ATV Sputters When Accelerating – Possible Reasons For An ATV Sputtering

Owning and driving a four-wheeler is usually an exciting and inviting experience for grownups. However, if your ATV begins to slow, backfire, or worse, splutter, that fun could be quickly interrupted. Nobody likes having their ATVs break down mechanically.

Find the root of the problem if your ATV starts to sutter so you can solve it. Various factors could cause a sputtering ATV, but most frequently, the carburetor is to blame.

What Is ATV Sputtering?  

An ATV that is sputtering is not attaining complete combustion. It could signal a minor or even more serious engine, fuel, or exhaust system problem.

When your engine sputters, you can typically detect it immediately. It can be backfiring, or it might just sound and feel like it’s not using the normal amount of power.

Possible Reasons For An ATV Sputtering

When an ATV starts to function poorly, idles erratically, or exhibits symptoms like sputtering, here are some of the most typical reasons why an ATV sputters:

Failure Of Spark Plugs

Failure Of Spark Plugs
Source: motorcyclehabit

Your spark plugs produce the sparks that start the combustion of the fuel. If one or more aren’t functioning properly, the engine won’t obtain proper combustion and will sputter and pop as it loses power.

Turn your idle speed up a few hundred RPM, adjust the fuel screw for a slightly richer mixture at idle, and add a little extra slack to the throttle cable.

Wiring On The Sensor Connectors

The most common issues we had with the early ATV systems were with the wiring on the sensor connectors, notably the T-bap sensor wiring chaffing or breaking internally.

In addition, the connectors themselves occasionally had the little wires pull out, resulting in poor contact.

Although the Polaris sensor harness repair kit #2875542 remedied this issue, the wires were still of a weak gauge and tended to repeat the issue.

From the T-bap sensor on the throttle body air boot, you can follow these wires to check for any bare places or even soft wires that might be internally broken.

Check The Operation Of Your Diaphragm

Verify the functionality of your jet block, needle, and adjustment. These carbs have 3 “stages.”

The first stage is start/idle (where yours is fine), the second stage is from idle to roughly 13 mph (where yours sounds dubious), and the third stage picks up where the second leaves off and heavily rely on the above 3 assemblies.

One or more of those three things is your problem. Additionally, look for any intake air leaks that could cause your mixture to lean out and backfire.

Fuel Filter Issue

Fuel Filter Issue
Source: cartreatments

Fuel filters degrade over time because they eventually become full of all the debris and impurities they are removing from the fuel used in engines. Your gasoline filter may need to be changed if your engine is sputtering.

Vacuum Pressure Loss

The fuel pressure is produced via a network of vacuum pipes in every car. You will experience a considerable loss in fuel pressure if one of them leaks or is damaged in any way.

Exhaust Leak

The vehicle’s exhaust system can significantly impact the engine’s performance. The toxic exhaust gases will typically flow back into the engine if you have an exhaust leak, resulting in serious issues.

Low on Fuel

The most frequent cause of an engine sputtering is running out of gas. Lack of fuel will cause the engine to struggle, and the automobile won’t start at all.

The first thing you should do if your engine is sputtering is to check your fuel gauge. If it still indicates gas in the tank, you probably won’t experience an issue with running out of gas (unless the fuel gauge itself is faulty).

Catalytic Converter Failure

Catalytic Converter Failure
Source: ecotradegroup

The catalytic converter is an essential component of your car’s emissions system since it burns off the most hazardous substances found in exhaust fumes.

A malfunctioning catalytic converter will eventually result in more serious engine problems.

Oxygen Sensor Failure

The exhaust system also depends on oxygen sensors. The performance of the exhaust system and the engine will be significantly impacted if an exhaust sensor malfunctions or provides inaccurate readings to the car’s computer.

Mass Airflow Sensor Failure

The mass airflow (MAF) sensor, used in most contemporary automobiles, keeps an eye on and regulates the fuel-to-air ratio in your engine. A broken MAF sensor could be the cause of your engine spitting.

Poor Gaskets or Seals

The fuel, exhaust, transmission, cooling, and engine all contain numerous seals and gaskets. Engine performance issues will occur if one of these seals gets weak or worn.

The reasons for a sputtering ATV might vary. However, these are some of the most typical explanations. You should take your ATV to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and repairs if it is having trouble and is not operating as it should.

Check And Clean The Carburetor

Take the carburetor off the bike and remove the 4 screws from the bottom of the carb to inspect and remove the carburetor.

You’ll now notice two gold screws. The main jet is the larger screw, and the auxiliary jet is the smaller screw.

Apply carb cleaner firmly into the holes of the jets and throughout the entire carburetor while ensuring you’re wearing safety eyewear.

Then, blow out any dirt or debris stuck in the carburetor’s bottom bowl or jets using compressed air.


Even though a sputtering ATV is frustrating, nothing terrible has happened. Usually, the treatment is simple and affordable. It will be alright if you take it to a shop, and you’ll soon be able to use your quad again.

Nobody wants their ATV to sputter, but if it does, the issue is simple to resolve. This fast and simple instruction can assist you in correctly diagnosing what’s wrong with your ATV and what’s making it sputter.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Causes A Backfire In An ATV?

Backfiring can be brought on by an excessively rich air/fuel mixture, incorrect timing, low or excessive fuel pressure, ignition problems, or air leakage.

2. Why Does My ATV Delay When I Apply The Brakes?

Your engine may slow things down due to a dirty carburetor or a blocked air filter.

3. What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad ATV Carburetor?

If it still leaks or the float isn’t functioning properly after you’ve cleaned it and changed the gaskets, jets, and O-rings, you should probably replace it.