air intake system to inspecting the ignition system and cleaning or rebuilding the carburetor, you can troubleshoot the issue and get your ATV running smoothly again.

If you are not comfortable with making repairs, it is always best to take your ATV to a professional mechanic for service.

With proper maintenance and care, you can ensure that your ATV runs smoothly and provides you with many outdoor fun hours.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What could cause an ATV to idle but not accelerate?

Some common causes of an ATV idling but not accelerating include clogged air filters, dirty carburetors, fuel delivery problems, and issues with the spark plug or ignition system.

2. Is it safe to continue riding an ATV that idles but won’t accelerate?

No, it’s unsafe to continue riding an ATV that idles but won’t accelerate as it may stall unexpectedly, potentially causing an accident. It is recommended to have the ATV inspected by a professional to diagnose and fix the issue.

3. What maintenance should be performed to prevent an ATV from idling but not accelerating?

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning air filters, checking fuel delivery systems, and regularly inspecting spark plugs, can prevent ATV issues like idling but not accelerating.

4. Why is my ATV losing power?

An ATV can lose power due to clogged air filters, dirty carburetors, fuel delivery problems, faulty spark plugs, clogged exhaust systems, engine compression problems, or transmission issues.

It’s important to address these issues promptly, as they can cause decreased performance and potential safety hazards while riding. Regular maintenance and cleaning can prevent these problems and ensure the smooth performance of the ATV.