Protect your ATVs and snowmobiles from theft with these tips

Updated: September 11, 2019

ATV quadbike parked at the garage after ride Photo by Shutterstock/Gorlov-Studio

Like other cottage toys, ATVs are highly mobile—and not just when you want them to be. In the swath of northwestern Alberta patrolled by the RCMP’s Grande Prairie detachment, ATVs and snowmobiles are lifted from pickup trucks and trailers, stolen from locked garages, and rolled away from farms and cabins at the rate of about one a week, says Cpl. Roy Kennedy.

Kennedy suggests that owners insure and register their vehicle and keep it out of sight in a locked building. Installing a GPS tracking system and inscribing your name on a hidden spot for identification are both good ideas. If you leave your quad in a truck, limit access by parking against a building or another vehicle. Lock the tailgate, chain a wheel to one of the box’s tie-downs, and take the keys with you.

At the cottage, try sticking an anchor point where the sun don’t shine: when pouring concrete footings or slabs, set a galvanized U-bolt or eyebolt (with a nut and washer on the end) into wet concrete. If you’re worried about tripping on the bolt, recess it into the concrete with a form made from a plastic cup.

Cottagers with plywood-floored sheds can follow Joe Vermaire’s lead. The Barry’s Bay, Ont., cottager drilled a hole through the floor and then crawled beneath to glue and screw two lengths of pressure-treated 2×6 below the hole. He drilled through the 2x6s and installed an eyebolt. Over winter, he also removes a wheel and takes it home. When thieves are confronted with this level of security, Vermaire’s hoping they’ll say, “Nuts to that.”

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